Obituary Details

Ritch Brinkley

March 18, 1944 - November 5, 2015

Birthplace & Residence

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Viewing

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Funeral

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Cemetery

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Notes

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 ssnewmanraleigh@gmail.com
Posted by:
Archive
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
New Album Name
Posted by:
Archive
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
Pictures: Ritch Brinkley, Raleigh, NC
Posted by:
Archive
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
New Album Name
Posted by:
Sally Strong Newman
Posted on:
October 29, 2017
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
Posted by:
Ruth Sentelle
Posted on:
March 28, 2016
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
Posted by:
Lisa Bruning
Posted on:
March 16, 2016
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.
Posted by:
Sally Newman
Posted on:
December 4, 2015
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.
Posted by:
Sally Newman
Posted on:
December 4, 2015
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."
Posted by:
Sally Newman
Posted on:
December 4, 2015
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...
Posted by:
kayla
Posted on:
November 29, 2015
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.
Posted by:
Chesapeake Helpers' Society
Posted on:
November 18, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Diana Booth
Posted on:
November 16, 2015
~ 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, Thunder Alley, ABC, 1994

Episodic - Guest Starring Roles

Starkey, "Play it Again, Luke," The Dukes of Hazzard, 1984
Ralph Carter, "State of the Union," The Master, 1984
Prison doctor, "Watt a Way to Go," Hill Street Blues, 1984
Mr. Tower, "Shadows," Falcon Crest, 1984
"Over the Limit," Scarecrow and Mrs. King, 1985
Biker, "Dan's Boss," Night Court, 1985
Bart, "Twin Engines," Misfits of Science, 1985
Westcott, "Ancient Eyes," Stingray, 1986
Middle-aged man, "Dead Run," The Twilight Zone, 1986
Mayor Chestor A. Barnsworth, "The Pumpkin Competition," Amazing Stories, 1986
Farmer Bagley, "Jail, Jail, the Gang's All Here," Newhart, 1987
Truck, "Nicole's Big Adventure," My Two Dads, 1988
District Attorney Daryl Lodwick, "The Orchids Curse," Twin Peaks, 1990
District Attorney Daryl Lodwick, "Laura's Secret Diary," Twin Peaks, 1990
Dick, "The Construction Worker Show," Get a Life, 1991
"Jerry's Journey," Parker Lewis Can't Lose, 1992
Baldash, "Dead Can Dance," Weird Science, 1995
Grandpa Ernie, "Lindsay's Dilemma," Saved by the Bell: The New Class, 1995
Sheriff Nathan Decker, "The Lynching," Walker, Texas Ranger, 1995
Eddie Powers, "The Fallout," Saved by the Bell: The New Class, 1995
Eddie Powers, "The Christmas Gift," Saved by the Bell: The New Class, 1995
Dan, "Big Brother Is Watching," Malcolm & Eddie, 1996
"Honey, Meet the Barbarians," Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, 1998
Mr. Cabeza, "School Spirits," Weird Science, USA Network, 1998
50 year old man, "The Long and Winding Short Cut," Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, 1999
Stan, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, 1994;
Vince, Something Wilder, NBC; Zach Warmley, Burke's Law, 1994.
Edge (1993)

Specials

It's Garry Shandling's Show--25th Anniversary Special, Showtime, 1986
Blind Tom: The Story of Thomas Bethune,
Posted by:
Diana Booth
Posted on:
November 16, 2015
~ 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. “I noticed the slogan for Milton, Florida, was 'Florida’s canoeing capitol' and the first week of October 2000, I arrived with the intention of camping around for a month during which I would choose a permanent paddling home. I spent five years near Holt on the Yellow River, and now I live four hundred yards from Navarre’s white sand beaches.”
In his later years the love of Ritch's life was his little papillon, Beignet. Ritch took her everywhere he could, including paddling in his poke boat. He was also proud to dress her up for costume contests, (he called them “dog shows”), which they frequently won.
In Florida, besides doting on Beignet, Ritch wrote a biweekly movie column entitled “Before the Lens” for the Beachcomber, an entertainment tabloid, for several years. He joined the West Florida Canoe and Kayak Club (remember his desire to kayak?) and a theater group, as well as several writing groups, even going to Mexico for a writers' workshop, which he enjoyed thoroughly. He maintained a connection with Writers in Sandals, his favorite writing group, through e-mails, stories and cards even after he left the Florida Panhandle and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, in hopes of getting a kidney transplant. Members of Writers in Sandals fondly remember tales of his vast experiences and extensive travels. His last known writing was published in a private book printed by the Writers in Sandals group.
In summary, throughout his Hollywood career Ritch acted in twelve big screen movies, (one role, Cabin Boy, was written specifically with him in mind), twelve made for television movies, had recurring roles in 4 series, Dolly, 1987, Beauty and the Beast, CBS, 1988-1990, Murphy Brown, CBS, 1988-1997, and Thunder Alley, ABC, 1994, as well as about 30 guest starring roles in TV series and several TV specials. Not bad for a kid from Kermit, Texas.
Ritch Brinkley, one with boats – as he was wont to sign his e-mails.
Posted by:
Diana Booth
Posted on:
November 16, 2015
~ 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 acting and his drive to continue his education.
Ritch considered himself over-educated. "I was valedictorian, ... [voted] most likely to succeed, most talented and... I flunked out of the University of Texas a year and a half later because I'd never lived outside of tiny, little, small, boring towns. [He grew up in Kermit, Texas, a little oil boom-town.] I had a lot of living to catch up on. I finally finished out with a B.S. in Communications. And, after working for ten years on the road in theater, I went back to Florida State to the Asolo Conservatory," where he earned his masters of fine art degree in acting.
Not successful in his first foray into Hollywood in the late 1960's, Ritch worked in repertory theaters in Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina into the early 1970's, but primarily with The Milwaukee Repertory Theater. While his first feature film role came in Brubaker, his largest feature role was in The Man With One Red Shoe. "Garret Graham and I were Dabney Coleman's CIA agents who followed Tom Hanks everywhere. I was Hulk the listening expert. I didn't have the beard, no one recognizes me." Ritch's other credits include such features as Big Business and the mini-series, Houston: Legend of Texas. His range of roles on television spanned high drama such as Hill St. Blues to the comedy of My Two Dads.
Posted by:
Sally Strong Newman
Posted on:
November 13, 2015
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
Posted by:
Sally Strong Newman
Posted on:
November 13, 2015
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.
Posted by:
Helene Kram
Posted on:
November 10, 2015
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.
Posted by:
Helene Kram
Posted on:
November 10, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Lisa Gould
Posted on:
November 10, 2015
My heart goes out to Ritch's family and friends. He will be remembered with love by many.
Posted by:
Lisa Gould
Posted on:
November 10, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Brenda Jones
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
Ritch was a very talented and gifted writer who inspired me at our local writers' meetings. We will miss him dearly.
Posted by:
Betty Lazarini
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
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.
Posted by:
Amy McAdams
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
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!
Posted by:
Carole Stephens
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Larry Burner
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Cordi
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
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.
Posted by:
Cordi
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Larry Burner
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
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
Posted by:
mary brockett
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
His dog was so important to him. I worry that she still has a good home now. Does anyone know?
Posted by:
Melissa Hoffman
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Faust Family
Posted on:
November 9, 2015
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.
Posted by:
Renee Long
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
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
Posted by:
Renee Long
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Janet Rivenbark
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Mary and Dave Brockett
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
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.
Posted by:
Mary and Dave Brockett
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
1 file added to the tribute wall
Posted by:
Gloria Dittmann
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Ann Becker
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
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.
Posted by:
Ann Becker
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Sandra McLaren
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
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
Posted by:
Teresa Miller
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
Heavy hearts are in the Tunnel community. Prayers and deepest condolences at this sad time.
Posted by:
Laura Beth Cook
Posted on:
November 8, 2015
Lit a candle in memory of Ritch Brinkley
Posted by:
Missy Buckingham
Posted on:
November 7, 2015
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.
Posted by:
Linda Smith
Posted on:
November 7, 2015
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
Posted by:
Skippy Flink
Posted on:
November 7, 2015
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.
Posted by:
Judith Nolan
Posted on:
November 7, 2015
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
Posted by:
Cindy Rae
Posted on:
November 7, 2015
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
Posted by:
JoAnn & Lawrence Baca
Posted on:
November 7, 2015
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
Posted by:
S Goolsby
Posted on:
November 7, 2015
Sent a gift in memory of Ritch Brinkley
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