Richard Carlson was an American actor, television and film director, and screenwriter.
Born in Albert Lea, Minnesota, Carlson graduated from the University of Minnesota with an M.A. degree, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa. He later appeared on the Broadway stage in the 1930s after studying and teaching drama in Minnesota. His first film role was in the 1938 David O. Selznick comedy The Young in Heart. He worked as a freelance actor, appearing in many different film studio works, beginning in 1939 when he moved to California. Before the war, he appeared mostly in comedies and dramas, including The Little Foxes and Too Many Girls with Lucille Ball in 1940.
Like many actors, Carlson served in World War II, interrupting his acting career. After returning he found it difficult to win new roles, and his future in Hollywood remained in doubt until 1948. In that year, Carlson was cast in two low-budget film noir releases, Behind Locked Doors and The Amazing Mr. X. Despite this, real success in Hollywood eluded him until 1950, when he co-starred with Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger in the highly successful jungle adventure film King Solomon’s Mines, shot on location in Africa. Other films followed, including the World War II naval action film Flat Top.
Carlson slowly began to rebuild his career, finding work in the newly emergent science fiction and horror B films of the 1950s. He appeared in a number of horror and science fiction films, including three 3-D films: The Maze and the classics It Came from Outer Space with Barbara Rush, Creature from the Black Lagoon with Julia Adams, and The Magnetic Monster. His success in the genre led him to the director’s chair for the 1954 sci-fi film Riders to the Stars, in which he also starred.