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Richard Widmark grew up in Princeton, Illinois, and attended Lake Forest (IL) College, where he first began acting. He taught acting at Lake Forest after graduation until 1938, when he made his radio debut in New York in "Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories." Widmark made his Broadway stage debut in 1943 in "Kiss and Tell." He had been rejected as unsuitable for military service because of a perforated eardrum. In 1947, he got his big break, making film history as Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death (1947), beginning a seven-year contract with 20th Century-Fox. His hand and footprints were cast in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 1949.After his contract with Fox expired, Widmark went independent. He first appeared on TV as himself in an episode of "I Love Lucy" (1951), and began producing films from the late 1950s. His film career slowed in the 1970s, but he remained active in made-for-TV movies. He starred in his own TV series, "Madigan" (1972), based on his 1968 hit movie, but only six episodes were produced before the show was canceled.