David Rappaport – With the talent of Michael Dunn, but the tragedy of Herve Villechaize, the world lost British actor David Rappaport far too soon. Possibly one of the most talented little people actors of our time, Rappaport had an incredible career, which was cut short when he took his own life in the Hollywood hills in 1990.
Born in London, England in 1950, David Rappaport developed musical talent early in life and became an accomplished drummer and accordionist. Studying psychology at the University of Bristol, Rappaport made a living out of being a professional drummer, as well as started acting in student productions. After graduation Rapport worked as a teacher for a few years, but eventually decided to turn his attention to acting.
Rappaport’s first breakthroughs were in various BBC children’s programs, most notably Jigsaw in 1979 where he was paired up with future Doctor Who star Sylvester McCoy. Other children programs Rappaport appeared in included The Famous Five and Tiswas. Rappaport also became a regular player on Spike Milligan’s sketch comedy series Q5 during the early 1980’s. However, the one project that Rappaport turned down during this period of his career was the chance to be a part of the Star Wars franchise. Rappaport claimed that he did go out for a casting call, but while every little person in England was being cast as Jawas, Ewoks or Droids, Rappaport told Star Wars casting agents that “for no amount of money will I ever play a puppet or a robot.” However, Rapport would eventually play a robot on the long running British comedy The Goodies.
Rappaport finally caught the attention of American audiences when he was cast as dwarf leader Randall in 1981’s Time Bandits, staring Sean Connery, John Cleese and Shelly Duvall. Although a British production, the film was moderately successful in America. This lead to his next notable film role as Renaldo, the little person that befriends the Frankenstein monster, in the 1985 film The Bride. Shortly after Rappaport left England and set his sights on Hollywood, where he became a popular presence, making guest appearances in programs such as Hardcastle and McCormick, Hooperman and Mr. Belvedere.
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