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Richard Talmadge

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Alberta Vaughn and Talmadge share a cigar in The Live Wire,  1935
Alberta Vaughn and Talmadge share a cigar in The Live Wire, 1935

Richard Talmadge (born Sylvester Metzetti,[1] Ricardo Metzetti,[2] or Sylvester Ricardo Metzetti,[3] December 3, 1892 in Munich, Germany – January 25, 1981) was a German-born actor, stuntman and film director.[4][5]


Born in Germany in 1892, Talmadge arrived in Hollywood in 1910 where he began his career as a stuntman for Douglas Fairbanks before becoming an actor himself. His films include American Manners, The Poor Millionaire, Dancing Dynamite, Speed Madness, and the Pirate Treasure serial. He was the lead in The Cavalier (1928), film released by Tiffany Pictures with only a music and sound effects soundtrack.

Talmadge never got rid of his German accent, so with the advent of the talkies, he started working behind the cameras as assistant director, stunt coordinator and director.[6] His later work included How the West Was Won, The Greatest Story Ever Told and Casino Royale.[7]

He was the stepfather of American polo pioneer and Polo's Grande Dame Sue Sally Hale. His brothers, Otto and Victor Metzetti, both had success as stunt performers, and were members of the vaudeville troupe the Flying Metzettis,[8] (or the Five Metzettis[9]) who were the first to perform the quadruple back somersault[10] in 1917, at Barnum and Bailey's, with Richard as voltiguer.[11]

Talmadge died of cancer at the age of 88 on January 25, 1981, in Carmel, California. He is interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery, his grave marked with the name "Richard Metzetti Talmadge".[5]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ "The obituary of Richard Talmadge states he was born Sylvester Metzetti in Switzerland in 1892. Other sources state, Ricardo Mazetti was born in Munich, Germany, in 1896, of Italian-Swiss parents. Twenty Years of Silents gives the year of birth as 1898. The Milwaukee Journal of October 1941 stated he was 47 at the time, which would take his birth back to 1894. Since he was 88 when he died on January 25, 1981, the 1892 date is doubtlessly [sic] the correct date."George A. Katchmer (1991). Eighty Silent Film Stars: Biographies and Filmographies of the Obscure to the Well Known. McFarland. p. 918. ISBN 978-0-89950-494-0.
  2. ^ Cinemateca - Issue 27 - Page 7
  3. ^ Filmarama: The flaming years, 1920-1929. Scarecrow Press. 1 September 2002. p. 514. ISBN 978-0-8108-1008-2.
  4. ^ Gene Scott Freese (2014). Hollywood Stunt Performers, 1910sÐ1970s: A Biographical Dictionary, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 1993. ISBN 978-1-476-61470-0.
  5. ^ a b Allan R. Ellenberger (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-786-40983-9.
  6. ^ Harold N. Pomainville (2016). Henry Hathaway: The Lives of a Hollywood Director. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-442-26978-1.
  7. ^ Richard Talmadge at the Turner Classic Movies
  8. ^ Gene Scott Freese (2014). Hollywood Stunt Performers, 1910s-1970s: A Biographical Dictionary, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-786-47643-5.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Guinness Book of Records
  11. ^
  12. ^ source: PizzaFlix Youtube channel
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Richard Talmadge
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