Wives, Children, Net Worth, Death Cause

Wives, Children, Net Worth, Death Cause

Who was Peter Lawford?

The late British-American actor Peter Sydney Ernest Lawford (ne Aylen) was born in London, England on 7 September 1923, meaning that Virgo was his zodiac sign. He appeared in 122 movies and TV series, and is probably still remembered best for playing Lord Lovat in the 1962 historical action movie “The Longest Day”, which co-starred Robert Ryan and John Wayne, and was directed by Ken Annakin and Andrew Marton. It follows the events of D-Day, told from both the German and the Allied points of view, and the film won eight of its 14 award nominations, including two Oscar wins for Best Special Effects and Best Cinematography.

Peter was 61 when he died from cardiac arrest on 24 December 1984, having suffered from liver and kidney failure because of constant substance abuse. Peter’s remains were cremated and his ashes kept at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery until scattered into the Pacific Ocean in 1988.

Image source

Education and early life

Peter was raised by his wealthy parents May Somerville Aylen and Sydney Turing Barlow Lawford in France, but not many details have been disclosed about his mother and father.

He wasn’t formally educated, instead being taught by tutors and governesses at his home; one of his teachers revealed that Peter studied English, German and Spanish, mostly read fairy stories and wasn’t allowed to read stories about crime. The teacher also stated that Peter was unfit to study algebra, Latin and high mathematics, and that he was only fit for a career in the arts.

He was seven when he made his debut film appearance, playing Horace in the 1931 romantic musical comedy “Poor Old Bill”, and the same year saw him appear in the crime movie “A Gentleman of Paris”; Peter didn’t have any roles in the following seven years.

He was 14 when he went through a glass door, severely injuring his right arm; this made him unable to join the Army, and most of his family was dissatisfied with his decision to become an actor, with one of his wealthy aunts deciding not to leave him her vast fortune, which she had previously planned for him to inherit.

Roles in movies

In 1938, Peter played Benny Potter in the crime drama “Lord Jeff”, and some of his following roles were in the 1938 musical comedy “Ziegfeld Follies”, the 1942 romantic war drama “Mrs Miniver” and the 1942 war drama “Eagle Squadron”.

The year 1942 saw him appear in several other movies, including the hit romantic drama “Random Harvest”, which starred Greer Garson and Ronald Colman, and was directed by Mervyn LeRoy. It follows a World War I veteran who’s fallen for a music hall star, and the film won three of its 11 award nominations, including seven Oscar nominations, some of which for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Susan Peters). A couple of Peter’s following roles were in the 1943 romantic war drama “Assignment in Brittany”, the 1944 romantic war drama “The White Cliff of Dover”, and the 1944 romantic drama “Mrs Parkington”.

The year 1947 saw him play the lead character Tommy Marlowe in the musical comedy “Good News”, which also starred Patricia Marshall and June Allyson, and was directed by Charles Walters. It follows a football star who’s fallen for his French tutor, and the movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song. Some of Peter’s roles in the remainder of the ‘40s were in the 1948 romantic comedy “Julia Misbehaves”, the 1949 romantic family drama “Little Women” and the 1949 romantic war drama “The Red Danube”.

In 1954, he starred as Evan Adams III in the romantic musical comedy “It Should Happen to You”, which also starred Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon, and was directed by George Cukor. It follows a woman who’s rented a billboard to advertise herself, and the movie was nominated for two awards, including an Oscar for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White. Peter had only a couple of other film roles in the ‘50s, including in the 1959 war drama “Never So Few”, then in 1960 the musical crime comedy “Ocean’s Eleven” and the war action “Exodus”.

The year 1964 saw him portray Tony Collins in the crime thriller “Dead Ringer”, which starred Karl Malden and Bette Davis, and was directed by Paul Henreid. The film follows a woman who has murdered her wealthy twin sister, and is now impersonating her. Some of Peter’s roles in the remainder of the ‘60s were in the drama “Sylvia” and the biographical romantic drama “Harlow” both in 1965, and the 1969 romantic comedy “The April Fools”.

What marked the ‘70s for Peter was perhaps playing Lord Carter in the 1975 action adventure “Rosebud”, which starred Richard Attenborough and Peter O’Toole, and was directed by Otto Preminger; it follows the kidnapping of five teenage girls from a yacht.

Peter’s three final film roles were in the 1979 adventure “Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women”, the 1981 sports drama “Body and Soul”, and the 1984 comedy “Where Is Parsifal?”

Roles in TV series

Peter didn’t have many TV series roles, spending his career focused on appearing in movies.

His debut TV series appearance was in the 1953 episode “Woman’s World” of the comedy “General Electric Theatre”, and in 1954 and 1955, he starred as Bill Hastings in the comedy “Dear Phoebe”, which also starred Marcia Henderson and Charles Lane, and follows Bill who’s working for a daily newspaper. Some of Peter’s following roles were in an episode of the drama “Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre”, the crime comedy “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and the romantic comedy “Screen Directors Playhouse”.

From 1957 through 1959, he starred as Nick Charles in all 72 episodes of the mystery comedy “The Thin Man”, which also starred Phyllis Kirk and follows the lives of amateur detectives Nora and Nick Charles; the series was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Phyllis Kirk).

The ‘60s saw Peter appear in an episode of a couple of series, including the crime adventure comedy “Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre”, the drama “Run for Your Life”, and the action adventure western “The Wild Wild West”.

From 1968 through 1971, he appeared in 10 episodes of the popular musical comedy “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”, which starred Dick Martin and Dan Rowan, and which Digby Wolfe created. It’s a ‘rapid fire sketch comedy show’, and won 11 of its 45 award nominations.

Peter’s final three TV series roles were in the 1980 episode “Rip Taylor” of “The Comedy Shop”, the 1981 episode “The House That George Built” of the comedy “The Jeffersons”, and four episodes of the family adventure “Fantasy Island” from 1979 through 1982.

Other credits

Peter produced the 1965 family musical comedy movie “Billie”, the 1968 crime thriller comedy film “Salt and Pepper”, and the 1970 thriller comedy movie “One More Time”.

Some of his final talk-show and game-show appearances were in “Shoot for the Stars”, “Highcliffe Manor”, and “The $10,000 Pyramid”.

Awards and accolades

Peter was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 8 February 1960.

Wives and children

Peter was married four times and had four children. His first wife was American socialite Patricia Helen Kennedy, who was a sister of assassinated US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The two married in 1954, and Patricia gave birth to their son Christopher Kennedy Lawford on 29 March 1955; he was an author and actor, and passed away aged 63 on 4 September 2018. Patricia then gave birth to their daughters Sydney Maleia Lawford in 1956, Victoria Francis Lawford in 1958 and Robin Elizabeth Lawford in 1961; she and Peter divorced in 1966.

His second wife was the late American actor Daniel Hale ‘Dan’ Rowan’s daughter Mary Rowan; they married in October 1971, separated in 1973, and divorced in January 1975.

Peter and his third wife, American actress Deborah Gould married in June 1976, after having known each other for only three weeks; they separated after two months and divorced in 1977.

From July 1984 until his death, he was married to his fourth wife Patricia Seaton.

Interesting facts and hobbies

Peter was once good friends with the late American singer and actor Frank Sinatra, and was a member of Sinatra’s group of entertainers ‘Rat Pack’; after Peter failed to secure John F. Kennedy’s visit to Sinatra’s home, the two’s friendship ended and he was banished from the so-called Rat Pack.

He became a US citizen in the first half of 1960, so that he could vote for John F. Kennedy.

It’s believed that Peter was involved in covering up the death of Marilyn Monroe, and wasn’t allowed to attend her funeral.

It’s believed that he dated numerous celebrities, including Judy Holliday, Lana Turner and Dorothy Dandridge.

Peter was a fan of game-shows, and often competed in “Password”; he was the champion of the ‘lightning round’ thrice, once answering correctly all five questions in 12 seconds.

The late American actress Maureen O’Hara revealed in her 2004 autobiography “Tis Herself” that Peter was arrested in a gay brothel while shooting for the 1952 movie “Kangaroo” in Australia.

Appearance and wealth

Peter’s hair and eyes were brown, he was 5ft 11ins (1.82m) tall and weighed around 170lbs (78kgs).

His net worth, at the time of his passing was estimated at over $3 million.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.