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Brock Peters

Updated on August 10, 2016
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I'm a fan of classic TV shows and films. My articles focus on the character actors and actress who usually played supporting roles.

Bio Stats

Born: 2 July 1927 (New York City, New York, USA)

Died: 23 August 2005 (Los Angeles, California, USA)

Cause of Death: Pancreatic Cancer

Film and TV Appearances: 126+

Years Active: 1954 - 2005

Award Nominations: 6 (2 wins)

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

as Tom Robinson
as Tom Robinson

Early Life

George or Brock Fisher (depending on the source) was born in 1927 to parents Sonny and Alma, who were of African and West Indian heritage. He attended New York's Music and Arts High school where he studied music theory and singing.

After briefly attending the University of Chicago and City College of New York, he turned his attention to the stage when he made his debut in the musical, Porgy and Bess. While he trained for the stage he worked in various jobs such as a Parks Department Instructor, a hospital orderly, and a shipping clerk.

His bass singing voice helped him to become a member of the de Paur Infantry Chorus and he toured clubs in the USA and Canada as part of a cabaret act. He was also a backup singer on Harry Belafonte records (most notably "The Banana Boat Song") as well as recording many soundtrack albums and some as a solo artist.

Peters made his television debut as a singer in 1953 on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts before making his film debut the following year.

In one courtroom scene, in which Robinson is asked by his lawyer whether he has committed the rape, the accused man answers firmly, but with tears in his eyes I did not, sir. ... There wasn't a dry eye on set filming that scene the director Robert Mulligan sat me down and asked me to prepare for the point where I burst into tears by only going to places in my mind where I remembered and experienced pain, and let me tell you the tears did come.

— Brock Peters

Film

Peters made his movie debut in the 1954 film Carmen Jones as Sergeant Brown. Other films he appeared in include Porgy and Bess (1959); The L-Shaped Room (1962); Heavens Above! (1963); The Pawnbroker (1964); Major Dundee (1965); The Incident (1967); Ace High (1968); Black Girl (1972); Soylent Green (1973); Framed (1975); Two-Minute Warning (1976); Abe Lincoln: Freedom Fighter (1978); Alligator II: The Mutation (1991); The Importance of Being Earnest (1992); Ghosts From the Past (1996); Park Day (1998); and The Last Place on Earth (2002).

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

as Admiral Cartwright
as Admiral Cartwright

Television

Some of the made for television movies and mini-series Peters appeared in were The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1960); Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol (1972); Pomroy's People (1973); Seventh Avenue (1977); Black Beauty (1978); Roots: The Next Generation (1979); A Caribbean Mystery (1983); Broken Angel (1988); The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake (1990); Highway Heartbreaker (1992); Cosmic Slop (1994); An Element of Truth (1995); and The Locket (2002).

TV shows he guest starred on included Producers' Showcase; Adventures in Paradise; Daniel Boone; Run for Your Life; Tarzan; Judd for the Defense; Gunsmoke; Baretta; Police Story; Battlestar Galactica; Faerie Tale Theatre; Murder, She Wrote; Cagney & Lacey; Pacific Station; The Commish; The Pretender; and JAG.

From 1996 to 1998, he also appeared in six episodes of the TV series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Joseph Sisko.

Mission: Impossible (1966-1973)

as Walter DuBruis in the episode "The Money Machine" (season 2)
as Walter DuBruis in the episode "The Money Machine" (season 2)

Stage and Other Work

Throughout his career, he appeared in many plays (both musical and drama) on Broadway and other theaters. Plays he appeared in included Mister Johnson; The Body Beautiful; Kwamina; The Caucasian Chalk Circle; Anna Lucasta; Othello; The Great White Hope; Driving Miss Daisy; and My Children, My Africa.

In the 1980s, he began his voice acting career in many animated TV shows...

  • Challenge of the GoBots (1984-1985) - 6 episodes
  • Gravedale High (1990-1991) - 6 episodes
  • The Pirates of Dark Water (1991-1992) - 20 episodes
  • Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995) - 8 episodes
  • Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron (1993-1995) - 5 episodes

Some of the other animated films and TV shows he worked on were Galtar and the Golden Lance; Wildfire; DuckTales; Captain Planet and the Planeteers; The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest; The Wild Thornberrys; and The Legend of Tarzan.

Brock Peters at The Village Gate

Awards and Accolades

Peters received many awards and accolades during his career...

  • Laurel Awards (1964): Top Male New Face - Nominated
  • Drama Desk Awards (1972): Outstanding Performance "Lost in the Stars" - Winner
  • Outer Critics Circle Awards (1972): Outstanding Actor in a Musical "Lost in the Stars" - Winner
  • Tony Awards (1973): Actor in a Musical "Lost in the Stars" - Nominated
  • Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame (1976)
  • National Film Society (1977): National Life Achievement Award
  • Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award (1991)
  • Online Film & Television Association (1999): Best Guest Actor in a Syndicated Series "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" - Nominated
  • NAACP National Humanitarian Award

In 1992, he received a star for Live Performance on the Hollywood Star Walk. It can be found on the south side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard.

I have been here a long time, and I have seen this cycle happen before. I'll wait awhile and see if this flurry of activity leads to anything permanent.

— Brock Peters

During his life, he was also involved in a lot of humanitarian and community causes...

  • Dance Theatre of Harlem: Co-founder and chairman
  • Free Southern Theatre: Member
  • Third World Cinema: Member of the Creative Board
  • California State Arts Commission: Chairman

He was also a board member for numerous organisations including the L.A. Task Force for Africa and L.A. Relations; the National Urban League Guild; the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts; and the congressional Black Caucus' Communications Task Force.

In 1961, he married Dolores Daniels and they had one daughter. The marriage lasted until the death of Dolores in 1989.

Brock Peters dies on 23 August 2005 from pancreatic cancer. He is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Brock Peters co-stars as Admiral Cartwright, a role he had previously played in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" (1986)

 

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