|Height:||183 cm (6' 1'')|
|Birth Day:||October 1, 1928|
|Death Date:||May 8, 1994 (age 65)|
|Birth Place:||Detroit, United States|
|#1||Elizabeth Ashley||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||81||Actor|
As per our current Database, George Peppard died on May 8, 1994 (age 65).
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|183 cm (6' 1'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
He studied civil engineering while at Purdue University and later transferred to what would become Carnegie Mellon University.
George Peppard, Jr. was born October 1, 1928, in Detroit, Michigan, the son of building contractor George Peppard, Sr. and opera singer and voice teacher Vernelle Rohrer. His mother had five miscarriages before George. His family lost all its money in the Depression, and his father had to leave George and his mother in Detroit while he went looking for work. He graduated from Dearborn High School in Dearborn, Michigan in 1946.
Peppard enlisted in the United States Marine Corps July 8, 1946, and rose to the rank of corporal, leaving the Corps at the end of his enlistment in January 1948.
During 1948 and 1949, he studied civil engineering at Purdue University where he was a member of the Purdue Playmakers theatre troupe and Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He became interested in acting, being an admirer of Walter Huston in particular. "I just decided I didn't want to be an engineer," he said later. "It was the best decision I ever made."
Peppard made his stage debut in 1949 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. After moving to New York City, Peppard enrolled in the Actors Studio, where he studied the Method with Lee Strasberg. He did a variety of jobs to pay his way during this time, such as working as a disc jockey, being a radio station engineer, teaching fencing, driving a taxi and being a mechanic in a motorcycle repair shop.
He then transferred to Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1955. (It took longer than normal because he dropped out for a year when his father died in 1951 and Peppard had to finish his father's jobs.) He also trained at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. While living in Pittsburgh, Peppard worked as a radio DJ at WLOA in Braddock, Pennsylvania. While giving a weather update, he infamously called incoming snow flurries "flow snurries". This was an anecdote he repeated in several later interviews, including one with former NFL player Rocky Bleier for WPXI.
In April 1956 he appeared in a segment of an episode of "Cameras Three" performing from The Shoemaker's Holiday; the New York Times called his performance "beguiling".
In July 1956 he signed to make his film debut in The Strange One directed by Jack Garfein, based on the play End as a Man. It was the first film from Garfein as director and Calder Willingham as producer, plus for Peppard, Ben Gazzara, Geoffrey Horne, Pat Hingle, Arthur Storch and Clifton James. Filming took place in Florida. "I wouldn't say I was nervous," said Peppard, "just excited."
The bulk of his work around this stage was for television: The Kaiser Aluminum Hour ("A Real Fine Cutting Edge", directed by George Roy Hill), Studio One in Hollywood ("A Walk in the Forest"), The Alcoa Hour ("The Big Build-Up" with E.G. Marshall), Matinee Theatre ("End of the Rope" with John Drew Barrymore, "Thread That Runs So True", "Aftermath"), Kraft Theatre ("The Long Flight"), Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("The Diplomatic Corpse", with Peter Lorre directed by Paul Henreid), and Suspicion ("The Eye of Truth" with Joseph Cotten based on a script by Eric Ambler). The Strange One came out in April 1957 but despite some strong reviews - the New York Times called Peppard "resolute" - it was not a financial success.
In September 1957 he trialled a play by Robert Thom, The Minotaur, directed by Sidney Lumet.
In October 1958 Peppard appeared on Broadway in The Pleasure of His Company (1958) starring Cyril Ritchard, who also directed. Peppard played the boyfriend who wants to marry Dolores Hart who was Ritchard's daughter; the New York Times called Peppard "admirable". The play was a hit and ran for a year.
During the show's run Peppard auditioned successfully for MGM's Home from the Hill (1960) and the studio signed him to a long-term contract - which he had not wanted to do but was a condition for the film. In February 1959 Hedda Hopper announced Peppard would leave Company to make two films for MGM. Home from the Hill and The Subterraneans.
He had meant to follow The Subterraneans by returning to Broadway with Julie Harris in The Warm Peninsular but this did not happen. In April 1959 Hedda Hopper said he would be in Chatauqua but that was not made until a decade later, starring Elvis Presley, as The Trouble with Girls (1969). At the end of 1959 Hopper predicted Peppard would be a big star saying "he has great emotional power, is a fine athlete, and does offbeat characters such as James Dean excelled in." Sol Siegel announced he would play the lead in Two Weeks in Another Town. (Kirk Douglas ended up playing it.) He was also announced for the role of Arthur Blake in a film about the first Olympics called And Seven from America which was never made.
His good looks, elegant manner and acting skills landed Peppard his most famous film role as Paul Varjak in Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn, based on a story by Truman Capote. Director Blake Edwards had not wanted Peppard, but been overruled by the producers. He was cast in July 1960. During filming Peppard did not get along with Hepburn or Patricia Neal, the latter calling him "cold and conceited".
In November 1961 a newspaper article dubbed him "the next big thing". Peppard said he had turned down two TV series and was "concentrating on big screen roles." His contract with MGM was for two pictures a year, allowing for one outside film and six TV appearances a year, plus the right to star in a play every second year. "In a series you don't have time to develop a character," he said. "There's no build up; in the first segment you're already established."
Instead MGM cast him in the lead of their epic western How the West Was Won in 1962 (his character spanned three sections of the episodic Cinerama extravaganza). It was a massive hit.
"My performances bore me", said Peppard in a 1964 interview, adding that his ambition was to deliver "one great performance. And I must say I feel a little presumptuous to shoot for that. But that's the goal, like a hockey goal. I figure I've got a choice ... not of the outcome but of the objective. And my objective is that one performance."
He was announced for The Last Night of Don Juan for Michael Gordon but it was not made. He was cast as the lead in Sands of the Kalahari (1965) at a fee of $200,000 but walked off the set after only a few days of filming in March 1965 and had to be replaced by Stuart Whitman. Paramount sued Peppard for $930,555 in damages and he countersued.
Peppard played a German Jew fighting for the Allies in Tobruk (1967) alongside Rock Hudson. "It's a big mistake to think I'm making a lot of money and turning out a lot of crap," he said in a 1966 interview.
Peppard wanted to ensure financial security so he bought a cattle ranch but it was requiring funds. This prompted Peppard to sign a multi-million-dollar five-picture non-exclusive contract with Universal in August 1966 - two for the first year, one a year after that. Ashley claimed this ultimately hurt Peppard's career.
In 1967 he bought a script Midnight Fair by Sheridan Greenway, to produce. In 1968 he announced he had co-written a script Watch Them Die, which he planned to direct, but not play a starring role. It was never made. Neither was a version of The Most Dangerous Game for MGM, announced in 1967.
In September 1970 he toured Vietnam with a USO show.
In March 1971 Peppard announced his company, Tradewind Productions, had optioned a novel by Stanley Ellin, The Eighth Circle, but it was not made.
In August 1971 Peppard signed to star in Banacek (1972–1974), part of The NBC Mystery Movie series, starring in 90-minute whodunits as a wealthy Boston playboy who solves thefts for insurance companies for a finder's fee. Sixteen regular episodes were produced over two seasons. Peppard also did some second unit directing. "Ever since The Carpetbaggers I've played the iron-jawed cold-eyed killer and that gets to be a goddamed bore," he said in 1972. "Acting is not the most creative thing in the world and when you play a man of action it gets to be a long day. Banacek is the best character I've played in a long time."
In February 1972 Peppard stood trial in Boston for attempting to rape a stripper in his hotel room. He was cleared of the charges. The same year he and Ashley were divorced, with Peppard to pay her $2,000 a month alimony plus $350 a month child support for their son Christopher.
Peppard overcame a serious alcohol problem in 1978; subsequently then became deeply involved in helping other alcoholics. "I knew I had to stop and I did," he said in 1983. "Looking back now I'm ashamed of some of the things I did when I was drinking."
With fewer interesting roles coming his way, he acted in, directed and produced the drama Five Days from Home in 1979.
He had to sell his car and take out a second mortgage on his home to finance Five Days from Home. Eventually, he got his money back and was able to concentrate on his career."I'm quite proud of it," he said in 1979. "I sold many assets to help make it but I don't mind. It was the best time of my life."
In a rare game show appearance, Peppard did a week of shows on Password Plus in 1979, in which he could often be seen smoking cigarettes while filming. Out of five shows, the first was never broadcast on NBC, but aired much later on GSN and Buzzr, because of on-camera comments made by Peppard regarding personal dissatisfaction he felt related to his treatment by the NBC officials who supervised the production of Password Plus. As a result of this, Goodson-Todman banned Peppard from appearing on any of their game shows ever again for that incident, which cost them a lot since they had to film an extra episode two weeks later to make up for the pulled episode.
In April 1979 Peppard said "I want to act again - and I need a good role. The Sam Shepherd story I did for TV was the only good role I've had in the last seven to ten years." He added he was developing two movies and a TV drama series plus an educational series.
In 1980, Peppard was offered, and accepted, the role of Blake Carrington in the television series Dynasty. During the filming of the pilot episode, which also featured Linda Evans and Bo Hopkins, Peppard repeatedly clashed with the show's producers, Richard and Esther Shapiro; among other things, he felt that his role was too similar to that of J. R. Ewing in the series Dallas. Three weeks later, before filming was to begin on additional episodes, Peppard was fired and the part was offered to John Forsythe; the scenes with Peppard were re-shot and Forsythe became the permanent star of the show.
"It was a big blow," Peppard noted subsequently, adding he felt Forsythe ultimately did "a better job (as Blake Carrington) than I could have done." Ironically, this led to him being available to be cast in NBC's The A-Team, the number one rated television show in its first season in 1982.
In 1982, Peppard auditioned for and won the role of Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith in the television action adventure series The A-Team, acting alongside Mr. T, Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz. In the series, the A-Team was a team of renegade commandos on the run from the military for "a crime they did not commit" while serving in the Vietnam War. The A-Team members made their collective living as soldiers of fortune, but they helped only people who came to them with justified grievances.
The show started filming in late 1982 and premiered in January 1983. It was an instant ratings success, going straight into the top ten most watched shows in the country. The series ran five seasons on NBC from 1983 to 1987, made Peppard known to a new generation and is arguably his best-known role. His fee was reportedly $50,000 an episode. This went up to $65,000, making him one of the best paid stars on television.
Peppard later said the low point of his career came over a three-year period around the time of Five Days from Home. "It was a bad time", he said in 1983. "I was heavily in debt. My career seemed to be going nowhere. Not much work over a three-year period. Every morning I'd wake up and realize I was getting deeper and deeper into debt".
In his later years Peppard appeared in several stage productions. In 1988 he portrayed Ernest Hemingway in the play PAPA, which played a number of cities including Boise, Idaho; Atlanta, Georgia; and San Francisco. Peppard financed it, and played in it. In 1988 he said, "Once I saw this thing, I knew that if I was going to do it, I'd have to stick with it. I've got a couple bucks in the bank, so I'm not working on anything else. I got an adrenalin rush when I first read this play - part joy, part fear." Peppard said he understood Hemingway. "We were both married four times; that's one similarity. Up until 10 years ago I used to drink a lot, as he did. And then, he had to deal with living the life of a famous person."
Peppard's last series was an intended occasional series of television movie features entitled Man Against the Mob (1988) set in the 1940s. In these TV detective films, Peppard played Los Angeles Police Detective Sgt. Frank Doakey. The second film Man Against the Mob: The Chinatown Murders was broadcast in December 1989. A third film in this series was planned, but Peppard died before it was filmed.
He appeared in Silence Like Glass (1989) and Night of the Fox (1990). In 1989 he said "I'm afraid I'm typecast. It was discouraging when it first happened. I was sad. I had hoped to do lots of different kinds of roles. But fear and insecurity guides casting decisions. Movies and TV have to make money. And people get used to you playing a part and doing certain things. If you don't do it, they get disappointed and it shows up at the box office."
In 1990 he was seeking finance for The Crystal Contract, a film about an international cocaine cartel in which he would produce and star (but was never made)." I would like to do another series because it would mean steady work - and because I would like one more hit."
In 1990 he said, "Getting married and having a bad divorce is just like breaking your leg. The same leg, in the same place. I'm lucky I don't walk with a cane."
In 1990 Peppard said "an enormous amount of my film work has been spent charging up a hill saying, "Follow me, men! This way!" Even though I did "Breakfast at Tiffany's," nobody seemed to think I could do comedy. I always played the man of action. And men of action are not terribly deep characters, and not real vocal characters. "
In 1992 he toured in The Lion in Winter, in which he played Henry II to Susan Clark's Eleanor of Aquitaine. ""I haven't been as happy as I am for a long time," he said. "When you find a part you are right for and you love, it's a source of happiness, believe me... If I could have my wish come true, I'd spend the next two years doing nothing but this play."
He had smoked three packs of cigarettes a day for most of his life until he quit after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 1992, having part of one lung removed in an operation shortly after the formal diagnosis.
His last television role was guest-starring in an 1994 episode of Matlock entitled "The P.I". The episode, co-starring Tracy Nelson, was meant to serve as a backdoor pilot for a series about a father and his estranged daughter both working as private investigators. The episode aired eight days before Peppard's death.
Despite health problems in his later years he continued acting. In 1994, shortly before his death, Peppard completed a pilot with Tracy Nelson for a new series called The P.I. It aired as an episode of Matlock and was to be spun off into a new television series with Peppard playing an aging detective and Nelson his daughter/sidekick.
While battling lung cancer Peppard died on May 8, 1994, in Los Angeles from pneumonia. He was buried in Northview Cemetery, Dearborn, Michigan.
Peppard resided in a Greek revival-style white cottage in Hollywood Hills, California with elegant porches on three sides and a guest house in the back. He was living there at the time of his death. Later owned by designer Brenda Antin who spent a year renovating it, the small home was purchased by writer/actress Lena Dunham in 2015 for 2.699 million dollars.
Peppard, born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan, Dearborn's most famous resident after Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford and legendary long serving Congressman John Dingell, wanted to go home, and George is buried simply and plainly with his mother and father in the local Northview Cemetery in Dearborn. In April 2017, Peppard's name resurfaced in the media after the cemetery was vandalized for the third time and 37 stones overturned. The Peppard family stone was not damaged. The cemetery was subsequently restored.
Currently, George Peppard is 92 years, 10 months and 0 days old. George Peppard will celebrate 93rd birthday on a Friday 1st of October 2021.
Find out about George Peppard birthday activities in timeline view here.