Richard, or "Richie" as he is nicknamed, comes from a poor family in Kansas. He is not shown going to school, instead working gainfully at Donut World. Despite the disadvantages Richie faces, he seems to have a good sense of humor and earnestness about life. He is the closest to the family matriarch, Florence Norris, who is his grandmother. He visits her in the retirement home often, whereas the other members of the Norris family have dismissed her as senile and dumped her in the old folks home. When the Martians first land and the Martian Ambassador makes a circular gesture, Richie comments to his boss at the donut shop that the Martians must like donuts, then chuckles. Trivia: It's implied that he is not in school because he probably graduated or dropped out, due to parents lack of funds.
Richie does not get along with his family and saved his grandmother in the retirement home when the Martians were about to kill her with a giant weapon. When he found that the Martians' doom is the song of Slim Whitman Indian Love Call,he uses this song to plant in all radio towers of the town,with the sound out loud and echoing through the globe,the Martians were killed.
Then he and Florence were decorated with honor medals of the USA and he developed a reciprocal passion with Taffy Dale. This is rather strange, considering that the Medal of Honor is only awarded to military personnel. However, since Richie and his grandmother allowed the lead the military in playing the song, they became de facto Generals. This might have been the reason why they both received the Medal. Another theory could be the fact that most of the military was killed by the Martians, and the generals are presumedoing dead or missing, this could also explain them getting the Medal of Honor.