Richard Moll, the towering figure with a heart as grand as his height, most famed for his portrayal of the lovable bailiff Aristotle Nostradamus “Bull” Shannon on NBC’s hit sitcom 'Night Court', has passed away at the age of 80.
Moll’s demise was peaceful, occurring in the serenity of his Big Bear Lake residence in California, as confirmed by his publicist. Standing tall at 6-foot-8, Moll’s stature was nothing short of imposing, a trait that served him well in a variety of roles.
He shared the screen with notable personalities such as Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach in the 1981 comedy feature 'Caveman', where he portrayed an abominable snowman. His versatility shone through in 'House' (1986), where he embraced the haunting role of a decomposing Vietnam veteran.
Moll’s voice, distinct and resonant, made him a sought-after talent in voiceover work. He lent his vocal prowess to characters like the immortal bodyguard Norman in 'Mighty Max', and took on the role of Harvey Dent/Two-Face in three different Batman animated series.
Bald Head, Iconic Roles: Moll's Defining Look
Moll’s bald pate, a choice he made for a role in the 1983 sci-fi flick 'Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn', became one of his most defining features. This look played a crucial role when he auditioned for 'Night Court', a series masterminded by Reinhold Weege.
In a 2010 interview, he jovially recalled how the production team asked if he would keep his head shaved for the role, to which he replied, “Are you kidding? I’ll shave my legs for the part. I’ll shave my armpits, I don’t care”.
'Night Court' saw incredible success, garnering three Emmy nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series. Moll appeared in all but one of the 193 episodes that aired between 1984 and 1992, creating an iconic catchphrase—“Oooo-kay”—and sharing the screen with a stellar cast including Harry Anderson, John Larroquette, Charlie Robinson, and Markie Post.
However, Moll did not participate in the recent Night Court reboot led by Larroquette for the 2022-23 season. Born on January 13, 1943, in Pasadena, Charles Richard Moll was the son of a nurse and a lawyer. He pursued history and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1964.
His early professional life saw him working as a deputy probation officer in Alameda County and in ladies’ hosiery in San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles in 1968 to chase his acting dreams. Moll’s early acting gigs included a cannibal role in a Hertz commercial opposite Don Adams and portraying Joseph Smith in a 1977 Brigham Young biopic.
He soon found himself on popular TV shows like 'Welcome Back, Kotter', 'The Rockford Files', 'Happy Days', 'Laverne & Shirley', and 'Mork & Mindy' His filmography expanded with roles in 'Hard Country' (1981), 'American Pop' (1981), and appearances on TV series including 'The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo', 'B.J.
and the Bear', and 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century' Moll’s character Bull was initially envisioned as "very hard-edged," but as he revealed in a 2003 interview with People magazine, the producers decided to soften the character, creating a sweet bond between Bull and the female bailiffs on the show.
Beyond 'Night Court', Moll continued to make his mark, appearing on shows like 'Highlander', 'Babylon 5', 'Married... With Children', 'Anger Management', and films including 'The Flintstones' (1994), 'But I’m a Cheerleader' (1999), and 'Scary Movie 2' (2001).
He even played himself in a two-part episode of NBC’s 'The Facts of Life' and had a recurring role as The Drifter on Nickelodeon’s '100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd' (1999-2002). A nature enthusiast and avid bird watcher, Moll had been married and divorced twice.
He leaves behind his children, Chloe and Mason, his stepchildren Cassandra and Morgan, and a legacy filled with laughter and towering performances.