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George Peppard (1928-1994)

 

  1. Steve McQueen, The Magnificent Seven, 1960.      McQueen knew Vin was the big one. Legend says that in order to be free of TV’s Wanted Dead Or  Alive, 1958-1961, he  deliberately smashed a car and shot a Vin test  while was “out sick.” And no one realised?  Legends don’t always add up. Peppard got there in  the end.  His 1980 sf movie, Battle Beyond The Stars, was a Magnificent Seven re-make in space  - with co-star Robert Vaughan using much of his 20-year-old dialogue.
  2. Richard Harris, I Tre Volti/Three Faces of a Woman, Italy, 1964.     Harris insisted on top billing and script approval. “Otherwise, it would have been just a freak show” - the reason William Holden, Gregory Peck, etc, refused to co-star with Soraya, ex-wife of Iran’s last Shah.
  3. James Franciscus, Youngblood Hawke, 1964.       Truck driver makes good as a novelist… Warren Beatty needed money and beat singer Bobby Darin, Terence Stamp (at 26 a year younger than Beatty) and the too old George Peppard and Stuart Whitman (both 36) to a mediocre Warners quickie based on Herman Wouk’s book. Beatty just never signed any contract. And so, Jack Warner canned him and slashed the budget - from colour to monochrome. And never forgave… “Warner Beaker”!
  4. George Maharis, Sylvia, 1965.       The idea (yawn!) was to re-match two of The Carpetbaggers. With Peppard as the private eye investigating the life (oh, very Citizen Sylvia) of Carroll Baker... still channeling Jean Harlow as the titularrape victim, hooker, blackmailer and (don’t laugh) poet!
  5. Stuart Whitman, Sands of the Kalahari, 1965.Welsh star and producer Stanley Baker promised to spit in Peppard’s eye if he ever saw him again after the wayhe reneged on his deal. There are those to say that Peppard wouldn’t have noticed...

  6. Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate, 1967.    
    On producer Lawrence Turman’s handwritten wish list of nine actors (Beatty, McQueen to  Perkins, Redford) for the titular Benjamin Braddock. “When we started talking about actors,” Buck Henry noticed, “they were tall and blond. We were talking Southern California.” Until director Mike Nichols decided Ben “couldn’t be a blond, blue-eyed person, because then why is he having trouble in the country of the blond, blue-eyed people? Once I figured that out, and found Dustin, it began to form itself around that idea.”  There was a moment when Peppard and the second of his five wives, Elizabeth Ashley, were in the frame for  the runaway couple… Alas poor Peppard -  he remained a wasted, certainly never stretched Method actor.  But such a great guy. He sent me home from  the studio in his Rolls after an interview   - the Rolls he later gave  it to his driver so he could set up his own chauffering business!

  7. Charlton Heston, Planet of the Apes, 1967.
  8. Roger Davis, Alias Smith and Jones, TV, 1972-1973.     Following Petrer Duel's suicide on December 31, 1971, Peppard was seen about taking over as Hannibal Hayes (aka Joshua Smith) in the Butch Cassdidy and the Sundance Kid rip-off before the producers decided on Davis. Peppard used parts of both of  the role’s names when leading The A Team, TV, 1983-1987, as... Hannibal Smith.
  9. John Forsythe, Dynasty, TV, 1981-1989. He was Blake Carrington in the pilot but the typically “difficult” Peppard did not believe in any of the requested moral ambiguity about the zillionaire patriarch of the Denver clan.   Enter: Forsythe,  back on-camera after being the voice of Charlie Townsend in Charlie’s Angels since 1976. While Forsythe was the only star to appear in all 220 dynastic chapters, Peppard got his way with his own hit series, The A Team, 1983-1987. No trace of moral ambiguity about Colonel Hannibal Smith.
  10. Steve Railsback, Lifeforce, 1984.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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