Richard H. Goldwater, President/Co-Publisher of Archie Comics, passed away October 2, 2007, after a courageous battle with cancer. Richard’s father, John Goldwater, was the creator of “Archie Andrews” – America’s perennial teenage “everyman,” and his girlfriends “Betty Cooper” and “Veronica Lodge.” In 1941, John and his business partners, Louis Silberkleit and Maurice Coyne, founded MLJ, the company that later came to be known as Archie Comic Publications. Richard joined the Company after college and, after working his way up through the Company learning all facets of running a successful comic book publishing business, took the Company private together with his life-long friend, Louis’ son, Michael Silberkleit, Chairman/Co-Publisher.
As Editor-In-Chief, Richard strived to produce good, clean, wholesome comics suitable for family entertainment. Under Richard’s careful stewardship, millions of fans all over the world have grown up chuckling at the antics of “Archie” and his friends. He helped make the “bff” relationship between “Betty” and “Veronica” and the “Archie,” “Betty” and “Veronica” love triangle an integral part of American popular culture. Over the years, “Archie” and his friends have changed with the times and embraced current fads. They’ve gone from poodle skirts and sock hops to e-mail and in-line skating. But the age-old teenage issues of dating, crushes, school, homework, sports and parents that they struggle with have remained the same. Nowadays, “Archie” and his friends interact with fans online at ArchieComics.com.
When asked about the reason for “Archie’s” enduring appeal, Richard told the New York Times in 1973: “He’s basically a square, but in my opinion squares are the backbone of America. If we didn’t have squares, we wouldn’t have strong families.”
Richard worked tirelessly to make sure Riverdale was the kind of town you would want to live in. While the main characters have always been “Archie,” “Betty,” “Veronica,” “Jughead” and “Reggie,” Richard made sure that a diverse cast of ethnic characters were an integral part of Riverdale’s population. Just about everyone in America has at one time read an Archie Comic.
Richard was instrumental in the introduction of new properties, such as “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Josie and the Pussycats,” and in the diversification of the Archie Comics product line via the addition of licensed properties, such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Sonic the Hedgehog.” In each case, Richard ensured that the comic stories fit with the company’s strong family values. He took great satisfaction knowing that Archie Comics only produced comics with content that parents could trust to be appropriate for their children. Richard was instrumental in expanding the reach of Archie Comics beyond U.S. borders. Archie Comics have been translated from English into French, Spanish, German, Greek, Korean, Swedish, Danish, Russian, Vietnamese, Hindi and Arabic.
Richard also assisted Michael with efforts to expand Archie’s core characters into other mediums – including countless “Archie”, “Sabrina” and “Josie” animated television series, a long running live action “Sabrina” television series that has been seen in 34 different countries, a “Josie and the Pussycats” theatrical motion picture and “The Archies” musical group that had tremendous success in the 60’s and 70’s.
In commenting upon Richard’s passing, Michael said: “I am proud to know that my good friend Richard played a major role in bringing America’s favorite teenage humor characters into millions of American homes. I will miss him profoundly, both as a life-long friend and business partner.”
Victor Gorelick, Vice President/Managing Editor, said, “I worked with Richard for almost 50 years. He passed on his enthusiasm and love for the “Archie” characters to me. He was my boss and my friend. I’m going to miss him and our almost daily talks. While he would come into my office to go over cover ideas, story topics and editorial direction, we also enjoyed engaging in lively discussions about cars, food, boats and the good old days.”
Richard is survived by his three daughters, Lisa, Taylor and Summer. There will be a Memorial Service to celebrate Richard’s life on Wednesday, October 10th at Zion Memorial Chapel, 785 E. Boston Post Rd. Mamaroneck NY at 2PM (914-381-1809). In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to The Center for Hope, 590 Post Road, Darien, CT 06820 (203-655-4693).