Richard McNamara

Richard McNamara in Totò nella luna, with Ugo Tognazzi and Jim Dolen
Richard McNamara in Totò nella luna, with Ugo Tognazzi and Jim Dolen

Richard McNamara was another of the Americans – like John Kitzmiller – who came to Italy as an American soldier during World War 2 and stayed there, working in the burgeoning film industry, once the conflict was over. Although best known as a dubber or dubbing director, whose name appears in the credits of literally hundreds of productions, he also acted in the occasional film as well, particularly during the early stages of his career.

Although he appears to have had little cinema experience in America, once in Italy he was able to pick up small, uncredited roles in big budget international productions such as Fred Zinnemann’s now-forgotten Teresa and Mervyn Leroy’s Quo Vadis (both 51). There were also smaller, Italian productions such as Mario Soldati’s OK Nero (51) and the early Renato Polselli feature Delitto a Luna Park (52). He had more prominent billing in the George Raft vehicle Crime Squad (53) and his most important part came with Luigi Comencini’s slice of rosy neorealism, Husbands in the City (57). There was another decent role in Totò nella luna (57), as one of a pair of American agents (along with fellow ex-pat Jim Dolen) who try to convince Ugo Toganzzi, an idiot with a rare blood condition that makes him immune to radiation, to become an astronaut.

Renato Salvatori in Husbands in the City
Renato Salvatori in Husbands in the City

With the arrival of the 1960s, McNamara’s film roles became more scarce as his work as a dubber took over. There was brief appearence in the entertaining Paolo Heusch spy film Un colpo da mille miliardi (66) and an uncredited role in Roman Polanski’s under-rated What (72). Then, in the 80s, he popped up in the occasional production, such as Damiano Damiani’s The Warning (80) and the rubbishy Harold Robbins adaptation The Lonely Lady (83).

Unfortunately, little information is readily available about Richard McNamara; even his date of birth is hard to find, and I have no idea whether he is still alive or not. Presumably he was still living in Rome until at least the mid 1980s, when he made his final credited appearance in the little seen Carefree Giovanni (86).

Although not the best known of individuals to be associated with the golden age of Italian cinema, McNamara was undoubtedly one of the most important: as a dubber he was the voice of Steve Reeves; he provided the English language versions of many classic peplums and gothic horror films; and he forged a career that lasted well over thirty years. If anyone has any more information about him,then please get in touch!

About Matt Blake 861 Articles
The WildEye is a blog dedicated to the wild world of Italian cinema (and, ok, sometimes I digress into discussing films from other countries as well). Peplums, comedies, dramas, spaghetti westerns... they're all covered here.

2 Comments

  1. This is a wonderful article. Richard McNamara lives under my skin. I have heard his voice so many times in Italian movies that I wish that I knew more about the man. This article has shed more light on him and I applaud Matt Blake for his efforts. I wish that I could contribute something more than my hero worship for McNamana. I regard McNamara as an auteur of sorts for his dubbing. If you watch Italian exploitation epics, he constitutes a cornerstone!

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