Peter Breck in 2003
|Date of birth:||13 March 1929|
|Born in:||Rochester, New York, USA|
|Died:||6 February 2012(aged 82)|
|Died in:||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
|Appeared on/in:||I Still Dream of Jeannie (TV movie)|
|Sahm-Ir, Chief Genie|
A venerable character actor of stage, television, and film. The rugged, dark-haired Breck played the gambler and gunfighter John H. "Doc" Holliday on the ABC/Warner Brothers television series Maverick, but is best known for his role as Victoria Barkley's (Barbara Stanwyck) hot-tempered, middle son Nick in the popular 1960s ABC-TV western, The Big Valley. He scored his first acting contract at Warner Bros. and appeared in dozens of shows from the mid-1950s to the early 2000s.
Born Joseph Peter Breck in Rochester NY, Peter was raised Haverhill, Mass., the son of jazz musician Joe Breck, "a popular show business figure of the 1930s." Peter's parents were on the road for much of his early life, as he and his brothers were sent to live with his grandparents in Haverhill. His parents eventually divorced when Peter was 8. Peter went with Joe, while George accompanied their mother, resulting in a decades-long separation. In 1959, an Associated Press photograph showed the brothers reunited after being out of touch for 22 years. The caption explained: "George told newsmen he saw Peter on television and recorgnized a resemblance. He went to the actor's studio and the relationship was confirmed."
The Big Valley
From 1965 to 1969, Peter starred in The Big Valley, having portrayed Nick Barkley, ramrod of the Barkley ranch and son to Barbara Stanwyck's character, Victoria Barkley. The second of four children, Nick was hotheaded, short-tempered, and very fast with a gun. Always spoiling for a fight and frequently wearing leather gloves, Breck's character took the slightest offense to the Barkley name personally and quickly made his displeasure known, as often with his fists as with his vociferous shouts. Often this proved to be a mistake and only through the calming influence of his mother and cooler-headed siblings, Jarrod (Richard Long), half-brother Heath (Lee Majors), sister Audra (Linda Evans) and Eugene (Charles Briles); written out after season 1 when he was drafted into the Army), would a difficult situation be rectified. Having been a Barbara Stanwyck admirer since the 1940s, when he was teenager, Breck developed an on- and off-screen chemistry with her, practicing longer lines and even being a ranch foreman on the set. After the show was canceled, he stayed close to her until her death.
In 1969, Breck was cast in an episode of The Donald O'Connor Show. Most of his roles in the 1970s and 1980s were television guest-starring performances on such series as Alias Smith and Jones, Mission: Impossible, McMillan & Wife, S.W.A.T., The Six Million Dollar Man (again with Lee Majors), The Incredible Hulk, and The Dukes of Hazzard, as well as roles as himself on Fantasy Island, and The Fall Guy which also starred former television "brother" Lee Majors.
In June 2010, Breck's wife Diane announced on his website that the actor had been suffering from dementia, and could no longer sign autographs for fans, although she said that he still read and enjoyed their letters. Despite this diagnosis, she said he was still physically healthy and did not require medication.
Thereafter, Diane Breck reported that her husband was hospitalized on 10 January 2012. On 6 February 2012, Peter Breck died from his illness at the age of 82.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Thomas, Bob (March 7, 1959). "TV Star Peter Breck Finds Brother After 22 Years Separation". Newport Daily News. p. 6. http://www.newspapers.com/clip/2259596/newport_daily_news/. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- ↑ "TV Star and Brother Reunited". The Morning Herald. March 7, 1959. p. 12. http://www.newspapers.com/clip/2259561/peter_breck_brother/. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- ↑ Breck, Diane. "June 2, 2010 Update". The Official Peter Breck Website. Aithra Productions Ltd.. http://www.peterbreck.ca/index.htm#AutoNumber3. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
- ↑ Barnes, Mike. "‘Big Valley' star Peter Breck Dies at 82". The Hollywood Reporter. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/big-valley-star-peter-breck-289272.