With his mustache, receding hairline and somewhat portly frame, Richard Riehle has often been cast as corrupt characters whose bravado melts in the face of adversity, He spent over 15 years working in repertory theaters in Oregon, Alaska, Arizona and elsewhere, in addition to teaching acting in Northern California and at the University of Washington. Riehle ventured to Broadway in 1985 and beginning a career as a working character player. After debuting in "Execution of Justice," a play based on the murder of Harvey Milk, he remained in New York and often worked with the Classic Stage Company and the Public Theatre. Roles in the movies "Black Rain" and "Glory" (both 1989) and the miniseries "Cross of Fire" (NBC, 1989) convinced him to move to Los Angeles. It was his part in "Glory" that actually put Riehle on the potential casting lists in Hollywood; he was featured only in one scene as a quartermaster sneeringly denying the "Negro" soldiers shoes while bathing in his own corruption. Riehle went on to give a memorable portrayal of the Reverend Scroggins who twists the truth on the witness stand in Jon Avnet's "Fried Green Tomatoes" (1991). In 1993, he was the older guard who survives the train crash with Richard Kimball in "The Fugitive" and also appeared as a member of the panel in "Jury Duty" and in a small role in "Casino" (both 1995).
Riehle made his TV debut with a bit role in "The Other Side of Hell" (NBC, 1978) and his first regular series role was as Mr. Rooney, the smarmy principal in the short-lived TV version of "Ferris Bueller" (NBC, 1990-91). He was a juror alongside Jasmine Guy in the TV-movie "A Killer Among Us" (NBC, 1990) and has worked steadily in TV longforms since, including "A Stranger in Town" (CBS, 1995), in which he was a sheriff skeptical of Jean Smart's past.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Acted and directed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Film debut in small role in "Rooster Cogburn"
TV debut, bit, "The Other Side of Hell"
Broadway debut, "Execution of Justice"
TV miniseries debut, "Cross of Fire"
Played a small role in feature "Glory" that brought him attention
First TV series as regular, "Ferris Bueller"
Co-starred as Reverend Scroggins in "Fried Green Tomatoes"
Appeared in "Free Willy"
Acted in Martin Scorsese's "Casino"
Had supporting role in "Ghosts of Mississippi"
Played a lecherous attorney in the first two episodes of the Fox series "Ally McBeal"
Had featured role in acclaimed Broadway revival of "The Iceman Cometh", starring Kevin Spacey
Co-starred in the Fox midseason replacement series "Grounded for Life"
Appeared in "The Laramie Project", the true story of the murder of Matthew Shepard
Played Santa in the comedy "The Hebrew Hammer"