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Richard erdman
Richard Erdman
Full name: John Richard Erdman
Birth date: June 1, 1925
Death date: March 17, 2019
Occupation: Actor and film director
Also known for: Stalag 17
Work on Community
Title: Recurring Cast member
Portrays : Leonard Rodriguez
Acting debut: Advanced Criminal Law
Active on Community: 2009-2015


I asked the director, “Who the hell is this guy?” He said he didn’t know. So I went and found the writer and asked him, and he said, “We’re going to find out in the eighth show.” I said, “How should I be playing it until then?” He said, “We haven’t decided yet.”
— Richard Erdman on dicussing his first time acting as Leonard

Richard Erdman was an American film and television actor and director. He was born John Richard Erdmann in Enid, Oklahoma on the first of June in 1925. Erdman later grew up in Colorado Springs, CO. where his single mom was a cook. A drama teacher at school was so impressed with Erdman's ability he suggested to his mother that she take him to Hollywood. He enrolled in Hollywood High School while his mother got another job as a cook. Erdman was signed to a contract Warner Bros. by Michael Curtiz, the Oscar-winning director of "Casablanca". Not long afterwards, he made his screen debut playing an uncredited role in 1944's "Mr. Skeffington." In a career that eventually spanned eight decades, Erdman is best remembered for two films — Robert Parrish's 1951 film noir, "Cry Danger" and in Billy Wilder's 1953 World War II classic "Stalag 17". He was married to Leza Holland from 1948 to 1950. After the divorce he married Sharon Randall in 1953. They had one daughter named Erica, who was born a year later. She became a poet and illustrator and died in 2010 of an accidental overdose of prescription medication. Erdman portrayed the character of Leonard on "Community" for six seasons from 2009 to 2015. Erdman passed away on March 16, 2019 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 93.

Interview with The Film Noir Foundation's Alan K. Rode[]

Part One[]

Erdman on:

  • Dick Powell & Bill Bowers
  • Cry Danger anecdotes
  • "Dirty" Jay Adler
  • Breaking into Hollywood
  • The Warner Bros university

Part Two:[]

Erdman on:

  • Working with Raoul Walsh
  • Chinese food with Errol Flynn
  • The day WWII ended
  • Friendship with James Cagney

Part Three[]

Erdman on:

  • Marlon Brando
  • Billy Wilder and Stalag 17
  • Still working on Community
  • Dissecting the Dick Van Dyke show

External links[]