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Richard Bull
Born(1924-06-26)June 26, 1924
DiedFebruary 3, 2014(2014-02-03) (aged 89)
Years active1956–2014
TelevisionLittle House on the Prairie
Barbara Collentine
(m. 1948)

Richard William Bull (June 26, 1924 – February 3, 2014) was an American film, stage and television actor. He was best known for his performances as "Doc" on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Nels Oleson on Little House on the Prairie.

Personal life

Bull was born on June 26, 1924 in Zion, Illinois.[1] After years of living in Los Angeles, he moved back to Chicago in 1994 with his wife Barbara Collentine. The couple moved to the Motion Picture & Television Fund House from Chicago in September 2012.[2][citation needed]

Bull fell into acting by accident. “I never gave a serious consideration about becoming an actor. As a senior in high school, I decided to study music, but a friend suggested we attend the Goodman Theater School. In two weeks the friend dropped out, but I was hooked.”[2] There was a three-year interruption while he served as a radio operator for the Army Air Corps, but when he was discharged in 1946 he resumed his acting studies at Goodman.[3]


Bull began his stage career at the famous Goodman Theatre in Chicago.[4] He said that a two-line part in The Greatest Story Ever Told "opened a lot of doors."[5] Director George Stevens was impressed with Bull's emoting, and that "led directly to the role of an FBI agent in The Satan Bug," Bull said.[5]

He made more than 100 film and TV appearances.[6]


Bull died on the morning of February 3, 2014, at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Calabasas, California of pneumonia. He was 89 years old.[7]





  1. ^ Langer, Emily (February 4, 2014). "Richard Bull, television character actor, dies at 89". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Richard Bull of 'Little House' dies". Herald & Review. February 5, 2014.
  3. ^ "About Richard Bull".
  4. ^ "Collentines at Commencement". The Capital Times. June 13, 1948.
  5. ^ a b Anderson, Nancy (July 9, 1976). "Accents spoil show says Richard Bull". Valley Morning Star. p. 19. Retrieved April 22, 2015 – via open access
  6. ^ "Necrology for 2014". Nostalgia Digest. 41 (2): 16–23. Spring 2015.
  7. ^ Obituary