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Dick Purcell

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Cause of death  Heart Attack
Role  Actor
Nationality  American
Parents  Richard Gerald Purcell
Religion  Roman Catholic
Education  Fordham University
Name  Dick Purcell

Dick Purcell image1findagravecomphotos250photos201095788
Full Name  Richard Gerald Purcell, Jr.
Born  August 6, 1908 (1908-08-06) Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.
Died  April 10, 1944, Hollywood, California, United States
Spouse  Ethelind Terry (m. 1942–1942)
Movies  King of the Zombies, Irish Luck, Mystery of the 13th Guest, In Old California, The Bank Dick
Similar People  Jean Yarbrough, William Beaudine, William C McGann, William Nigh, William Keighley


Richard Gerald "Dick" Purcell Jr. (August 6, 1908 – April 10, 1944) was an American actor best known for playing Marvel Comics' Captain America in the 1943 film serial, co-starring with Lorna Gray and Lionel Atwill. Purcell also appeared in films such as Tough Kid (1938), Accidents Will Happen (1938), Heroes in Blue (1939), Irish Luck (1939) and King of the Zombies (1941),


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Early life

Dick Purcell Purcell

Purcell was born in Greenwich, Connecticut. An only child, he attended Catholic grade school and high school, before enrolling as a student at Fordham University in The Bronx in New York City.

Theatre and early film work

Dick Purcell gunsandposes Dick Purcell as Captain America in a promo pic for the

While in New York City, Dick Purcell began his acting career in theatre, appearing in at least three plays: Men in White, Sailor, Beware! and Paths of Glory. During his time acting in Paths of Glory, a talent scout spotted Purcell and this led to a small role in the film Ceiling Zero (1936). His next film was Man Hunt (1936), in which Purcell had a larger role as a newspaper reporter. Purcell appeared in eleven films in 1936 alone.

Captain America

Dick Purcell Richard Dick Purcell 1905 1944 Find A Grave Memorial

Captain America (1944) is a Republic serial film loosely based on the comic book character Captain America. It was the last Republic serial made about a superhero. It also has the distinction of being the most expensive serial that Republic ever made.

Dick Purcell Christopher Robert Evans cant carry Dick Purcells jock strap

The serial sees Captain America, really District Attorney Grant Gardner, trying to thwart the plans of The Scarab, really museum curator Dr. Cyrus Maldor—especially regarding his attempts to acquire the "Dynamic Vibrator" and "Electronic Firebolt", devices that could be used as super-weapons.

Dick Purcell won the role as Grant Gardner / Captain America, being cast as the hero despite supposedly appearing a bit overweight and average.

The role that made Dick Purcell famous turned out to be his last, and in fact he died a few weeks after filming was completed, before the film serial was released to enormous success. According to film historian Raymond Stedman, the strain of filming Captain America had been too much for his heart, and he collapsed in the locker room at a Los Angeles country club on 10 April 1944, shortly after playing a round of golf.

Selected filmography

  • Ceiling Zero (1936)
  • Man Hunt (1936)
  • Bengal Tiger (1936)
  • Times Square Playboy (1936)
  • Missing Witnesses (1937)
  • Men in Exile (1937)
  • Flight into Nowhere (1938)
  • Blackwell's Island (1939)
  • Irish Luck (1939)
  • Heroes in Blue (1939)
  • Flight Command (1940)
  • King of the Zombies (1941)
  • Aerial Gunner (1943)
  • Captain America (1944)
  • References

    Dick Purcell Wikipedia