HOLLYWOOD (UPI) -- Gary Cooper once said Hollywood acting was like riding a streetcar; every time a newcomer climbed aboard an old-timer was pushed off the back.
Ninety-nine percent of the time Cooper was right.
An exception is Peter Mark Richman whose versatility as actor, writer, director, painter, producer and novelist has kept him aboard the Tinseltown trolley for almost 50 years.
"Perhaps it's because I've never been a 'Movie Star,'" Richman said this week.
You may remember him for his performances in "Friendly Persuasion," "The Black Orchid," "For Singles Only" or perhaps "Naked Gun 2 1/2."
Maybe his TV series, "Santa Barbara," "Dynasty" (for years), "Longstreet" or "Three's Company" as Chrissy's father.
Richman is the tall, slender dude who makes his presence felt in every scene he's ever played from horse operas to drama to farce.
He has many backgrounds to call on, including two years as a professional football player in the Pennsylvania league's Eastern Pro Conference.
He was sidelined permanently after blowing out a knee. He became a pharmacist and managed a Rosemont, Pa., drugstore for a year.
Thereafter he moved to New York City, attended the Actors Studio and began acting in stage productions and TV shows before leaving for Hollywood in 1954.
Richman currently makes his home in the San Fernando Valley where he has lived for many years, painting and writing in his studio.
He has had two books published, a novel titled "Hollander's Deal" and a book of short stories, "The Rebirth of Ira Masters." He is a serious and accomplished painter who has had 17 one-man exhibitions with many of his oil-on-canvas portraits selling for $10,000 each.
Acting is only the tip of Richman's astonishing creativity.
He managed to combine his aesthetic capacities with a stunning one-man stage play "4 Faces," which has been adapted for the screen but has yet to be released.
The film involves four different stories about four distinctly different individuals.
Face #1 is Harlan Gregory, a Southern fundamentalist pastor delivering a Sunday sermon after being informed he is suspected of trifling with some female congregants.
Face #2 is Carlo, a father revealing his difficult ordeal about his son to a drug intervention group.
Face #3 is Gerhardt, a former Nazi SS officer living in South America where he is visited by his grandson.
Face #4 is Daniel, an 83-year-old holocaust survivor revealing his philosophy to a young man.
His performances in the film have won plaudits from several actors including Karl Malden, Jack Klugman ("I've never been more impressed"), Theodore Bikel ("Remarkably talented actor") and Eli Wallach ("It's magical ... leaves you spellbound with four character portrayals").
Fellow actor Martin Landau: "Each of the four characters portrayed by this gifted actor appears as a complete and unique human being ... It is remarkable."
"This isn't a typical Hollywood movie," Richman said. "We're looking for an opportunity to release the film for the right audience out there today.
"I'm immersed in painting right now, including some computer art I've done on flowers that I find fascinating.
"I manage to keep busy, Helen and I have been married for 48 years. We have five children and five grandchildren.
"In addition to '4 Faces' I've done the movie 'Pool Hall Junkies,' an independent film that will soon be released.
"Acting is an important part of my life but so is my art work and writing. It's all involved with the creative surges that come over me.
"I can't say it's an inherited trait because neither of my parents were particularly creative, but our daughter, Kelly, and our four sons are all actors, writers or musicians. So there may be some truth to the notion that creativity runs in certain families.
"I particularly enjoyed writing and producing '4 Faces' because I hired so many veteran actors and key technical people who have worked in the industry for many years.
'Ted Post is my director and co-producer. Our cinematographer is Isidore Mankofsky, the art director is John Senter and Debra Light was our editor. I'm proud and happy to say my son, Lucas, composed, scored and conducted the music.
"I hired many seniors with 50 years of experience for the acting roles. Some of them were 80-years-old and over.
"I'm senior chairman of the Screen Actors Guild, which led to the SAG sponsoring a party highlighting the fact that I'd hired so many seniors in making this picture.
"I'm not sure I will find a theatrical release for it because today's market is very tough for films that aren't made primarily for young moviegoers.
"It's very serious, literate material so its appeal is for more mature audiences."
Of all his activities, Richman is convinced the most rewarding elements of his life are his marriage, his children and grandchildren. And he's still riding the Tinseltown trolley.