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In Memory

Joe Richards


Joe Richards, a publicist and former director of the Walt Disney Studios Publicity Photos Department, has died of cancer, Disney officials said Tuesday. He was 48.

Richards, whose Disney career began in 1990, supervised still photo publicity for Buena Vista Pictures on the films "Sister Act," "What's Love Got to Do With It," "The Joy Luck Club," "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Quiz Show."


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09/12/13 07:51 PM #2    

Ken Brownell

After high school, I had the good fortune to be a classmate and fraternity brother of Joe's during the 60's at UC Berkeley.  Joe was on scholarship for football and track but he gave up football after his freshman year.  He continued with track for the remainder of his undergraduate years.  I played baseball at Cal and the track stadium and the baseball fields at CAL are back to back so I was able to see Joe run while we were practicing.  Joe was on the Cal 440 yd. relay team that finished, I think, 2nd at the NCAA Championships '69, our senior year, and he was named an All-American.  He was a wonderful athlete

I spent a lot of time with Joe as we shared numerous functions, parties, UC events, athletics, riots, protest, etc. while just enjoying the adventures of our undergraduate days.  We had two fellow fraternity brothers with whom we were close (we were referred to as the "Thundering Herd' by the others in the  frat} and the four of us rented a house our senior year.  When you live with someone, you get to know them well.  Bill's beautiful description above was the Joe I knew.  He was also an incredible "chick magnet", and CAL in the 60's had more male students then female, so he was a great "faceman" to have on your team.  He introduced me to my "wife to be", Louise, a student at CAL Joe was dating at the time.  She was always crazy about Joe.

After graduation Joe was commissioned a 2nd LT. in the Navy through the ROTC program.  He was a helmet diver and spent most of his time in Navy in Europe and Hawaii.  After leaving the Navy in the early 70's he lived in Tahoe for a time (I think with Bob Scurich) and was involved in a serious auto accident on a snowy day.  He was very seriously injured around the face and it was "touch & go" for a while.  When Louise and I visited him at S. Lake Tahoe hospital just after the accident, it was very upsetting to see him.  He recovered after several months. 

He spent most of the years working and living in Los Angeles, New York and Hawaii.  I know that he and Georgia (his high school girl friend) remainded close over the years.  His brother Jack passed a number of years ago.  I saw Joe just before he passed and the once athletic frame had withered.  I remember hugging him awhile shedding a few tears.  When he entered the hospital a couple of months after our 30th reunion, it was not considered serious, but....

Joe was a very dear friend for many years to both Louise and myself.  We miss his smile and his giggle and his always postive attitude.  We talk about him often when we gather with college friends.  I'm glad I had the opportunity to spend time with Joe. 



04/15/14 08:19 AM #3    

Karen Kelley (Lund)

Joe Richards.  Girls loved him and boys wanted to be him.  He called me "Kare"  all through high school because he thought everyone should have a nickname or a shortened name.  It was his little special something that he used to let you know you were special to him even in that little way.  Joe had a way of really listening to you when you spoke to him.  My boyfriend Dave even said that Joe would give you his full attention when talking, never looking around to see if there was anyone more interesting waiting in the wings.  Joe was a true gentleman in every sense of the word but boy could he play football !  I had the pleasure of being "his secretary" our Senior year and at rallies we'd be catching up on our social lives, classes, teachers, etc sitting at that little desk.  I don't know why we had to sit at that desk.  Joe sitting on a high stool would have been perfect so he could make his opening remarks, introduce people, etc.  He was a wonderful friend and I was devastated when I learned of his horrific accident.  That beautiful face. . . Joe was truly loved by everyone and had a smile that could "launch a thousand ships."  Rest in eternal peace, my dear friend.  I know heaven is a happier place because of you.

04/15/14 10:15 AM #4    

Mike Spong

Well, I can't think of anything to say that wasn't said by Bill, Ken, and Karen far more eloquently than I ever could.

I wish I could say I ran alongside Joe in track over the years, but he always seemed to be about 400 yards in front of me!

He truly was a very special person and it was awesome to have him for a friend.

What a wonderful legacy to leave behind....a very lengthy list of "true friends"!!

Joe was so much fun to be around.....so sad to know he's gone, but his name instantly brings a warm smile to my face!!!

Mike Spong

07/16/14 08:58 PM #5    

Harold Aguilar

It has taken me a while to get the courage to add my feelings about a person we all miss, Joe Richards.  I am still angry with myself for not seeing him before he passed.  The last time I saw Joe was at our 30th Reunion.  It was great seeing him and having the chance to talk.  Everyone wanted time with him and he gave us all his undivided attention even when he became tired later in the evening.  I learned he lived in the Los Angeles area and talked about meeting for lunch.  We never got the chance.

I first met Joe when I started writing sports articles for the school newspaper "High Times" and the Pajaronian.  I often traveled with the team on the bus to away games and got a chance to know Joe and the other players during the three years I covered all sports for the school.  Joe made sure I knew everyone on the team and that I always got the information I needed for my articles.  In our senior year I ran for the newly created positon of Athletic Publicity Manger....and Joe was one of the first ones to support me.  I still credit him with getting me elected to the position. 

He was not only a great athlete but an outstanding human being.  He always found time to talk to anyone who wanted a few minutes of his time....and always with a smile.  You knew he was listening to you and cared.  He never let his popularity on or off the field  go to his head.  I have met many important people in my life but Joe will always be one who stands out among them all.  I had the honor and pleasure to be invited into his home where he introduced me to his parents and Jack.  He was a humble giant even at his young age and is missed to this day by his fellow classmates.

I am greatful for the time I had to share with Joe.  I know he will be with us at the 50th Reunion, smiling and proud of how far we all have come.

07/16/14 10:18 PM #6    

Mike Spong

Harold, thank you so much for the wonderful comments regarding Joe. You truly put into special words what so many of us felt. Joe was such an awesome person and so humble about his accomplishments. What a tragedy to lose someone so special and yet know you at least were able to be good friends over the years and develop such caring for a really great guy.

Mike Spong

P.S. As I look at the "In Memory" section of the website, I see so many names of other friends who are no longer with us. Thinking of each of them brought back so many wonderful memories of our high school days together. There were so many really great kids we ran around with who I was proud to call my friends!!! 



09/14/14 02:24 PM #7    

Carolyn Morris (Pearce)

Oh, I remember Joe so well - his presence, his athleticism, his smile, his friendliness, but what I remember most is the way he made my heart flutter and I am sure that happened to every girl in school.

Carolyn Morris Pearce

09/15/14 11:20 AM #8    

Jan Proctor (Weiser)

You're so right, Carolyn.  Flutter indeed!  At least I got to sit near his desk at Homeroom and in so many other classes.  Did I ever study?  I must have or I couldn't have gotten a BA, but I honestly can't remember.  Social life was so much more interesting than studies, don't you think?   I do remember absolutely adoring Joe.  

Ted and I were visiting my folks around 1970 or so and went down to walk Newbrighton Beach in the fog.  Joe and a friend were walking, too!  We talked for quite a bit and he told me about his terrible car accident.  His little sportscar spun under an 18 wheeler I think.  He was still so very handsome, though, and his smile will always be in our hearts.  Memories remain so strongly.


09/19/14 11:46 AM #9    

David Plumer

Deeply saddened to hear of Joe's passing. Joe Richards was one of the good guys.


10/07/14 08:02 AM #10    

Dave Mercer

Joe was only outdone as an athlete by his kindness and personality. I wish we had known how to run offense in football as we do now. We line him up outside and throw him 9's(streaks)and throw the ball as far as we could and let him go get it(6-4 and 9.4 speed) I would love to have him on my team now.he and Georgia were the cutest couple. It's a wonder that while he was in Hollywood they just didn't sign him up and make him a star. Dave M.

10/28/14 11:00 PM #11    

Diana Weaver (Cuddeford)

Something I remember about Joe is he was real in every thing he did and you could talk to him and he would listen and he actully cared about what you thought and asked for your opinions about things! We were friends ! He actually ask me what I thought about Sports and he was trying to decide after football and basketball what would be better for him to go out for! Baseball or Track! My answer to that Question was I thought he would be Very good at Track and and it seemed to be a really good Program! I can still remember that conversation! and it always made me proud of him for being so good at it! But I think He could have been just as good at Baseball !  Joe was one of the Best! 

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