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California Artist (and Beverly Hillbillies Director) Richard Whorf

November 24th, 2009 · 16 Comments

By Garland Pollard

Richard Whorf

There is one person we need to know more about; it is Richard Whorf (1906-1966), the sometime actor who was director of the Beverly Hillbillies. Whorf was also a dancer, a designer, a producer and a writer. Whorf has a whole world view that we rather appreciate; traditional with a warped view of the world.

He also directed the Beverly Hillbillies episode where Mayflower descendant Priscilla Smith-Standish (Rosemary DeCamp) shows that the Clampetts are of better and earlier blood than the Drysdales because they are descended from English who landed in Virginia at Jamestown. (Since this is the day before Thanksgiving, this is our Thanksgiving angle for BrandlandUSA.)

We found an old TV rotogravure section story on his artwork; he iRichard Whorf Paintings pictured here at work on one of his old town America paintings. Entitled At Ease at His Easel, it says that the first time he saw Los Angeles he was playing Shakespeare.

According to his Wikipedia entry, Whorf sold his first painting at age 15 for US$100. He had the style of Grant Wood or Norman Rockwell. Apparently, he had a one man show in 1963 with his designs.

“Who says,” he asked a reporter in 1963, “that a man has to do one thing?”

Whorf died in Santa Monica in 1966; we would love to know who has his paintings, and what they looked like. We also wonder if he was related to the art director Peter Whorf, who is responsible for the A&M Herb Alpert record Whipped Cream and Other Delights.

But back to Richard Whorf. When will some hip gallery in L.A. give him a show?

Do any others know about his work?

More branding stories of interest:

Remembering California's Bart Lytton
Parrette's Ten Basics of Ad Creation
IHOP and DineEquity Inc. Prove Casual Sector
Ten Reasons The Century Plaza in L.A. Can Be Preserved
Brands of Escape from the Planet of the Apes
Brands of Jim Rockford's L.A.

Tags: Art · Media

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 thelma strickler // Mar 13, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Bought a Richard Whorf painting years ago..Picture of a home in the Carolinas..name of estate “Magnolia” We were told the home belonged to Angela Landsbury’s mother…

    Any comments??
    thelma c. strickler

  • 2 Garland Pollard // Mar 13, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Thelma..thanks for the tip. It sounds like a fascinating painting.

  • 3 Phyllis Kingsbury // May 17, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I own two small signed Richard Whorf watercolor paintings that I bought unknowingly at a thrift store in Palm Beach Florida. They were donated by his sister-in-law Helen O’Sullivan who wrote on the back of them that they were painted by Richard as Christmas cards to her and her husband. One is a movie set with the cowboy actors leaning against an old wooden building with the director with the old-time movie camera in the foreground, and the other is a Paris cafe street scene. Mrs. O’Sullivan wrote that he studied art in Paris and mailed them the painting from there. I paid approximately $60.00 for both of them and I absolutely adore them. I would love to know the value. Each painting is approximately 4″ high X 5″ wide. I would be happy to send photos upon request.

  • 4 Liza Garson // Apr 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I have 4 oil pintings of Richard Whorf Our families were friends Yes Peter Whorf ia Richard Whorfs son

  • 5 Pam Baker // May 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Peter Whorf was Richard Whorf’s eldest son. His other sons were director David Whorf and Graphics Designer Christopher Whorf.

  • 6 thelma strickler // Jul 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Does any one know what Richard Whorf’s paintings sell for now?

    thelma strickler

  • 7 perry willits // Feb 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I have a signed Richard Whorf painting of actress Shirley Booth. Shirley signed the back of it.

  • 8 Garland Pollard // Feb 27, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Thats way fun. Where did you get it? I just have to imagine Shirley Booth, in between episodes of Hazel, sitting down for a portrait from Whorf.

  • 9 Annie // Jun 22, 2013 at 1:14 am

    I have a Richard Whorf painting that he gave to my grandfather who also worked on the Beverly Hillbillies.

  • 10 blair jackson // Jun 27, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    My uncle, the actor Elliott Reid, just died last Friday and when we were clearing out his stuff we saw that one of the paintings in his place was a Richard Whorf painting of the Paris cafe Le Dome. Quite lovely… I wonder if they knew each other; most likely…

  • 11 Wellesley Whorf // Sep 10, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Richard Whorf was my grandfather and Peter Whorf my father. I have many paintings, watercolors, sketches of Richards work as well as negatives to perhaps all I his work. I would be willing to talk to anyone with an interest in his art.
    Wellesley Whorf

  • 12 rick smith // Feb 23, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    I have several Richard Whorf paintings. Am interested in more and/or any info. Thanks 516 671 6515

  • 13 Wendy Newton // Aug 3, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I have a Richard Whorf painting c 1954 of 11th Street in Manhattan, looking toward 5th Avenue. It is signed and framed. My husband’s father was an actor and knew him professionally, but I believe there was a family friendship and a connection through the Lawrenceville School. Would most appreciate more information.

  • 14 Vince // Sep 9, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Hi Wells, I knew your father and my best friend back when we were at Dunhill. I think of him often and saddened by his leaving this plane. I came to your house often and watched you and your siblings grow and spent many holidays with you and your family. Would love to talk to you.

  • 15 Vince // Sep 9, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Hi Pamela, so you are now ‘Baker’. Very happy for you and hope you are well. We ‘did’ have some great times in spite of how things turned out. Would love to compare notes on what we’ve been doing since.

  • 16 Vince // Sep 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Are you the same ‘Rick Smith’ that had a graphics design biz in LA in the 70’s? If so, we were buds and would love to talk to you.

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