His most prominent role was as the villain Cullen Crisp, Sr. in Kindergarten Cop co-starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also starred as high school bully Buddy Revell in the 1987 comedy Three O'Clock High. Tyson can also be seen in the Farrelly Brothers movies, Kingpin, Me, Myself & Irene and There's Something About Mary. The latter features Tyson as Detective Krevoy who questions (then attacks) Ben Stiller in a classic scene from the film.
Tyson was the co-star of the television series Hardball alongside actor John Ashton in the 1980s.
Tyson's recent films include The Fear Chamber, Richard III, Flight of the Living Dead (a film about a government-created virus that turns the dead into zombies being transported on a plane) in which he plays a Sky Marshal, No Bad Days starring Michael Madsen and the western Shoot First and Pray You Live also starring Jim Gaffiganand James Russo. He is also the lead in the horror film Big Bad Wolf, in which he plays a stepfather accused by his stepson of being a cruel and vicious werewolf.
One recent work is the film Jake's Corner in which he plays ex-football star Johnny Dunn who owns a small town called Jake's Corner. The film has been cited as Tyson's best work to date and also stars singer B. J. Thomas and actor Danny Trejo.
Richard Tyson's acting credits also include guest appearances on the TV shows CSI: NY, Boomtown, Martial Law as well as the films The Visitation, Moscow Heat, Liar's Poker and Black Hawk Down.