"You punched me in the face, you made me walk through shitty water, brought me to a fucking crackhead house and now... I'm gonna have to kill this fucking clown. Welcome to The Losers' Club, asshole!"
As a child, his closest friends were Bill Denbrough, Eddie Kaspbrak, Beverly Marsh, Stan Uris, Mike Hanlon, and Ben Hanscom, with Bill Denbrough being his best friend. Like the others in the Losers' Club, he looked up to Bill and was cited as the one who 'understood Bill better than anyone'. He also thought Beverly was pretty, but perceived her as if she was the same as any other friend. He often teases the other Losers, especially Eddie and Bill, though it's generally mutual banter with Bill while he pokes fun at Eddie by referring to him as 'Eds' and 'cute'. In the 2017 adaption, Richie is shown as the only one attending Stan’s bar mitzvah. In the novel, it's speculated that Richie has ADHD 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 good grades besides the grades in behavior. At some point in the book, Richie accidentally insults Henry Bowers and his gang out loud, resulting in him getting chased and almost beaten.
Richie is known for his hobby of doing Voices and impersonations, although when he is younger most of them were awful and sounded the same.
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. 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 he 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 occasion, 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, Beverly's abusive father and so on).
It is popular fan theory 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 was pure speculation based on his hyperactivity and what was percieved as dangerously low weight on his missing poster. With the bonus feature release of Richie's funeral pamphlet as shown in the 2019 film, it can be regarded with somewhat more validity: the obituary reads "Richard was an awkward-looking child, and his parents regarded him with both shame and disappointment. Their contempt for him only intensified during Richard's adolescence". This could be fact, or Pennywise feeding Richies fears about the situation.
One of Richie’s greatest fears, other than clowns and werewolves, seems to be going missing (i.e; the missing poster). It was already proven earlier that the children of Derry were forgotten weeks (or possibly days) after they disappear, and he seems to fear that he, too, will be forgotten if he were to go missing, though he could simply be afraid of the implications that going missing meant he would die.
Richie and Beverly Meet
One day, Richie was walking to the Aladdin movie theater to watch movies with Ben Hanscom. While he was trying to teach himself how to use a yo-yo, he spotted Beverly Marsh. He didn't have a crush on her but he thought she was pretty and tough, so he went up to her and they got along instantly. He invited her to the movies and she joked about his invitation being a date. Richie started to feel weird and flustered, which was unlike him. Beverly jokes that he isn't a very romantic person. He manages to joke his way out of his discomfort and they meet Ben at the Aladdin Theater.
While in the theater, Ben, Bev, and Richie noticed the Bowers gang sitting in front of them. When the movies were over the Bowers gang saw the three of them and they decided to go out an alternate exit in order to get away from the bullies. Unfortunately, they got caught by the Bowers gang and Beverly tried to defend her friends, but they still got beaten up.
Speculation of Richie's sexuality
Richie is heterosexual in the book and has a relationship with a woman named Sandy, for whom he got a vasectomy before their relationship ended. It was speculated by some fans that he was gay or bisexual in the remake, and has recently been given further speculation by director Andras Muschietti's interpretation of portraying him as gay/bi in, and only in IT: Chapter Two (film). It was suggested in the 2019 movie that Richie has feelings for Stanley, as Richie is the most distraught of all the Losers when he dies and is seen at the end carving their initials in the Kissing Bridge, which he did for the first time when they were children. Stephen King has firmly stated that he did not intend for the character to be gay, but was okay with the interpretation and what it added to the story.
Encounters with It
Richie had his personal encounter with It after running away from the Bowers gang in Freese's Department Store. Catching his breath on a bench in the city center near the giant Paul Bunyan statue, he is alarmed as it comes alive, steps off its podium, and swings its giant axe at him, smashing the bench. He runs and turns around to find the statue back on its podium and the bench intact. Because he was so exhausted from running, he thought it was a dream and did not tell the others about it when they were all confessing their own encounters. In the 2019 film, he is recovering on the bench from being run out of the arcade because the Bowers gang felt he had been hitting on Henry Bowers' cousin. As an adult in 2016, he remembers this as he sees It atop the statue, taunting him for his 'Dirty Little Secret', asking him to play truth or dare, and having his see the townspeople singing along with It. Adrian Mellon passes by, giving him an invitation to his own funeral service.
Another encounter that Richie has with It as a child 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 to show him. 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 hit him for the first time in his life. He began 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 instinctively reaches for the page when IT pops up as a clown version of Georgie Denbrough and it's only Richie's quick intervention that prevents him from serious harm. Luckily, Bill only comes away 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. 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 managed to help Bill get free and threw a packet of sneezing powder at the werewolf's face, which momentarily incapacitated it. It pursued them, and Bill rescued Richie in return, pulling him out of the way before the beast could tear out his throat. They managed to get on Silver (Bill's bike) and flee, but Richie still got struck by the werewolf's paw above his eyes. After regaining consciousness, they collapsed into each other's arms and cried.
In the 2017 movie adaptation, It lured Richie into a room by taking the form of Eddie Kaspbrak. The room was filled with clowns, which in the movie were Richie’s biggest fear. Inside, he found a coffin containing a doll of him, decaying and crawling with maggots. The lid showed him his missing poster and had “Found” written on it. He quickly shut 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 screamed and ran as Bill opened the door, and they managed to escape the room.
As an adult, he is a famous radio DJ, going by Rich "Records" Tozier living in Beverly Hills. Richie had several failed relationships but had never gotten married. The voices that he constantly practiced 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. Once returning to Derry, however, his contacts begin to sting and he has to return to using his glasses.
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 Chüd 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 an eternity of suffering in Its deadlights to enter the Macroverse with Bill and tear him free of It's grip, persisting even when Bill insists he saves himself. While they're in there, Eddie hears Richie shout for help in his mind and uses his aspirator as he had when they were kids, weakening it but inadvertently putting his arm deep in It's mouth.
Eddie's arm ends up bitten clean off and Richie rushes to him, shouting in alarm while Beverly tries to staunch the blood with her blouse. He drops to his hands and knees when Eddie says his name and Eddie touches Richie's cheek with his hand and tells him, for the last time, not to call him "Eds" as he always had.
After realizing It is getting away, Richie and Bill start a pursuit and strike the final blow against It together, after which Richie is knocked out and Bill weeps over his inert body, convinced that Richie is dead. Eventually, Richie awakens, however, and assures everyone that he is alright.
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 Beverly realizes they're going to die if they don't leave the body, and Ben assures Richie that it was where Eddie was 'supposed to be' and Richie kisses Eddie on the cheek before following the Losers out.
After these events, Richie remains in Derry with Bill for a few days before flying back to California, where he steadily starts to forget the Losers and what they had accomplished.
Richie is shown to be a stand-up comedian and gets Mike's call to come back to Derry just before going on stage. He vomits, and on stage forgets his set. He appears to go by Richie "Trashmouth" Tozier, but it maybe is memory resurfacing causing him to say Trashmouth and forget the punchline. He also reveals he doesn't write all his own material later, after not recognizing a line from a fan and thinking the child was Pennywise taunting them. The 'token' he must recover for the Ritual of Chüd is a literal arcade token. It doesn't appear that this version of Richie ever got contacts, or fears blindness, though the eye still appears as his fortune cookie.
In the library, he uses a preserved historic ax on display to kill Henry Bowers and save Mike. He vomits despite trying to make a hilarious joke.
After the Ritual of Chüd and the Losers are separated, he and Eddie face the three 'Not Scary,' 'Scary,' and 'Very Scary' doors he and Bill faced in the Neibolt House in Chapter One. They first open the 'Very Scary' door, revealing a closet, a girl asking where he shoe is, and the waist down walking out – paralleling Richie and Bill seeing just her amputated upper body in the first film. They then open 'Not Scary' to see a small Pomeranian in a hallway, which grows into a monstrous form.
Richie, approaching It, asking it to play truth or dare and telling It the truth is "You're a sloppy bitch!" and throwing rocks at it. He is then caught in its Deadlights. This motivates Eddie to use the spear given to him and strike a serious blow on It, saving Richie from the Deadlights. Eddie is killed by one of Its legs as he stands over Richie. Richie stays with Eddie's dead body, in denial, for some time as the other Losers try to follow Eddies' advice to make It small. Eventually, he joins them to defeat It. Beverly is needed to convince Richie that Eddie is dead, and they have no way of taking him out of Its lair. Later, as they wash in the quarry, the Losers comfort him over the loss, and he later returns to the kissing bridge to recarve his and Eddie's initials.
Appearance in 11/22/63
Richie briefly appears in the novel 11/22/63 a few months after the events of IT. Sometime in October, when the main character Jake Epping arrives in Derry, he sees Richie dancing with Beverly at around a picnic area not too far away from the Barrens. Jake (using the alias George Amberson) asks the two if they know about the Dunning children to prevent the Dunning family murders. 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. Their meeting does eventually become erased when Jake removes his mark on the past at the end of the novel.
- "“Don’t open that again!” Richie cried, grabbing frantically at Bill’s shoulder. “Jesus Christ, Billy, you almost lost your fingers!”"
- ―Richie to Bill
- "The kid in you just leaked out, like the air out of a tire. And one day you looked in the mirror and there was a grownup looking back at you"
- "Richie offered a large, sincere smile. “Thank you, Bill, for those words of support. The word ‘fuck’ was used two hundred and six times in your last book. I counted.”"
- ―Richie to Bill
- "That's cause they know how cute you are, Eds - just like me. I saw what a cutie you were the first time I met you"
- ―Richie to Eddie
- "“I keep trying, Big Bill,” Richie said. “I feel like, if I get good enough, someday I’ll earn your love.” He made dainty kissing gestures at the air. Bill shot him the finger."
- ―Richie to Bill
- "And there was something else: Bill was good. It was stupid to think such a thing (he did not, in fact, precisely think it; he felt it), but there it was. Goodness and strength seemed to radiate from Bill. He was like a knight in an old movie, a movie that was corny but still had the power to make you cry and cheer and clap at the end. Strong and good."
- ―Richie about Bill
- "Bill was here, and Bill would take care; Bill would not let things get out of control. He was the tallest of them, and surely the most handsome."
- ―Richie about Bill
- "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
- "Doesn't smell like caca to me, señor!"
- ―Richie, in his Pancho Vanilla voice to Eddie
- ""It's probably just your breath wafting back to your face.""
- ―Richie to Eddie
- "Wait, can only virgins see this stuff? Is that why I’m not seeing this shit?"
- ―Richie about the Losers experiences with It
- "Welcome to the Losers' Club, asshole!"
- ―Richie to IT
- "ROCK WAR!!"
- ―Richie before getting hit in the face by a rock
- "And look at this motherfucker! He's leaking Hamburger Helper!"
- ―Richie about Ben
- "I hear the list is longer than my wang!"
- ―Richie to the other losers, referencing rumors of Beverly's promiscuity.
- "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 Neibolt House for the first time.
- "I guess you could say that was long overdue. Get it, cause we're in a library?"
- ―Richie to Mike after killing Henry Bowers
- Raised Catholic, and though as a child he's just as ready to make fun of his own religion as he is Stan's, he scoffs at the idea of eating meat on Fridays. However, earlier at one point he is briefly mentioned to be Methodist.
- He tends to throw up after traumatic events. (2019 film)
- The axe he uses to kill Henry Bowers in the 2019 movie may be Claude Heroux's, or a call back to the slaughter at the Sleepy Silver Dollar
- Chapter 11 "Walking Tours" section 4 refers to Richie being 10 years old by May 13th, 1957, implying that he was born in late 1946 or early 1947 .
- See the Missing Poster image for his birthdate.