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 George Peppard

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George Peppard

Actor, he is best remembered for his breakthrough role of Paul “Fred” Varjak in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), and for his role of Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith in the television series “The A-Team” (1983-1986). Born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of opera singer and building contractor Vernelle Rohrer. He graduated from Dearborn High School in nearby Dearborn, Michigan, and attended Purdue University, where he studied Engineering, later transferring to Carnegie Mellon University. He took an interest in acting, and joined The Actor’s Studio, where he studied acting. He enlisted into the Marine Corps, and rose to the rank of Sergeant in the Artillery, but saw no interest in a military career, and left as soon as his military obligation was up, to return to acting. Blue-eyed, blonde, fair, and handsome, he was quick to find roles for himself in the Hollywood machine. His first movie role was as a Cadet in “The Strange One” (1957), and he again played military roles in such films as “Pork Chop Hill” (1959), “The Victors” (1963), “Operation Crossbow” (1965), “Tobruk” (1967), and a series of other movies. His best military role was perhaps as German pilot Bruno Stachel, an obsessively competitive officer pilot from humble beginnings who challenges the Prussian aristocracy in World War I in “The Blue Max” (1966). Drifting between movies and television, he accepted roles in both mediums, and appeared in such television roles as a doctor in “Doctors’ Hospital” (1975) and as a detective in “Banacek” (1972). His success also led to the typical Hollywood excesses, and for years, he became alcoholic. In 1978, he finally conquered a serious drinking problem, and would spend many of his later years helping alcoholics to break the habit. He was married five times, and had three children with two of his wives. In his later years, he found acting less interesting, and turned more to producing and directing, but with less success, so he continued to act. In the mid-1980s, he found acting success again, as Colonel Hannibal Smith, the leader of “The A-Team” (1983-1986). A heavy smoker, in 1992 he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and had part of his lung removed. He died of pneumonia on May 8, 1994, in Los Angeles, due to complications from his lung cancer. Realistic about himself and his problems, he would state in an interview that “I was my own worst enemy” and that “Mine isn’t a string of victories. It’s no golden past. I am no George Peppard fan.”

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1158
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for George Peppard (1 Oct 1928–8 May 1994), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1158, citing Northview Cemetery, Dearborn, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .