As a child, his best friends were (William) Bill Denbrough, Eddie "Spaghetti" Kaspbrak, Stan "the Man" Uris. He was also best friends with Beverly Marsh, Mike Hanlon, and Ben Hanscom. Like the others in the Losers' Club, he looked up to Bill, and he was cited as the one who 'understood Bill better than anyone'. He also thought Beverly was pretty, but only perceived her as if she was the same as any other male friend. He also often teases the other Losers, especially Eddie, calling him "Eds" and "cute" against his protests. He also was good friends with Stan, the both being close before the making of the Losers Club. In the 2017 adaption, Richie is shown as the only one attending Stan’s bar mitzvah. In the novel, it can be assumed that Richie suffers from Tourette syndrome as he is described to not have much control of the things he says or when he says them. However, his hyperactivity seems to have been toned down in the 2017 adaptation.
He wore thick black glasses and had huge front buck teeth which earned him the name "Bucky Beaver" by others in his school, though he was later dubbed "Trashmouth" by the Losers due to his foul language and loud mouth that often got him into trouble. He hated wearing the glasses, but found comfort in that one of his idols, Buddy Holly, was famous and also wore thick glasses. The other Losers often used the phrase "Beep-beep" whenever they needed to silence him. Although Richie misbehaved a lot in school, he received straight high marks in school besides his grades in behaviour. Before Richie joined the Losers' Club, Bill noted seeing him insulting Henry Bowers and his gang, resulting in him getting chased and almost beaten. It mentions to Richie in 1985 that It could give him a brain tumor just by pointing at him, and quickly remarks, "although I'm sure some people would say that would only be adding to what was already there," implying that Richie has a brain tumor (though It could be referring to Richie's comedy and how his friends react to it).
Richie is known for his hobby of doing Voices and impersonations, although when he is younger most of them were awful and sounded much like himself. As an adult, Richie is known as the Man of 1000 Voices.
Richie is shown to have had a positive upbringing. Richie's father, Wentworth, was an intelligent man with a career in dentistry who would happily indulge Richie's interest in 'voices', going so far as to use some of his son's phrases himself. Richie knew how to read his parents like 'well-worn and well-loved' books and would often engage his father in playful bartering to get extra allowance. While Richie's father did regard his son as a little silly, it's made clear that he cares about him and loves him dearly. Richie's mother, Maggie, was kind and attempted to understand her son, but experienced some difficulty due to Richie's gender. She goes so far as to wish Richie had been born a girl so she would be able to better understand some of the things he does, demonstrating her desire to be a good mother to him. While Richie's parents may falter on occassion, it is never nearly as severe as the other parents of Derry, who demonstrate great neglect and abuse toward their children (i.e. Eddie's overbearing, isolating, and manipulative mother; Bill's negligent parents, who leave him traumatized well into adulthood, and so on).
It is popular fanon that that Richie’s family isn’t so kind in the 2017 remake. Many theorize that Richie’s family has the tendency to neglect him, though this is pure speculation based on his boisterous personality. Some also suggest he may have ADHD or Tourette syndrome.
One of Richie’s greatest fears, other than clowns, seems to be going missing (i.e; the missing poster). It was already proven earlier that the children of Derry were forgotten weeks (possibly days) after they disappear, and he seems to fear that he, too, will be forgotten if he were to go missing. However, as with the abusive parents, this is speculation and is not confirmed in the movie, as it is just as likely he was simply afraid of the implications of the missing poster. Which is to say, he thought he was going to die.
Richie and Beverly's Date
Despite not feeling attracted to Beverly, Richie took her on her first date, going to the movies. They were accompanied by Ben, who felt jealous of Richie (which is strange, as Stanley takes Beverly on her second date, to the laundromat, yet Ben wasn't jealous of Stanley). On the date with Beverly, Richie feels weird and flustered, and Beverly remarks that he isn't a romantic person. When Beverly asked if the event was to be considered a date, Richie felt confused.
The Smoke Hole Richie and Mike Hanlon were the only two who were able to survive Ben Hanscom's smoke hole, witnessing the coming of It to the earth thousands of years ago.
Encounter with It
Richie had his personal encounter with It after running away from Henry and the other bullies. He rested on a bench, tired from running from the group when the Paul Bunyan statue near him came to life and began to chase and attack him. However, unlike the other Losers and their encounters with It, along with Stan, Richie did not believe that what he had witnessed was real. He believed it was a dream, and did not tell the others about it when they were all confessing their own encounters.
Another encounter that Richie has with It is after Bill tells the Losers what he had seen when he had opened Georgie's photo album, how it had bled and how Georgie had winked at him. Richie told Bill that he wanted to see it for himself, and reluctantly Bill agreed. Before this encounter, Richie had not taken It or even the concept of death seriously-- perhaps he had not thought about it at all. However, after stepping into Georgie's room, the reality of death hits him for the first time in his life. He begins to understand that anyone could die at any time or at any age, which causes him to panic. When he and Bill finally open the book, they witness an image of Derry many years ago, and they see boys that look identical to themselves in the picture as well. Bill accidentally touches the page and his fingers nearly go into the picture. When he pulls them out, they are covered with deep cuts. This is truly the first time Richie understands the reality of It.
Later, Richie goes with Bill into the house on Neibolt Street, the one where Eddie saw his encounter with it (the leper). In the house, he sees It take form as the Teenage Werewolf from the movie I Was a Teenage Werewolf that he had seen at the Aladdin Movie Theater days before. The Werewolf was wearing a varsity jacket with "Richie Tozier" embroidered on the chest pocket. After the werewolf gets a hold of Bill, Richie manages to wrench Bill free and throw a packet of sneezing powder at its face, which momentarily incapacitates it. It pursues them, and Bill rescues Richie in turn, pulling him out of the way before the beast can tear out his throat. They manage to get on Silver and flee, and Richie gets struck by the werewolf's paw above his eyes. After regaining consciousness, they collapse into each other's arms and cry.
In the 2017 movie adaptation, It lures Richie into a room by taking the form of Eddie Kaspbrak. The room is filled with clowns, which in the movie, are Richie’s biggest fear. Inside, he finds a coffin containing a doll of him, decaying and complete with maggots. On the lid, it shows his missing poster and written in blood is, “Found”. He quickly shuts the coffin, prompting Pennywise to leap out of it, saying “Beep Beep Richie”, a phrase from the book used by the losers to shut him up. He screams and runs, as Bill Denbrough opens the door, and they manage to escape the room.
Richie makes a brief appearance later that summer in 11/22/63. He and Beverly are dancing the "Hellzapoppin" in a picnic area, practicing for a talent show, when they are approached by the time-travelling Jake Epping. He enquires about the Dunning family, dropping some small hints about the nature of his task, which the two take for being of the same supernatural nature of things they had experienced. Afterwards, he teaches them the right way to dance, and leaves them both. It is assumed in their original timeline that they danced uninterrupted.
As an adult, he is a famous radio DJ, going by Rich "Records" Tozier living in Beverly Hills. Richie had several failed relationships with women but had never gotten married. The voices that he constantly practised as a kid improved greatly and became highly revered and loved, making a lot of money off the notoriety of his comedic voices. He began wearing contact lenses as an adult as well.
Along with the other Losers, he returns to Derry after receiving a phone call from Mike Hanlon alerting him that It had returned. They all go into the sewers and Bill performs the Ritual of Chud as he did as a kid, to put a stop to It once and for all. When Bill's grip on It falters, Richie risks his life to enter the macroverse with Bill and tears him free of Its grip. They end up striking the final blow against It together, after which Richie is knocked out and Bill weeps over his inert body, convinced that Richie is dead. It is only after carrying Richie to the others that Richie regains consciousness and assures them that he is alright.
Before the final fight, Eddie loses his arm and dies. Richie has the most difficult time dealing with Eddie's death since they were so close. Richie is the last person Eddie talks to before dying, stroking Richie's face with his hand and telling him, for the last time, not to call him "Eds" as he always had. At first, both Beverly and Richie refuse to leave his body in the sewers, insisting it was too dark and Eddie would not want to stay down there. After Bill assures him that it was where Eddie was 'supposed to be', he kisses Eddie on the cheek before leaving.
After these events, Richie remains in Derry with Bill and Mike for a few days before flying back to California, where he steadily starts to forget the Losers and what they had accomplished.
Appearance in 11/22/63
Richie briefly appears in the novel 11/22/63 as well, when the main character Jake Epping arrives in Derry and sees him dancing with Beverly. Jake (using the alias George Amberson) asks the two if they know about the Dunning children. He notices the special relationship they have: not romantic, but that of two friends that had gone through a lot together. He notes they were the only thing that felt good about Derry and helps them practice dancing.
- "I didn't hear that! I didn't!"
- "Richie Tozier's the name, and doing voices is my game."
- "Well I can't help you there, pal."
- ―Richie to Eddie
- "Help! Down in the basement! There's a werewolf."
- "Oh, come on! Not the Paramount, you slimeballs! Where are the people of this city supposed to get their culture?!"
- "That's him. That's him!"
- ―Richie to the other losers
- " They'd just laugh their heads off and put us in a nuthatch."
- ―Richie to the other losers
- "What the fuck?! Holy shit, we just got shown up by a girl!"
- -Richie to the boys of the group after Beverly jumps off the cliff before them
- "I'm glad I got to meet you before you died,"
- -Richie to Ben after he escaped Bowers gang
- "She hot?"
- -Richie asking Stan about the woman he keeps seeing
- "[In his Pancho Vanilla voice] Doesn't smell like caca to me, señor!"
- ―Richie to Eddie
- ""It's probably your breath wafting back to your face.""
- ―Richie to Eddie
- "Holy shit! What happened to you?!"
- ―Richie to Ben after escaped from Bowers
- "What the hell's gray water?"
- ―Richie to Eddie.
- "Wait, can only virgins see this stuff? Is that why I’m not seeing this shit?"
- ―Richie to the Losers'.
- "News flash, Ben, School's Out for Summer."
- ―Richie to Ben.
- "Why is it all murders and missing kids?"
- ―Richie to Ben about Derry
- "You got that right."
- ―Richie to Mike about the Losers' club are afraid of something
- ―Richie reveal his phobia to the Losers.
- "WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?! WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!!"
- ―Richie to Eddie seeing IT in the projector
- "Welcome to the Losers' Club, asshole!"
- ―Richie to IT
- "You mean that creepy ass house where all the junkies and hobos like to sleep?"
- ―Richie to the Losers' Club about the Well House
- "And look at this motherfucker! He's leaking Hamburger Helper!"
- ―Richie to Billy.
- " Best feeling ever."
- ― Stanley to the Losers’
- "I hear the list is longer than my wang."
- ―Richie to the other losers, refrencing Beverly.
- "Oh Yeah? Try tickling your pickle for the first time."
- ―Richie to Stanley.
- "I can't believe I pulled the short straw. You guys are lucky you're not measuring dicks."
- ―Richie to Bill and Eddie when entering the Crack House for the first time.