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Peter Lawford Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trivia (34) | Personal Quotes (3) | Salary (4)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 7 September 1923London, England, UK
Date of Death 24 December 1984Los Angeles, California, USA  (liver and kidney disease)
Birth NamePeter Sydney Ernest Aylen
Nickname Brother-in-Lawford
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born in London, England and son of a British World War I hero, Lawford had spent most of his childhood in Paris, France and began his acting career at a very young age. His parents were not married when their son was born. As a result of the scandal, The Lawfords fled to America.

As a young child, the young Peter injured his arm by in his own words, "attempt to run through a glass door." Lawford's arm was badly injured however, the doctors could save it. The injury was so bad, it was slightly deformed and bothered him throughout life. But such was his luck, the injury kept him off the draft for World War II, which became the biggest boon of his acting career.

When Lawford was signed to MGM, his mother approached studio head, Louis B. Mayer, to pay her a salary as her son's personal assistant. However, Mayer declined. She then claimed that her son was "homosexual" and needed to be "supervised". This damaged the relationship between her and her son.

Lawford starred in his first major movie called A Yank at Eton (1942) , co-starring Mickey Rooney, Ian Hunter and Freddie Bartholomew. His performance was widely praised. During this time, Lawford started to get more leads when major MGM star Clark Gable was drafted into the war. Later, it was Good News (1947), co-starring June Allyson that became Lawford's greatest claim to fame.

Probably Lawford's most controversial affair, amongst many, was with African-American actress Dorothy Dandridge. It was rumored that both Lawford and Dandridge were planning to get married but canceled fearing it would jeopardize their careers.

Besides his successful career and being a socialite, Lawford was also part of the Rat Pack, with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop and Sammy Davis Jr. .

- IMDb Mini Biography By: rocknrollunderdawg

Spouse (4)

Patricia Seaton (5 July 1984 - 24 December 1984) (his death)
Deborah Gould (25 June 1976 - 1977) (divorced)
Mary Rowan (30 October 1971 - 2 January 1975) (divorced)
Patricia Kennedy (24 April 1954 - 1 February 1966) (divorced) (4 children)

Trivia (34)

Uncle of Maria Shriver.
A frequent and accomplished guest on the game show Password All-Stars (1961), Lawford was the all-time champion at the "lightning round", prompting 5 out of 5 correct guesses in only 12 seconds.
Member of the "Clan" or "Rat Pack", with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop. The five would appear together in the films Ocean's Eleven (1960) and Sergeants 3 (1962). They also performed on stage and were quite successful with their informal Las Vegas stage act during the filming of the first movie.
Became a United States citizen in early 1960 so that he could vote for his brother-in-law John F. Kennedy in the presidential election later that year.
Had four children with Patricia Kennedy: Christopher Lawford (born 1955), Sydney Maleia Kennedy Lawford (born 1956), Victoria Francis Lawford (born 1958), and Robin Elizabeth Lawford (born 1961).
Fluent in English, French, Italian and Spanish.
He was a year old before his parents were married. His parents were married to other people when he was conceived (he was given his mother's husband's surname Aylen on his birth certificate). He did not learn of his illegitimacy until he was 27 years old.
Raised in France, his mother's childhood nickname for him was Pierrot.
His production company, Chrislaw, was named after his son Christopher Lawford. Among other projects, the company produced young Patty Duke's highly successful sitcom.
Met his third wife, Mary Rowan (daughter of Dan Rowan), in December 1970 while he was appearing on her father's television show, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1967).
Never obtained a formal education; educated through tutors.
Romantically linked with actresses Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Dorothy Dandridge, June Allyson, Rita Hayworth, Lee Remick, Kim Novak, Judy Holliday, Evelyn Keyes, and socialites Sharman Douglas and Melissa Weston.
Since he spent his early childhood in France, he spoke French before he spoke English. Later, he struggled to learn English.
When he was child he fell through a French door and cut his right arm very badly; consequently, he never regained full use of his right arm and hand. Thus, he was turned down as unfit for military duty and did not serve during World War II.
The producers of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) originally wanted him to play Edwin Flagg. The role eventually went to Victor Buono.
Is portrayed by Angus Macfadyen in The Rat Pack (1998) and by Ian Buchanan in Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair (1993).
As Peter appeared to be a mysterious figure in the coverup of her death, close friend Lawford and the other members of the Rat Pack were banned from Marilyn Monroe's funeral by Joe DiMaggio.
Was the first member of the Rat Pack to pass away. With the death of Joey Bishop in October 2007, no surviving members of the Rat Pack remain.
In his 20s, he worked at a country club. A prestigious member of the club once complained to the management that Lawford was eating lunch and fraternizing with the black employees, and that he should be fired. This member was Joseph P. Kennedy, who years later became his father-in-law!
Son of actor Sidney Lawford and nephew of Ernest Lawford.
Cousin of Betty Lawford.
His ex-wife Patricia Kennedy died on September 17, 2006 from complications from pneumonia at age 82.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 488-489. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
When the Kennedy administration political alienated Frank Sinatra in 1962 due to the singer's ties with the Mafia, Sinatra blamed Peter and severed their friendship permanently. Peter was supposed to appear in the Rat Pack movie Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964). Peter was replaced by Bing Crosby. In later years, when Lawford decided to attend Sinatra's Las Vegas performance at Caeser's Palace in an attempt to call a truce, Sinatra reportedly found out about it and refused to go on until after Lawford had been escorted out of the showroom.
Former son-in-law of Dan Rowan.
(November 25, 1963) In the poignant photograph of John Kennedy Jr. saluting the casket of his assassinated father outside St. Matthews Cathedral (Washington) following funeral mass, Lawford is standing between Ted Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy.
John F. Kennedy became the godfather of daughter Victoria Francis Lawford, whose middle name was in honor of his good friend at the time, Frank Sinatra.
The Kennedy administration was none too happy when Peter accepted a role in the prestigious picture Advise & Consent (1962) portraying the role of a swinging senator.
Suffered second degree burns on his right hand and arm during a 1950 Jimmy Durante television show skit. Titanium tetrachloride was being used in the making of a smoking concoction and it accidentally spilled on him. Durante and Lawford were close friends and later performed frequently on stage in a song-and-dance nightclub act.
Both his parents, Sidney Lawford and Mary Somerville (aka Lady Lawford), appeared as minor players in a few films. Sir Sydney shot his very first movie in a party sequence in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), which co-starred Peter. Unfortunately, that scene was cut from the final print but he went on to appear in a few others. His mother appeared in the film Hong Kong (1952) and in an episode of Peter's television series The Thin Man (1957).
During his salad days as a young actor, Lawford worked as an usher at the Westwood Village Theatre in Los Angeles. Years later, many of his films would premiere there.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6922 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
He was cremated after death and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

Personal Quotes (3)

[on his disillusionment with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where he made his first films] Metro was really a star-builder, no doubt about that. You were wrapped in cotton wool. I was encouraged to emulate Robert Taylor, who came to the studio every day of his life in a pinstripe suit and pressed shirt with a pin through the collar. They were very high on pins through the collar.
[on turning down a role opposite Bette Davis] It's a spot I wouldn't have given to my dry cleaner.
Tommy was exactly what I was not -- a typical American young man. He also was a football captain and I had never played football. He was conceited and a wolf and I swear I was neither. PL, in talking about his lead role in the film Good News (1947).

Salary (4)

A Yank at Eton (1942) $200 /week
The Canterville Ghost (1944) $400 /week
Cluny Brown (1946) $1,000 /week
Rogue's March (1953) $2,000 /week

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