Dear Ken: I remember a TV series from when our family first got a TV set in the early 1950s. It was called “The Life of Riley” and starred William Bendix. What can you tell us about Bendix?
Bendix starred as Chester Riley in “The Life of Riley” from 1953 to 1958. The native New Yorker was a star of Broadway, radio, film and TV. With a burly physique and a broken nose, the former grocer could play lugs and thugs with the best of them. Among his best movies are “Lifeboat,” “The Glass Key,” “Brooklyn Orchid,” “Wake Island” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” But it was his comedic flair that brought him most fame as he played Riley on radio for nine years before the TV show. As a youth in the early 1920s, Bendix was a bat boy for the New York Yankees and a favorite of Babe Ruth. In 1948, the actor played the home run king in “The Babe Ruth Story.” He died in 1964 at 58 from a chronic stomach ailment which led to malnutrition and lobar pneumonia.
Dear Ken: Whatever happened to child actor Kristy McNichols, who starred in the TV show “Family” as Buddy?
McNichols, 48, who co-starred on “Family” from 1976 to 1980, went on to make the movies “The End,” “Little Darlings,” “Only When I Laugh” and “The Pirate Movie.” She appeared in 100 episodes of the TV series “Empty Nest” between 1988 and 1995. But she pretty much had retired from acting in 1992 when she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Since then she has taught acting at a private school and been involved in charity work in Los Angeles.
Dear Ken: I’ve heard the Farrelly brothers are planning to make a movie about the Three Stooges. If that is true, any ideas who they may get to play Moe, Curly and Larry?
The news is true that Peter and Bobby Farrelly aim to make a Stooges film, and they had hoped to begin production in mid-April, so they may be shooting at this date. At last report they have cast Will Sasso, a co-star of the TV series “$#*! My Dad Says,” to portray Curly, and Sean Hayes to play Larry. If you have a trivia question about actors, singers, movies, TV shows or pop culture, e-mail your query to Ken Beck at email@example.com