George Peppard


  1. Steve McQueen, The Magnificent Sevenrd , 1960.      Peppard was talked of  but 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.”  Yul Brynner insisted on McQueen, impressed by his TV series, Wanted: Dead of Alive.   It was Brynner’s big mistake. McQueen not only stole scenes from him but the entire film.  He apologised in a phone call when dying of cancer in 1980. “Thank you.” “What for?” queried Brynner. “You coulda had me kicked off the movie when I rattled you, but you let me stay and that picture made me, so thanks.” Brynner said: “I am the king and you are the rebel prince: every bit as royal… and dangerous to cross.”   Five year later, Brynner also died of cancer. Wonder who he called… 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 Widmark, The Long Ships, 1963.    Widmark was way too old, looking ten years older than his 49, for the Viking leader RolfeBut the American-in-London producer Irving Allen (ex-partner of Cubby Broccoli) was the best friend of Hollywood oldies – Macdonald Carey, Jeff Chandler,. Alan Ladd, Victor Mature (he made six Allen movies), Ray Milland, Jack Palance, Robert Taylor. They were much cheaper, of course, than the current hot-shots. A mere $200,000, for example – while Peppard’s agent, won him a $2m pay day. Except George had no wish to spend  six months in Yugoslavia. Taylor, 52, also came and went.    Widmark signed on as long as his pal, Sidner Poitier, played the villain. Of course, he could Ernest Borgnine had just refused it. Done deal!
  3. 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.
  4. 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”!
  5. George Maharis, Sylvia, 1965.      Pinching the Citizen Kane matrix,  Peter Lawford hires shamus Maharis to find the real story of his fiancee, Carroll Baker, a poet who used to be something else beginning with p… Newman passed. So did George Peppard who, nine years later, played a vice cop called Newman in Newman’s Law!
  6. 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 way  he reneged on his deal. Alas poor Peppard remained a wasted, certainly never stretched Method actor. But such a great guy. Sent me home from the studio in his Rolls after an interview – he later gave  the Rolls  to his London driver, so he could set up his own chauffering business!
  7. Alan Arkin, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, 1967. Carson McCullers’ first novel   about a deaf mute – cruelly called Singer – was perfect for an Austrian-accented Oskar Werner.  (No dialogue).v However, he was trying to produce and direct himself in his own perfect project – Robert Nathan’s book, So Love Returns.  (It never happened). Directors changed as frequently as actors. Jose Quintero/Montgomery Clift, Sidney Lumet/Warren Beatty, Joseph Strick/George Peppard  – but his  agent suggested the saintly Singer “might be homosexual.”Robert Ellis Miller’s version marked the debuts of Stacy Keach and Sondra Locke – winning a support Oscar nomination at age 17, when she was really 24. She continued de-ageing herself throughout her career.
  8. Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate, 1967.     
  9. Charlton Heston, Planet of the Apes, 1967.
  10. Ernest Borgnine, The Wild Bunch, 1968.

  11. Roger Davis, Alias Smith and Jones, TV,  1971-1973.  Peppard’s career was toilet bound…   his Canon for Cordoba being releasd in double-bills with Robert Goulet (!) in Underground or Sidney Poitier’s third Virgil Tibbs outing, The Organization. Then, he was asked to take over Smith following the shock suicide of Pete Duel.  Instead, the rôle was given to Davis, already narrating the series.
  12. 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.
  13. Steve Railsback, Lifeforce, 1984.     








 Birth year: 1928Death year: 1994Other name: Casting Calls:  13