Not much was known of Dick's early life, except that he likely was born in New Hampshire. As a little boy he mentioned he could hold conversations with his paternal grandmother without either of them moving their lips. When he grew up he joined the US Army and was eventually assigned to be a cook for Easy Company, a New Hampshire-based unit. Dick Halloran parlayed his cooking skills for the rest of his life, where he partnered with other men in his unit into starting up The Black Spot, which was a nightclub that mainly catered to black soldiers. Later he would get a job at the Overlook Hotel, eventually becoming their head chef.
Dick was first introduced in The Shining, in which he worked as a cook at the Overlook Hotel. Like Danny Torrance, Dick possessed the gift called the Shining, and warned young Danny that the Overlook could be dangerous to those with the Shining. He later attempted to rescue the Torrance family after Jack Torrance became possessed by the hotel. Dick remained close to the remaining Torrances until well into Danny's teenage years.
In IT (Stephen King), Dick is mentioned as an Army cook and member of the African-American army nightclub in Derry, Maine called "The Black Spot", which was burned down by the Legion of White Decency (the Maine equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan) in 1930. Dick's Shining allowed him to save the lives of several other clubgoers, including Mike Hanlon's father. He is also notable for being one of the only sane adults able to see It in one of its varying forms.
Dick appears briefly in Tabitha King's novel Pearl, where he works with Pearl Dickinson as a chef at a restaurant in Key West. Pearl remembers Dick as an incredible cook who enjoyed stepping out with a number of good-looking women.
In Doctor Sleep, years after their last meeting, Dan Torrance once again sought the help of Hallorann in protecting Abra Stone from the clutches of the True Knot cult, only to discover that Dick Hallorann had died on January 19, 1999. Nevertheless, Hallorann managed to speak to Dan one last time from beyond the grave by briefly possessing the body of the late Eleanor Ouellette.