Rare is the American actor who deserts Broadway and Hollywood for the rigors of Europe, where movies are few and far between and salaries are rock bottom.

Nevertheless, Richard Basehart, a native of Zanesville, Ohio, makes his home in Rome, Italy.

Basehart made a name for himself in Movieland and on the New York stage--was climbing to stardom-- when all of a sudden he pulled up stakes for Lollobrigidaland.

Why should a promising actor pull a switcheroo like that?

"Because I married Valentina Cortese," Basehart explained simply. Miss Cortese, one of Italy's top actresses, prefers Europe to America. Dick, who prefers Valentina to both places, is content to live where his wife lives.

"I'm a resident of Italy, but a citizen of the U.S.," Dick went on. "Let's be honest, I wouldn't be living in Rome if it weren't for Valentina. But the city also is a very lovely place.

"You have a feeling of continuity with the past there. Everywhere you look there are vestiges of long-dead civilizations which have passed their culture to our own age. It's fascinating."

What of Dick's career?

"I've done four Italian movies in the past four years," he said. "I speak English and the producers dub in Italian dialogue. It's pretty much the same as working in Hollywood.

Periodic Returns

"And then I come back to this country every two years or so.

"Right now I'm working with a couple of old buddies--Dick Widmark and Karl Malden--In "Time Limit". Widmark's own company, Heath Productions, is making the film. Karl is directing.

"Hollywood still is the capital of the film industry," he said. I've got to put in an appearance here once in a while or I'll be forgotten."

Basehart says he misses the American countryside most.

"Particularly the Mojave Desert, and the great stretches of the southwest," he says. "In Europe it's tiring finding little towns every two miles along a road."

"I miss other things, too. It's impossible to get a good steak over there and corn on the cob is unheard of."

Search WWW Search

biography | credits | articles | interviews | pictures | sound bytes | film clips | memories | off camera | site map | thanks! | home
Copyright --October 20, 2000 Stephanie Kellerman and the Basehart Family