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Richard (Tricky Dicky) Francis Hyland


He was born on 26th July 1900 in San Francisco , California , the son of Francis William Hyland and Ellen Loretta (nee Swett). He was educated at Stanford University .



Above Dick Hyland at Stanford University in 1924


The immodest Hyland once said when an American sportswriter compared him to the great athlete Jim Thorpe, his response was, “Hell, Thorpe never had my swerve!”


Above: Hyland carrying the ball in a rugby match between Reds and Blues which determined the USA squad for the 1924 Olympics.


Above postcard from the 1924 Olympics


He played rugby twice for the USA in the 1924 Olympics against Romania (won 37-0) and in the final against France .


Above the USA squad training in England before Olympic Games in Paris . Photo taken at Plymouth Rugby Club. Back Row (L-R): Sam Goodman (Manager), Valentine, Cashel, Williams, B, Slater (Cpt), Farish, Clark, Patrick, N. Slater, DeGroot, Charles Austin (Coach) Middle Row: Graff, Turkington, Deveraux, Mannelli, Doe, Cunningham, Dixon . Front Row: Rogers, Hyland, Hunter, O'Neill, Cleveland, Muldoon, Scholz.


Above Hyland (with ball) playing American Football for Stanford in 1925

Above Hyland (with ball) playing American Football for Stanford in 1925



He married American journalist, novelist, and screenwriter Adela Rogers St. Johns a week after her divorce from her first husband. She cited in the divorce charges her husband’s cruelty. She declared at the hearing that her husband’s constant nagging interfered with her writing.


Above Adela Rogers St. Johns


They had a son Richard Frank Hyland. He used the name. Richard Rogers St. Johns. He planned to follow the career of his famous grandfather, Earl Rogers into the law.  Richard was a Stanford University law student on June 13, 1952 when he married Joan Long of Cheviot Hills at the Westwood’s Community Methodist Church ; later he became a film producer’

His marriage to Adela ended in 1935. Dick alleged the Adela was an improper mother because she used improper language around their son and tried to “destroy his love for his father.” 

He became a sports writer on the Los Angeles Times.

Dick Hyland had an extraordinary resemblance to George Raft. On a visit to New York a fan of George Raft, asked Dick, “Will you autograph this picture, Mr. Raft?” Dick explained he wasn’t Raft but that George Raft was standing over in another corner of the room.  The fan looked over at Raft and than turned back to Dick, saying, “You can’t fool me!  If you won’t sign this you’re just an impossible old meanie and I’ll never go to one of your pictures again.”

Dick scribbled on her picture, “With the best wishes of George Raft – per Richard Hyland.”

Dick died on 16th July 1981 in Wawona , California , United States when he had a heart attack in his sleep after a pro-am golf tournament..

Adela died on 10th August 1988 at a nursing home in Arroyo Grande, California .

His son, Richard St. Johns, died on 28th October 2006. He was an exec, producer and one of the founders of SBS Broadcasting. He was 77. St. Johns was born in Los Angeles in 1929. After graduating from Stanford Law School , he joined the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers and became a partner in 1963.  He left in 1968 to join Film ways, where he was president and chief operating officer until 1972. In 1975, he founded the Film Financing Group, and subsequently founded PSO.



The life of Adela Rogers St. John

Dick Hyland and the 1924 Olympics


© Patrick Casey, 2011
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