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" Final Resting Place of George Peppard"
1st October 1928 - 8th May 1994
Actor star of "The Blue Max", "The Carpetbaggers" etc and star of the TV series "The A Team"
North View Cemetery, Dearborn, Michigan.
George Peppard, Jr. was a popular American film and television actor. He died of pneumonia as a result of complications of lung cancer.
He secured a major role early in his career when he starred alongside Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), although he is probably more familiar among younger viewers for his role as Col. John "Hannibal" Smith in the cult 1980s television show The A-Team, where he is the cigar-smoking leader of a renegade commando squadron.
George Peppard, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan. The son of building contractor George Peppard, Sr. and opera singer Vernelle Rohrer, he graduated from Dearborn High School in Dearborn, Michigan. Peppard enlisted in the Marine Corps and rose to the rank of Sergeant in the Artillery division, leaving the Marines at the end of his first tour. He studied Civil Engineering at Purdue University where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi. He also attended Carnegie Mellon University.
Peppard's Acting Career
George Peppard made his stage debut in 1949 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. He then enrolled in The Actors Studio in New York. His first work on Broadway lead to his first television appearance, with a young Paul Newman, in the The United States Steel Hour (1956). Peppard’s Broadway appearance in "The Pleasure of His Company" (1958) led to a MGM contract. Prior to a strong film debut in The Strange One (1957), he was discovered playing Robert Mitchum's illegitimate son in the popular melodrama Home from the Hill (1960).
His good looks, elegant manner and superior acting skills landed Peppard his most famous film role as Paul Varjak in Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn. This role boosted him to super star status from its debut in 1961 through the late 60's. Peppard later developed a tendency to choose tough guy roles in big, ambitious pictures where he was somewhat overshadowed by ensemble casts. An example being in "The Carpetbaggers" (1964) and his strong military role as German pilot Bruno Stachel, an obsessively competitive officer pilot from humble beginnings who challenges the Prussian aristocracy during World War I in The Blue Max (1966).
Due to the complications of alcoholism, his career led to a string of B films by the early 70's . Among these was the 1970 western Cannon for Cordoba, in which Peppard played the steely Captain Rod Douglas, who has been put in charge of gathering a group of soldiers to take part in a dangerous mission into Mexico. Although it also featured the talents of actors such as Pete Duel and Nico Minardos, it is not among Peppard's best remembered efforts. Peppard moved to television with a leading role in the TV series Banacek (1972 - 1974), (part of the NBC Mystery Movie series). He appeared in Doctors' Hospital (1975) and several other television films. Still interested in film but with the offered film roles becoming increasingly uninteresting, he acted in, directed and produced the drama "Five Days from Home" (1979).
In the mid 80’s, George Peppard reemerged as a television star for his role as Col. John "Hannibal" Smith in the cult show The A-Team, acting along side Mr. T, Dirk Benedict, and Dwight Schultz. The A-Team was a crack team of renegade commandos on the run from the military for a crime they did not commit, while working as soldiers of fortune. John “Hannibal” Smith was the leader of the A-Team, distinguished by his cigar-smoking, black leather gloves, disguises, and catch phrase, "I love it when a plan comes together." The show ran on NBC from 1983-1986 and lasted 5 seasons. It made George Peppard known to a younger generation.
Peppard married five times, and was the father of three children:
Helen Davies — 1954–1964: two children, Bradford and Julie
Elizabeth Ashley — 1966–1972: his co-star in The Carpetbaggers. One son, Christian
Sherrry Boucher — 1975–1979
Alexis Adams — 1984–1986
Laura Taylor — 1992–1994: was a banker in West Palm Beach, Florida when they met
Peppard finally gave up drinking in 1978 and spent his later years trying to help other alcoholics enter into recovery. A life long smoker, Peppard was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1992, and resultantly quit. This also forced his retirement from acting, and being passionate about politics as a life long Democrat, he spent his final years championing health care reform.
He died of pneumonia on 8 May, 1994 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 65. He is buried in Northview Cemetery in Dearborn, Michigan.