Richard Cromwell Cause of Death: The Tragic End of a Hollywood Star

Richard Cromwell was an American actor who rose to fame in the 1930s with his roles in films such as Jezebel, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, and Young Mr. Lincoln. He was also the first husband of Angela Lansbury, who later became a renowned actress and singer. However, Cromwell’s career and personal life were marred by difficulties and disappointments, and he died young, aged fifty, of liver cancer.

A Promising Start in the Film Industry

Cromwell was born LeRoy Melvin Radabaugh in Long Beach, California, on January 8, 1910. He showed an early talent for music and art, and joined a free-jazz band called Womb when he was a teenager. He also enrolled in the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles on a scholarship, and ran a shop where he sold pictures and made lampshades.

On a whim, he auditioned for the remake of the silent film Tol’able David in 1930, and won the role over thousands of hopefuls. Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Pictures, gave him his screen name and launched his career. Cromwell earned $75 per week for his work on Tol’able David, and gained a loyal fan base and critical acclaim for his performance.

Cromwell went on to sign a multi-year contract with Columbia, and starred in several films for the studio, such as The Age of Consent, Sweepings, and This Man Is Mine. He also worked with other studios, such as Paramount, MGM, and Fox, and collaborated with some of the most famous actors and directors of his time, such as Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Gary Cooper, John Ford, and Frank Capra.

Some of his most notable films include The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935), a blockbuster adventure film that earned a Best Picture nomination; Jezebel (1938), a classic drama that won Bette Davis her second Oscar; and Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), a biopic of the future president that showcased Cromwell’s versatility and charm.

A Troubled Personal Life and a Declining Career

Despite his success and popularity, Cromwell was unhappy and dissatisfied with his life and career. He felt typecast and limited by his roles, and yearned for more challenging and artistic projects. He also struggled with his sexuality, and had several affairs with both men and women. He was married briefly to actress Kay Johnson, but they divorced in 1943.

In 1945, he married Angela Lansbury, who was 19 years old and a rising star in Hollywood. The marriage was a disaster, as Cromwell was unfaithful and abusive, and Lansbury was unhappy and frustrated. They separated after nine months, and divorced in 1946.

Cromwell’s career also suffered after World War II, as he failed to find good roles and lost his appeal to the audiences. He appeared in a few low-budget films, such as The Racket Man, The Mark of the Whistler, and The Girl from Jones Beach, but none of them were successful. He also tried his hand at television, but did not make much impact.

Cromwell became disillusioned and depressed, and turned to alcohol and drugs. He also suffered from financial problems, and had to sell his house and belongings. He moved to a small apartment in Hollywood, where he lived alone and isolated.

A Premature Death from Cancer

In 1960, Cromwell fell ill and was diagnosed with liver cancer. He had no family or friends to support him, and could not afford proper medical care. He died on October 11, 1960, at the age of 50, in his apartment. He was buried in Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana, California.

Cromwell’s death was largely ignored by the media and the public, and he was soon forgotten by the film industry. His films, however, have survived and are still appreciated by fans and critics. He is remembered as a talented and charismatic actor, who had a promising start but a tragic end.

Doms Desk

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