George Peppard, Jr. (October 1, 1928 – May 8, 1994) was an American film and television actor. He secured a major role when he starred alongside Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), portrayed a character based on Howard Hughes in The Carpetbaggers (1964), and played the title role of the millionaire sleuth Thomas Banacek in the early-1970s television series Banacek, but he is probably best known to younger audiences for his role as Col. John "Hannibal" Smith, the cigar-chomping leader of a renegade commando squad, in the 1980s television show The A-Team.
George Peppard, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of building contractor George Peppard, Sr. and opera singer Vernelle Rohrer. He graduated from Dearborn High School in Dearborn, Michigan.
Peppard enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at 17 on July 8, 1946 and rose to rank of Corporal in the 10th Marines, leaving the Marines at the end of his enlistment in January 1948.
From 1948 to 1949, he studied Civil Engineering at Purdue University where he was a member of the Purdue Playmakers theatre troupe and Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He then transferred to Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1955.
Peppard made his stage debut in 1949 at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. After moving to New York, Peppard enrolled in The Actors Studio, where he studied the Method with Lee Strasberg. His first work on Broadway led to his first television appearance, with a young Paul Newman, in The United States Steel Hour (1956). Peppard’s Broadway appearance in The Pleasure of His Company (1958) led to an MGM contract. Prior to a strong film debut in The Strange One (1957), he was discovered playing the illegitimate son of Robert Mitchum's character in the popular melodrama Home from the Hill (1960).
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