Ritch Brinkley

March 18, 1944 - November 05, 2015

Obituary For Ritch Brinkley

Charles Richard Brinkley “Ritch” was born in Colorado City, TX to Sarah & Charles B. Brinkley. Most who knew him remember him for his extraordinary acting talent (backed up by diligent work and superior educational credentials – M.F.A. in Acting from the Asolo Conservatory of FSU as well as other degrees in the entertainment field such as a B.S. in Communications UT). He held professional ranking in the Screen Actors’ Guild, Actors Equity Association, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. He is also remembered for his talented singing and theatre work particularly at The Milwaukee Repertory Theater and in New York. He is probably best remembered by audiences for his work on the TV series Murphy Brown and Beauty and the Beast and for movies such as Breakdown, Cabin Boy and The Man With One Red Shoe. He took his craft seriously and was himself an educator at several times during his life including being Artist-in-residence at Sweetbriar College, Amherst, VA and Visiting Artist at University of Wisconsin – Stephens Point. Although not known primarily for his writing, he was exceptionally gifted in that area and wrote a film critic column for “The Beachcomber” (FL) and numerous stories for different venues, some published, many not. He was professionally versed in all areas of the entertainment arena.

Ritch was a man of extraordinary courage, compassion, and integrity. He valued intelligent conversation, imagination, loyalty, his friends, (2 & 4 legged), and the truth - no matter where they took him. He loved nature, the well-crafted word, traveling, great conversation, and kayaking He had a voice that would melt rock, and a vocabulary that challenged Noah Webster. Our lives are greatly diminished with his passing.

Several memorial services are being planned for the near future including a webcasted service. Please check back to this website; call the funeral home; or contact, Sally Newman at [email protected]

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Condolences

To his family, His passing is a terrible loss to our tunnel family. Please know how much we all loved and respected Ritch and how much we will miss him. :'( <3 Linda Smith
- Linda Smith
Heavy hearts are in the Tunnel community. Prayers and deepest condolences at this sad time.
- Teresa Miller
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- Mary and Dave Brockett
Memorial Service for Ritch will be held at PEACE Fellowship in Raleigh, NC Jan 9 at 1PM. There will also be a by invitation memorial service on line - Date to be announced. Please contact Sally if you are interested in either or need directions or more information.
- Sally Newman
~ Ritch Brinkley Tribute ~ Part Two In His Own Words Whether or not he was recognized as William, Ritch found working on Beauty & the Beast a very rewarding experience. During an interview with Desire' Gonzales in 1990 he said "[I]t was wonderful! There were no ego problems at any time. In some ways, it was like being stranded on an island because Vernon [studio location] is in the middle of nowhere. So, in that kind of situation, we banded together. I became true personal friends with Roy [Dotrice, Starlog #1] and Armin [Shimmerman]. Roy Dotrice and Armin Shimmerman encouraged me to attend conventions thus introducing Ritch to the world of cult fandom. Ritch enjoyed interacting with fans at conventions. He said that with Beauty & the Beast fans, "you're dealing here with mature, professional, highly creative people. To me it feels like meeting a group of penpals for the first time." Ritch believed that being a fan of Beauty & the Beast, "is a great creative outlet for a lot of people. All of the intentions, points of view of the show are good. It's for an alternative society where basic values of goodness, selflessness, are the values that we wished excited in our own society. Ritch credited learning his concept of 'fandom' from Dolly Parton, [with whom he worked]. She knows that without her fans, there wouldn't be any Dolly Parton. That's who makes you somebody other than a fan yourself. So, no matter how busy she was, she'd stop [to sign an autograph]." Out of respect for his fans, Ritch went out of his way to make the fans experience special by creating costumes or writing speeches and poems for the fans, which made him a favorite at fan conventions. Retiring from Hollywood [m]y first year out of Hollywood I taught acting at the University of Wisconsin at Stephens Point. He then moved to the Florida panhandle, an area chosen specifically for its flat-water paddling opportunities and lack of commercial congestion
- Diana Booth
~ Ritch Brinkley Tribute ~ March 18, 1944 - November 5, 2015 Part One In His Own Words Best known for his television roles as Carl Wishnitski, the love-struck camera man on Murphy Brown (with Candice Bergen), and as William, the cook, on Beauty and the Beast (with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton) although there was never any moment in any episode that I [Ritch] was seen doing anything related to cooking Charles Richard Brinkley was born in a little, central west Texas town called Colorado City on March 18, 1944. Although he was given his father's first name, Charles, he was called Richard, or Rich. When he joined the actors union there was already somebody named Rich Brinkley so he could not use his own name. He added a t to his name and thus became Ritch Brinkley, actor, member of the Screen Actors Guild, Actors Equity Association, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Ritch was a character actor, not a leading man. As such he had an over three decades-long career in Hollywood. In addition to his recurring roles on several series, [Charlie Boil, Dolly, 1987, William, Beauty and the Beast, CBS, 1988-1990, Carl Wishnitski, Murphy Brown, CBS, 1988- 1997, and Walter, a recurring role, Thunder Alley, ABC, 1994] he appeared as a guest artist in various episodes of many well-known series, including The Dukes of Hazzard, Hill Street Blues, Falcon Crest, Night Court, The Twilight Zone, Amazing Stories, Newhart, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Ritch admitted that he "didn't get a lot of support from my parents in terms of encouragement or recognition. So, at a very early age, I turned to my peers. I discovered that performing was a sure-fire way to gain their attention and confidence." Sibling rivalry with his older sister Janice was an early catalyst for his pursuit of formal training in ac
- Diana Booth
My heart goes out to Ritch's family and friends. He will be remembered with love by many.
- Lisa Gould
Ritch was a very talented and gifted writer who inspired me at our local writers' meetings. We will miss him dearly.
- Brenda Jones
Ritch joined our group of local writers in Destin, FL. He filled our meetings with tales of his vast experiences and extensive travels. Even though he moved away we stayed in touch by cards and emails. He is deeply missed but not to be forgotten. From the Members of Writers In Sandals.
- Betty Lazarini
Dear Family, we are sorry to learn of your loss. He touched the lives of many and will be thought of often. May your prayers bring you "...the peace of God that surpasses all understanding to guard your hearts..." Philippians 4:6,7 Our sincere condolence to all of you.
- Faust Family
I was outdoors a few evenings ago and viewed the first shooting star I have ever seen. I think Father and Shakespeare said it best: "When beggars die there are no comets seen. The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes" Ritch, you will always be part of our tunnel community but now it is time to take your rightful place among the stars.
- Ann Becker
Thanks for all the joy you brought us and thank you for introducing us to William. Our thoughts are with all those he loved and who loved Ritch
- Sandra McLaren
Thank you for sharing Ritch with us. Thank you, Ritch for our *William* through all these years. You will be remembered Always...and there will be such a gathering of Tunnel folk tonight to welcome you to your rest. You have earned it, but you have now left us all behind. Aya Hi to Elliot and Winslow for me... Judi
- Judith Nolan
Our deepest sympathies. Ritch was a terrific guy. We cherish the time we spent with him. His stories, his laughter, his blazing intelligence, his insights, his knowledge, his talents - everything about him was larger than life. Our hearts go out to his family and friends as he is mourned and remembered. JoAnn & Lawrence Baca
- JoAnn & Lawrence Baca
Ritch has been our good friend for 15 years now. The TAA reader's theater group was such fun because of his participation, and such stories he would tell in our TAA writer's group. He always met me for Barktoberfest here in Pensacola but my favorite outfits he and his dog wore were the pirate costumes for Ft. Waltons contest. This photo was taken at a St. Paddy's day event. I sent it to him a couple of months ago when he sounded very sad about all the pain he was in. He was a special person who will be missed. His memory is a blessing.
- Mary and Dave Brockett
You no longer suffer the ails of your body. rest in peace my friend. The humorous side of Rich. A LITTLE SCOTTISH JOKE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66doAYIKq-A
- Larry Burner
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Cordi
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Melissa Hoffman
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Renee Long
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Janet Rivenbark
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Ann Becker
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Laura Beth Cook
Remembering all the wonderful stories he told daughter and me about his days in the movies and the people he chanced to befriend and work with. Remembering the cake for his birthday one year, which he still recalled. He was a brilliantly educated man who cared deeply about human kind and could speak with conviction on any subject. Many, many "famous" Hollywood people were his friends or co-workers and they often spoke very highly of him and his skills and talents. A wonderful sense of humor, he was most entertaining to visit with. He is dearly missed by all who knew him, he fought a valiant fight against insurmountable medical issues, never giving up. I am grateful to have made his acquaintance. Ruth Sentelle
- Ruth Sentelle
I will really miss Rich, he was an amazing and unique person who I am honored to have called friend. I missed him greatly when he moved from FL. I miss our kayaking adventures and happy times at Yappy hour at Tijuana Flats. I am very sad indeed to just learn that he passed away. I wish I would have had the opportunity to see him beforehand. RIP Ritch.. you are missed more than you know.
- Lisa Bruning
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Lisa Gould
Hi my name is Kayla and I am a local bible teacher. I am so sorry for the loss of your loved one. There is a very comforting scripture at Isaiah 25:8. It says that soon Jehovah will swallow up death forever and that he will wipe away all of the tears. So we can all look forward to a time when death will be no more. I hope that this scripture can bring some true comfort during these difficult times.
- kayla
~ Ritch Brinkley Tribute ~ Part Three Web References: www.emediawire.com, 26 Sept 2005 [cached] http://www.waltonoutdoors.com/gulf-coast-kayaker-shares-his-fondness-for-the-yellow-river/ from http://reocities.com/Hollywood/set/1116/exbrink.html From http://www.batbwfol.com/Winterfest2007/interviews/rb/rb.htm The author met Ritch when they both attended a writer's conference in Rosemary Beach, Florida. As they both were driving from the same town, they car-pooled to the conference. Ritch introduced the author to kayaking, a sport she continues to enjoy. List of Ritch Brinkley's credits: Film Appearances Rich, Curse of the Headless Horseman (also known as Valley of the Headless Horseman), Prism, 1972 Gate guard, Brubaker, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1980 Luke, Leipers Fork townsman, Rhinestone, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1984 Hulse, The Man with One Red Shoe, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1985 Mayor Bill Finker, Big Business, Buena Vista, 1988 Moving van driver, Book of Love, New Line Cinema, 1990 Attorney Howard, Ruby, Triumph Releasing, 1992 Gunner, Doctor Mordrid, Full Moon, 1992 Captain Greybar, Cabin Boy, Buena Vista, 1992 Al, Breakdown, Paramount, 1997 Bait, Cyclops, Baby, Buena Vista, 1997 Acey Trump, Children on Their Birthdays, Crusader, 2002 TELEVISION Movies The Patriots, PBS, 1976 Wedge Smithfield, Wild Horses, 1985 Lonny, The Defiant Ones, 1986 Judge Lodge, Manhunt for Claude Dallas, 1986 Senator Buckner, Houston: The Legend of Texas, 1986 Barman, Timestalkers, 1987 Gene, Silhouette, 1990 Beetle, Jailbirds, 1991 Owl wagon manager, Cast a Deadly Spell, 1991 Valdez Sheriff, Dead Man's Revenge, 1994 Restaurant host, Virus (also known as Formula for Death, Robin Cook's "Formula for Death," and Robin Cook's Virus), 1995 Bubba, the truck driver, Amanda and the Alien, 1995 Series Charlie Boil, Dolly, 1987 William, Beauty and the Beast, CBS, 1988-1990 Carl Wishnitski, Murphy Brown, CBS, 1988- 1997 Walter, a recurring role, Thunde
- Diana Booth
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Gloria Dittmann
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Chesapeake Helpers' Society
Sent a gift in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- S Goolsby
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Larry Burner
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Carole Stephens
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
- Helene Kram
Ritch gave joy to many. His career touched millions of people, literally. He infused his characters with warmth and charm, a warmth and charm he surely possessed. He will be remembered very fondly. Deepest sympathies to those who loved him at this sad time. CindyR
- Cindy Rae
His dog was so important to him. I worry that she still has a good home now. Does anyone know?
- mary brockett
I never got the chance to meet Ritch and only know him from his character in Beauty and the Beast - loved him there. Now my favourite cook is gone but I'm sure he's welcomed above above with a great meal before he takes over the kitchen there. Prayers and condolences from the German tunnels.
- Cordi
Ritch will be greatly missed by friends and family alike. Our favorite cook is now serving his favorite meals for our many friends and family in the big restaurant in the sky. Peace be yours, forever.
- Helene Kram
I never got the chance to meet Ritch, but i felt i knew him through BATB episodes, a great gentleman, who will be sadly missed by so many. RIP Ritch, have fun up there with Edward!
- Amy McAdams
Thankyou for the wonderful memories of you as William, you will be sadly missed, and remembered by so many. Sleep Well, William, may you keep up your culinary skills in the kitchens of Heaven. I'm sure your friends who have gone on before will be there to meet you with open arms. Deepest sympathy to family. Skippy F.
- Skippy Flink
Hi Diana, Nice list - I've found that IMDB has many of his credits, but not all. Looking through his things, I've found much more than I even knew...
- Sally Newman
Actually, he came to VA to be with me right after Stephens Point (I helped him move)... Later went to FL for a while.., Also, he came out of retirement once to do a movie someone (MM) had just for him - "Children on their Birthdays."
- Sally Newman
Just ran across this picture of Ritch you posted... Interesting that I was still going through his things this week and ran across the hat he's wearing in the picture. It's one of the two I decided to keep. Was wondering where the photo came from; nice to know it was you, Susan
- Sally Strong Newman
My deepest condolences to Ritch's family and all those who loved him. He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered. "Not gone away, but gone ahead." Renee Long
- Renee Long
My deepest sympathies and prayers to Ritch's family an friends on his passing. He will be greatly missed in our tunnels but never forgotten and held in our hearts forever. MIssy B.
- Missy Buckingham
I've had Beignet. Ritch often leaves her in my care when he doesn't feel well. She's quite at home playing with the "brother" Ranger. Want to comment on the picture of R. & Beignet. I copied Ritch's Irish sweater several Christmases ago by knitting one for Beignet to match his. They won several costume contests wearing the two sweaters. My favorite rendition was their dressing as sea captains - both with Captain's hat, binoculars matching sweaters etc. Ritch was a very proud "papa." Broke my heart to spot it among his things; thought I wouldn't want to "visit" it again, but I've brought it home (and will perhaps get R's sweater also); have washed Beignet's, and she'll wear it again if we have a cold winter.
- Sally Strong Newman
Oh JoAnn! Well put! Blazing intelligence is so right. Hope to post more later, but still hectic here now... Know that you've always been such a blessing to us, and that we appreciate all that you do for us. I remember the good times Ritch and I had with you when we were in Virginia
- Sally Strong Newman

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