Artist Ted Hartley paints tales and action in color.
As an actor, studio executive, producer, former U.S. Olympian, and Navy jet fighter pilot, Hartley’s storied life set against a backdrop of America at peace and war shape his paintings today.
Ted Hartley on painting: “It is about something. It is about something that moves you and looking for a way to integrate the search for authenticity and what is real, and the desire to express the stories, the deep convictions that run in your mind into colors and lines. It’s a wonderful trip.”
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Ted lost his father, an AT&T executive, when he was a young boy. After his passing, Ted’s mother worked as a teacher, developing special courses in public schools, raising Ted and his sister on her own. Ted was educated at Annapolis, Georgetown University, and Harvard Business School. He was a U.S. Olympic finalist in wrestling and Head of the International Relations section at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. As a Navy-carrier-based jet fighter pilot, he served in wide-ranging assignments around the world, including two years as a White House aide in the Kennedy-Eisenhower era. At 28, he suffered injuries from an aircraft accident and was forced into disability retirement as a Lieutenant Commander. As a civilian, he moved successively through several executive jobs, finally as Executive Vice President of First Western Financial Corporation. When a larger bank purchased that company, he decided to move out of banking and was in Los Angeles for a job interview. By a fluke, he was offered a continuing role in a dramatic television series, "Peyton Place," as the Reverend Jerry Bedford. That led to movies in co-star roles with Clint Eastwood, Cary Grant, Dean Martin, and Robert Redford. He starred as the lead in his own television series "Chopper One" on ABC. He had begun taking assignments in directing television commercials and producing smaller films when he seized the opportunity to become a stockholder in RKO Pictures Corporation, a historic, now independent production studio. Ultimately, he took over as CEO. There he has produced a dozen films and and several television movies. He expanded RKO into Broadway. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars) and is a Tony voter. Ted Hartley is active on several corporate and charity boards. He is the former Chairman of ORBIS International, which prevents and treats blindness worldwide through its flying eye-hospital program. Hartley is a founding director of the Steadman Philippon Research Institute (for sports injuries). He serves on the board of the Village Preservation Society of East Hampton. Hartley has one son and two grandsons. His late wife was famed actress Dina Merrill. More than a decade ago, Dina was entering into what would be a long period of declining health. Ted, looking for ways to keep her active emotionally and mentally, initiated twice-a-week art classes in their home, inviting Dina's friends to join. His fellow art group members encouraged his work, which led to painting, which has become a significant force in his creative life today