Peter Lawford

Active - 1931 - 1984  |   Born - Sep 7, 1923 in London, England  |   Died - Dec 24, 1984 in Los Angeles, CA  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Crime, Romance, Action

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Biography

Peter Lawford was a bushy-browed, slender, aristocratic, good-looking British leading man in Hollywood films. At age eight he appeared in the film Poor Old Bill (1931); seven years later he visited Hollywood and appeared in a supporting role as a Cockney boy in Lord Jeff (1938). In 1942 he began regularly appearing onscreen, first in minor supporting roles; by the late 1940s he was a breezy romantic star, and his studio promised him (incorrectly) that he would be the "new Ronald Colman." His clipped British accent, poise, looks, and charm made him popular with teenage girls and young women, but he outgrew his typecast parts by the mid '50s and spent several years working on TV, starring in the series Dear Phoebe and The Thin Man. Off screen he was known as a jet-setter playboy; a member of Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack," he married Patricia Kennedy and became President John F. Kennedy's brother-in-law. From the 1960s he appeared mainly in character roles; his production company, Chrislaw, made several feature films, and he was credited as executive producer of three films, two in co-producer partnership with Sammy Davis Jr. In 1971-72 he was a regular on the TV sitcom The Doris Day Show. He divorced Kennedy in 1966 and later married the daughter of comedian Dan Rowan. He rarely acted onscreen after the mid-'70s.

Movie Highlights

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Factsheet

  • Was 27 when he learned that his parents were not married at the time of his birth.
  • Admitted that the most terrifying experience of his career was dancing the jitterbug in the musical The Good News in 1947.
  • Became an American citizen on April 23, 1960, in time to vote for his then brother-in-law John F. Kennedy in the upcoming presidential election.
  • Had no formal education; was tutored by various governesses.   
  • Was related to British royalty via his Uncle Ernest Lawford's wife, she being a daughter of the 14th Earl of Eglinton.
  • So badly injured his arm at 14 that he was not considered fit enough for military service.
  • Joined the Rat Pack at the behest of Frank Sinatra and was soon cast alongside him and the others in 1960's Ocean's 11.
  • Was able to speak French, Spanish and Italian fluently.