This may make some of you feel a bit aged but believe it or not, actress Denise Richards has been in the movie business for over 30 years now. Yes, Richards, who first opened eyes on the big screen as Carmen Ibanez in the sci-fi classic Starship Troopers, has been doing it for three decades and counting.
For the first three years of Denise Richards’ acting career, it was all television. She began her career on Life Goes On before moving on to other series such as Saved by the Bell, Married…with Children, Doogie Howser, M.D., Beverly Hills, 90210, and Seinfeld. Her first role on the big screen came in a bit part in the Lethal Weapon spoof, Loaded Weapon, a movie which was led by Emilio Estevez and Samuel L. Jackson.
That stint in features didn’t last long as she returned to television in shows like Bodies of Evidence, In Living Color, Against the Grain, and Burke’s Law.
DENISE RICHARDS JOINS A SCI-FI CLASSIC
Denise Richards was beginning to see more action in feature films, though her roles were not large. She also continued to work television until she got her first wide theatrical release when she signed on for the science fiction space adventure and cult classic, Starship Troopers. In it, Richards played Carmen Ibanez, girlfriend to Casper Van Dien’s Johnny Rico. When Earth is attacked by Arachnids, Carmen and Johnny join the United Citizen Federation to do their part and help battle the bugs.
While Richards didn’t shed a layer of clothing, as did many of the other young stars, her role was quite noticeable, though audiences probably were not ready for what was to come next.
Denise Richards’s very next role came in the erotic thriller, Wild Things. For her entire early career, Richards mainly played the “good girl” so her role in Wild Things was a definite departure, giving way to one of the more controversial scenes in the movie. A swimming pool make-out session with fellow actress Neve Campbell. Of course, there was also their famous motel room three-way the two gals had with co-star Matt Dillon.
For Denise Richards part, her nudity in the film was negotiated by her lawyer at the time down to the very last detail. It was also said that in those negotiations if Richards didn’t feel comfortable performing those scenes that she could have asked for a body double. Richards put her fears aside after going to Campbell’s trailer and downing an entire pitcher of margaritas. It was on, and then it was off.
After taking it all off in Wild Things, Denise Richards kept it on for her next film, the totally underrated comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous. But what was becoming apparent with Richards was that she was beginning to relish the role of the bad girl. In the beauty pageant mockumentary Drop Dead Gorgeous, Richards played spoiled high school Becky Ann Leeman, who was entering a small-town beauty pageant going against rival Kirsten Dunst. Richards played her part to snobby, spoiled, nasty, comic perfection.
With her newfound popularity, Denise Richards next found herself in the James Bond movie, The World is Not Enough. She showed up in the underrated horror film Valentine, an episode of Friends, and then she fell into Charlie Sheen’s web of craziness.
In 2001, Richards met Sheen on the set of Spin City when Sheen took over for the ailing Michael J. Fox. She played Sheen’s girlfriend on the show, something that played out in real-time as the two first started dating, then engaged, before finally marrying on June 15, 2002.
Their relationship was tumultuous from the start, though the ex-couple has two children together. The legalities of their relationship, divorce, and child custody lasted 10 years before Richards and Sheen would find common ground. Their marriage, though, only lasted four.
In another strange affair concerning both Richards and Sheen, Richards was awarded temporary custody of Sheen’s twins, who were born in 2009 to Sheen and his then-wife Brooke Mueller, for what Child Protective Services called an unsafe environment due to Mueller’s drug use.
DENISE RICHARDS IS STILL WORKING
During her ill-fated marriage to Sheen, Denise Richards continued to work. She co-starred with Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Luke Wilson in the unfunny The Third Wheel and found parts on movies such as Scary Movie 3 and the rom-com Love Actually. She continued to make poor decisions by starring in movies like The Life, Blonde and Blonder, and Deep in the Valley. Her movie career, like her personal life, was becoming a bit of a circus sideshow.
DENISE RICHARDS HEADS BACK TO TV
Over the past decade or so, Denise Richards has tried to reinvent herself. She has spent a lot of time on TV series’ trying to show she has fully moved on from her life with Charlie Sheen. She’s been on series such as Blue Mountain State, Twisted, Significant Mother, and Vanity. Lately, Richards has been seen on the daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. She also has two upcoming series Paper Empire and Glow & Darkness.
With all their sordid history, Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen put things behind them as Richards found time on Sheen’s sitcom Anger Management. The series was based loosely on the 2003 Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson feature film of the same name. Richards only appeared in two episodes, but they were significant in the fact that she and Sheen were finally getting along.
Though Denise Richards has spent much time on the small screen, she also has found time to work on the occasional feature film. Most films are of the B-movie variety and include American Violence, American Satan, The Toybox, Destined to Ride, 1st Born, and Switched.
Where the 50-year-old Denise Richards takes her career is anyone’s guess. She continues to hit the occasional B-movie while also finding a TV series or two to appear on.
Up next for Denise Richards is the series FraXtur and Happy Hazel. Richards will also be seen in the features (more likely direct-to-video) Love Accidentally, Saturday at the Starlight, and Among the Ashes. It’s probably not where Richards envisioned herself after her career took off, but it’s work and in Hollywood, that’s a good thing.