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Richard David Kimble is the main protagonist of the 1963-67 TV series The Fugitive, where he was portrayed by David Janssen.


Richard David Kimble is a pediatrician from Stafford, Indiana who in the mid 1960s became the most famous fugitive in history. Born in 1930, Richard joined the Marines and became a corpsman. While serving in Korea, He was injured by an enemy grenade, but was rescued by a soldier named Joe Hallop, who was disfigured and mentally scarred by the battle enough to make an attempt on Richard's life many years later.

In 1955, Richard interned at a hospital in Fairgreen, IN, where He met a nurse named Helen Waverly. They fell in love and soon married, However when they tried to have a baby, Helen bore a son, but their child was stillborn and in the operation to save her life that followed, Helen was rendered completely infertile.

Richard wished to adopt a baby, but Helen, unable to believe that she could love another person's child, angrily refused and the two quarreled with enough frequency that on the night of September 19, 1961, Richard was about to take Helen out to a restaurant, but let slip that it was an eatery recommended by a member of an adoption clinic, which threw Helen into another rage. Richard stormed out of their house and drove off, wandering about the countryside and noticing a boy fishing in a lake before relaxing.

Unknown to Richard, Helen had telephoned Lloyd Chandler, the city's planning commissioner and their friend and Neighbor, who visited the house trying to calm Her down after she had begun drinking furiously. A commotion in their living room brought Helen face-to-face with a heavyset drifter whose right arm was missing. The stranger tried to escape, but in the ensuing fight, He threw Helen down and then killed her with a massive blow to her head with a lamp. Chandler, freezing in fear, couldn't bring Himself to intervene and the man escaped out the front door while Chandler soon snapped out of His funk and slipped out the back.

The One-Armed Man ran out and immediately ran into the returning Richard, who got enough of a look at His face to have the image seared in His memory. When The One-Armed Man fled, Richard ran into the house and found Helen's body. Interrogation by the office of Lt. Philip Gerard resulted in interviews of 83 men matching the description provided by Richard, none of whom were in the area at the time of the murder. Richard was convicted and sentenced to die, but after a year's worth of appeals, He was being escorted by Gerard to the death house in March 1963 when their train derailed.

The crash freed Richard from Gerard and He now became a fugitive, wandering the country and working low-paying odd jobs (those that require no identification or security checks and bring about little social attention) in His search for The One-Armed Man. Over the years, Richard received help from many individuals who understood His plight, such as Chicago news columnist Michael Decker (who went to jail for aiding and abetting as a result) and news writer Barbara Webb, who helped Richard rescue The One-Armed Man when He was injured in an accident. Periodically, Richard returned home to see His sister, Donna Taft; in one such visit, He was forced to confront His younger brother Ray, bitter over being mocked as Richard's brother. Richard managed to convince His brother of His innocence, restoring their bond. Meanwhile the bond between Richard and His Father, medical doctor John Kimble never faltered through John's death in 1966.

For Helen's family, a similar crisis occurred in 1965 as Ruth Waverly suffered heart trouble due to grief-induced stress and the ensuing medical costs threatened the family with bankruptcy. Richard, however appeared in Fairgreen and found a secret bank account kept by Helen in case of emergencies. In so doing, Richard had to overcome the fury of Ruth as she clung tenaciously to her daughter's memory, but she was finally convinced of her son-in-law's innocence.

A smart and resourceful man, Richard is usually able to perform well at any job he takes. He also displays considerable prowess in hand-to-hand combat. In the episode "Nemesis", he distracts and then knocks out a forest ranger (played by Kurt Russell's real-life dad Bing), then quickly unloads the man's rifle to ensure that He can't shoot Him if pursued.

In His travels, Richard periodically crossed paths with Lt. Gerard, but circumstances sometimes forced Richard to rescue Gerard from dangerous situations, such as an incident in 1965 when a group of hillbilly-types accused Gerard of molestation and such acts of compassion helped forge a respect between pursuer and pursued that aggravated the doubts about Richard's guilt that gnawed at Gerard. The respect between the two men was also illustrated in 1966 in Pennsylvania, when Ranch owner and former Mob hitman Arthur Brame was rescued by Richard from a runaway horse and upon learning of Gerard's pursuit lured Gerard to a warehouse, where He attempted to shoot Him with a sniper rifle. Richard however, learned of Brame's contract from His wife Sharon and rescued Gerard; the two briefly cooperated to evade Brame, but in the confusion, Richard escaped and Gerard chose to go after and kill Brame as He was a career murderer and was more dangerous.

The final episodes of the series, the Two-Parter "The Judgment" show Richard going up against Helen's killer and finally clearing His name. In 1967, The One-Armed Man, going by the alias Fred Johnson, is arrested in Los Angeles and Gerard wants it to make newspaper headlines all over the country in order to bring Richard closer to Him. When Richard learns of the arrest, He gets a ride to the city, but is intercepted by Jean Carlisle, A Court Stenographer and the daughter of His deceased friend Ben Carlisle. Jean and her family had been unfairly persecuted in Stafford when she and Richard were kids because her father had been arrested for embezzlement and only the Kimble family showed any sympathy, helping Jean and her mother cope.

When interviewing The One-Armed Man, Gerard begins to suspect that He's talking to the real killer after He lies about His alibi. When The One-Armed Man is bailed out of jail, He returns to Stafford - the reason why is then discovered by Richard and Jean in a bail bond receipt signed for by Leonard Taft, Richard's Brother-In-Law. Richard Prepares to find The One-Armed Man, but Gerard stops and arrests Him. On the Train back to Stafford, the two men talk about everything that's happened and after being convinced to do so, Gerard gives Richard 24 hours to find The One-Armed Man before brining Him in for good.

"Taft", however, Is in reality Lloyd Chandler, using Taft's name as an alias. When Chandler comes back with Richard Nephew Billy and some other boys who he'd been giving lessons on how to fire a gun, He learns from Donna that a man called the house and said that He saw Len in the house on the night of Helen's murder and asked to Meet Him at an abandoned riding stable after dark. While Donna and Len think that it was a crank call, Chandler keeps the meeting, where the caller is revealed to be The One-Armed Man. Even though Chandler is armed with a loaded pistol, The One-Armed Man easily overpowers and disarms Him, takes His gun, points it at Him and blackmails Him for $50,000. Later, after learning from Donna and Len about the phone call, Richard and Gerard investigate the stable, where they first find a matchbook to an art School in New Jersey. They then find a dropped, unfired cartridge from Chandler's gun.

Chandler tries to get the money, even resorting to putting His house up for sale, but no luck. Out of options, He tells His wife Betsy about what happened on the night of the murder. Jean Carlisle returns to Stafford and she and Richard are briefly reunited. However, because Richard is unsuccessful in finding His evidence within the 24 hours that He was given, even with help from Donna, Len and Gerard, The Lieutenant prepares to bring Him in. Just as Richard is about to leave with Gerard, Donna finds a bullet hidden in one of Billy's dresser drawers. When Shown the bullet, Gerard identifies it as being identical to the one they found at the riding stables the night before. Donna tells Len and the Lieutenant that the bullet must have come from Chandler, who she told about the phone call. Richard and Gerard head over to the Chandler residence to learn From Betsy that her husband has headed to an abandoned amusement park and is luring The One-Armed Man there so He can make up for His earlier unwillingness to talk by killing Him.

By the time Richard and Gerard arrive at the abandoned park, Chandler and The One-Armed Man have started a firefight, with latter's revolver squaring off against the former's shotgun. While trying to stop the shooting, Gerard takes a bullet to His right Thigh from The One-Armed Man, temporarily disabling Him. The Lieutenant gives Richard His Revolver as the Doctor heads off to finally confront Helen's murderer. When He runs out of bullets, The One-Armed Man runs to a tower and climbs to the top of it. Richard then follows The One-Armed Man, who starts fighting Him, with Richard dropping Gerard's gun. Richard then punches The One-Armed Man until He finally admits that He killed Helen. When Richard is caught off guard, The One-Armed man takes Gerard's gun and prepares to kill Richard as He's tired of being chased by Him.

Before He is able to, Gerard hits The One-Armed Man with a well placed shot from Chandler's rifle and The One-Armed Man falls to His death from the top of the tower to the ground below. Richard climbs down the tower to the ground and informs Gerard that He was able to get The One-Armed Man to confess, but it's no good because nobody else besides Richard heard it. As Richard resigns Himself to spending the rest of His life in prison, Chandler, after being convinced by Gerard decides to come forward and testify in court as to what He witnessed. In the final scene of the episode and the entire series, an exonerated Richard leaves the courthouse and shakes hands with Gerard to bid farewell. Richard then returned to pediatrics as He began His new life with Jean.

See also