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The Big Valley Tribute - Peter Breck

 
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Michelle P.
Margaret McCain
Margaret McCain


Joined: 31 Jan 2009
Posts: 6398


Location: Harrison, AR

PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:12 pm    Post subject: The Big Valley Tribute - Peter Breck  Reply with quote

Sorry this is so late, but I've been sick (and still am) for the past week...Lee Majors will be coming soon I hope!

[c]Peter Breck[/c]



Most of us probably know Peter best as Nick Barkley on “The Big Valley.”  But that only covered six years of this man’s life!  There was so much more to this man than just playing a hot-headed middle son of a rich family ranch!  

Peter is a husband to Diane Bourne, whom he married back in 1960.  They have been married now for almost 50 years!  Peter and Diane had a son born to them in 1962.  Peter thought he was the joy of their lives.  He died from Leukemia in the early 1980’s.  They had no other children.

But, what am I doing?  The best way to hear a biography is straight from the horses’s mouth (or from Peter’s mouth)…Here it is:

Quote:
Hi Folks!
Welcome to my website. Years ago when I first started out on this quest of becoming an actor , I never thought I would see the day when I would be inviting you  - my fans – to join me on a trip back to when all this started via “THE WEB”!
I arrived on this here “sphere”  on March 13 , 1929 in Rochester, New York. My mother was Doris Goings Breck and my father was Joseph {Jobie} Breck. Dad was a jazz musician who played with all the greats of that era including Fats Waller, Bix Biederbeck , Paul Whiteman , Billie Holiday.
I lived with my grandparents in Haverhill , Mass. in my earlier years because Mom & Dad were on the road a lot. They all  thought that I would be better off staying at home with my grandparents & my Aunt Polly , rather than moving about from city to city – hotel to hotel.  (They never asked me because I would have loved it.)
My parents divorced and both remarried. Dad married a wonderful lady – Mary Breck. That marriage gave me a brother , Georgie. We became very close when I was doing “Black Saddle” but , sadly , he passed when he was only 24 due to complicated heart problems from a previous operation.  My mother married Al Weber , who was the sports editor of the Rochester – Times Union and I went to live with them. I have two sisters from this marriage – Judith and Virginia (Judy and Ginnie) My nickname was Buddy.  Upon leaving John Marshall High School , Buddy went into the navy  and became a first class petty officer –{baker – yep! I baked bread and fried pies} My naval duties took place on the USS Franklin Delano Roosevelt {FDR} – aircraft carrier.  Going back to my years at John Marshall for a minute – I made lifelong friends there. We still , to this day , all keep in touch and get together. Mind you , it is more than some 50 years ago that we first met. Friendships like these are invaluable. I treasure them deeply.
After my discharge from the navy , I returned to Rochester. My buddies and I used to hang out at Billy Schu’s bar , where we solved a lot of earth shattering problems – or so we thought. It was decided that we would all go to college and it was also decided what college. The University of Houston in Texas was the winner. Now what college wouldn’t be a winner with this group? It was a great decision because we had a wonderful time there. Everybody went off and studied whatever their interest was . I settled for English and Drama . This was the start of my acting career. My first theatre was the Attic Theatre which was part and parcel of the drama department – University of Houston. Enter Nina Vance –The Alley Theatre – a glorious start to what became a very strong  foundation for my career. Nina saw me in a production of “Bury the Dead” at the University and suggested that I come by and talk to her in regards to working at the Alley. This is when the Alley was a converted electric fan store  { in Houston , you needed them } Again , I fell right in line with some nice people as well as talented.  We did many projects – I performed in all of them. Nina was a task master ---  YOU  LEARNED!!!   I can’t thank her enough for all that she gave me..
I also started to sing at different clubs around Houston , when I had free time. My club act was nothing to brag about but I needed the experience and experience is what I got. Thanks to a buddy , Hy Bice , who is a sax player and knew of clubs where I could work at night.  
All of sudden , Nina got word from Zelda Feichandler of the Washington Arena Stage that Zelda was interested in seeing me when I saw it possible. We had just completed “Stalag 17” at the Alley . Nina said “I’ll kick your butt if you don’t go there. We’ll miss you but it’s a good move.”  I still had a commitment to work with Eugene Van Grona of the Four Arts Theatre in Houston so I went ahead and worked with that group on “This is Eliria Lady” or “Twelfth Night” --- Shakespeare……. Commitments filled!
Off I go to Washington,D.C. The Washington Arena Stage was known for it’s productions of the classics and semi-classics , which I wanted to get into a little deeper.
A great turning point in my career took place at this theatre. I was doing G.B. Shaw’s “Man of Destiny”  playing the role of  Napoleon’s adjutant – a very stiff , spit and polished young lieutenant.    Brooks Atkinson , who was the dean of all theatre critics at that time {see reviews )  and Robert Mitchum came to see the play on the same night. They both came backstage. Mr. Atkinson advised me to “make my move” and Mitchum said to me “Do you wanna make a movie?”  I made my move and made the movie “Thunder Road”. It was filmed in North Carolina. From there , I was off to L.A.  where Mitchum put me up with everything I needed , including a Jaguar roadster to use until I could get my own car.
My first film in L.A. was “The Beatniks” , which came out of nowhere .   A low----very low budget film. This was followed by a major film “I want to live” starring Susan Hayward who was a wonderful actress and very helpful to me.  It was my first occasion to meet a very exciting director – Mr. Robert Wise - who along with “I want to live” is responsible for other  fine films such as  “West Side Story”  , “The Apartment” , etc.
After doing several more films , Bob Mitchum decided some introductions were in order. He took me to Four Star Studios where I met Dick Powell , who was the head of  Four Star ,Inc.  For your information the Four Stars were Ida Lupino , David Niven , Charles Boyer and Mr. Powell. -------  Good Company , eh? {and that’s Canadian}   Mr. Powell , after seeing my performances on other T.V. shows , offered me the lead in a new series “Lawgun”. It went on the air as “Black Saddle” --- my role being Clay Culhane.  The other two stars were Anna-Lisa and Russell Johnson – two wonderful  people to work with.  
I might mention that at this point in time , I met a dancer – Diane Bourne – who became my wife in 1960 and she still is ---- come June , 2006 it will have been 47 years.  In 1962 , our son Christopher came to us. He was the joy of our lives.
When “Black Saddle” came to an end , there was a Warner Bros. contract waiting in the wings. Here I go --- I am about to find out what life is like as a contract player at a major studio . I guest-starred on every one of their series more than once  - I always guest-starred {click on filmography}  I also did the films “Lad – a Dog” and “Portrait of a Mobster” while there.
After leaving Warner Bros., I was offered a film “Shock Corridor” which was directed , written and associate produced by Samuel Fuller.  It went to Cannes and won Best Picture. Over the years , it has developed somewhat of a cult following.
I next did the play “A Thousand Clowns”. I was told on opening night that there were three producers in the audience looking  for a certain character in their forthcoming T.V. series. It was a lead and would be going to work within a couple of weeks. All worked out fine for me .  I got the role of “Nick Barkley” --  the name of the series was “Big Valley”  . The head of the clan was Barbara Stanwyck.  Always work with a strong lady and I have been doing just that -----  Remember Susan Hayward?   --  also a pretty strong lady. The whole cast consisted of exciting and strong people. How about “Six Million Dollar Man”? ---  Lee Majors. Disney’s new find ----  Linda Evans.  Richard Long , who wound up being my buddy – the oldest brother. I was the second oldest brother , younger than Dick Long.  The youngest brother in the family was Charles Briles – his character went to college at the end of the first season and was never heard from again ----  thanks to the writing of the producer / writers. Charles is , and was , a very talented young man and I was shocked.
Richard is no longer with us nor is Barbara.
What a great ride that show was – wonderful people to work with , good writers & directors , exciting guest stars and scripts that were worth doing.  For more fun reading click on Big Valley.
In the 70’s , I returned to my first love – acting and directing in theatre. I appeared all over the United States and Canada in many plays such as “The Rainmaker” , “Mr. Roberts” , “Accommodations” {one of my favorite comedies to do} , “A Thousand Clowns” , etc.    Click on theatre and reviews.
In the mid-eighties , I moved to Vancouver with my wife and son. The film industry was in its infancy in Vancouver at that point. I was asked by a casting director if I would consider teaching one class a week , so that the young actors could learn something about film technique. One class rapidly grew into a full time acting academy – The Breck Academy , which I ran for ten years.  It was a great joy to observe and watch young actors grow into performers (and good ones).
At this point in time , Diane and I faced the worst tragedy of our life. Our son , Christopher , was diagnosed with leukemia – the worst form – Acute Myeloid.  He fought the disease for two years with courage , dignity and a big smile. He fought a good fight but it wasn’t to be. Fate stepped in and took him. He had tremendous support from family , friends and many  students at the Academy . Two friends , in particular , were as devoted to him as we were. They being his “Paisan” – Brano & Vinnie. We all miss you Chris.
We are now kicking back a little bit more in life. I write a column for Wildest Westerns magazine , which I thoroughly enjoy  (click on "Wildest Westerns" ,"Televisions Toughest Cowboy",  "Cut 'em off at the Pass!", "Cut 'em off at the Pass!" No. 2, "Westerns, Learn to Like Them or Else".  And speaking of kicking back -----  I just happen to have a C.D. of the same name “Just kickin’ back with Peter Breck”. It is all original tunes and it can be purchased through this site shortly  (click on C.D.).    
I still enjoy doing film and television work. I  try to do several projects a year.  In 2006 , I hope to be doing more personal appearances where I can get out and meet more of my fans. I am grateful to all of them for their loyalty.
Peter

(From his personal Website.  URL is included at the end of this post)

Movies:
Peter is best known for his television roles, but let’s not forget that he DID do some movies:

Thunder Road (1958) – Uncredited
I Want to Live (1958) – Uncredited
The Wild and the Innocent (1959) – Chip
The Beatniks (1960) – Bob ‘Moon’ Mooney
Portrait of a Mobster (1961) – Frank Brennan
Red Nightmare (1962) – Russian Officer
Lad: A Dog (1962) -  Stephen Tremayne
Hootenanny Hoot (1963) – Ted Grover
The Crawling Hand (1963) – Steve Curan
Shock Corridor (1963) – Johnny Barrett
The Glory Guys (1965) – Lt. Bunny Hodges
A Man for Hanging (1973) – Avery Porter
Benji (1974) – Dr. Chapman
Black Beauty (1978) – Dr. Halverson
The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) – King Leonidas
Terminal City Ricochet (1990) – Ross Glimore
Highway 61 (1991) – Mr. Watson
Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Clause (1991) – Chambers
I Still Dream of Jeannie (1991) – Sham-Ir
The Unnamable II: The Statement of Randolph Carter (1993) – Sheriff Hatch
Sworn to Vengeance (1993) – Chief Kelly
Decoy (1995) – Wellington
Lulu (1996)
Enemy Action (1999) – Gen. Turner

Television – Character Actor
Sheriff of Cochise (1956)
The Gray Ghost (1957)
U.S. Marshal (1957)
The Court of Last Resort (1958)
Tombstone Territory (1958)
Highway Patrol (1958)
Have Gun – Will Travel (1958)
Wagon Train (1958)
The Restless Gun (1958)
Zane Grey Theater (1958 and 1959)
Sea Hunt (1959)
Sugarfoot (1960)
Bronco (1961)
The Roaring 20’s (1962)
Hawaiian Eye (1960-1962)
Maverick (1960-1962)
Surfside 6 (1961 and 1962)
Lawman (1958, 1961, and 1962)
The Gallant Men (1962)
Cheyenne (1961 and 1962)
77 Sunset Strip (1958, 1961, and 1962)
Gunsmoke (1958 and 1963)
The Outer Limits (1963)
Mr. Novak (1963)
Bonanza (1964)
Branded (1965)
Perry Mason (1963, 1964, and 1965)
Kraft Suspense Theatre (1965)
The Virginian (1964 and 1970)
Alias Smith and Jones (1971)
Mission Impossible (1972)
Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law (1973)
McMillan & Wife (1974)
S.W.A.T. (1975)
The Six Million Dollar Man (1977)
Vega$ (1978)
The Incredible Hulk (1980)
The Dukes of Hazzard (1981)
Fantasy Island (1979 and 1982)
General Hospital (1982)
Masquerade (1983)
The Fall Guy (1981, 1984, and 1985)
The Outer Limits (1996)
The New Batman Adventures (1998)
L.A. Heat (1999)
Joe Doe (2002)

Starring Roles
Peter had 2 starring roles during his career:

1. Black Saddle:  Black Saddle was about a ex-gunfighter-turn-lawyer who had lost his family during a gunfight.  He gives up his guns (but not really) in order to represent people who are being accused of crimes.  Sometimes his clients are guilty, and sometimes innocent.  

He co-stars with Russell Johnson who plays the town Marshal, Gib Scott.  The two men have an interesting relationship, and in some episodes, you are left wondering if they are friends or enemies.  There were several episodes where Marshal Scott tried to find a reason to throw Culhane in jail, but never quite succeeded at finding him a bad guy.

Then there’s the widow, Nora Travers who losses her father during the series during a gunfight in the hotel she owns.  Both Clay and Marshal Gib are attracted to her and they both compete for her attention, which she of course LOVES!

This is a great show, but unfortunately it only lasted 1 season, producing 44 episodes. All three characters appeared in all 44 episodes.
Here is Episode 7: Client: Robinson
Part 1:

Link


Part 2:

Link


Part 3:

Link


2. The Big Valley
I don’t think I need to go into much detail on this show.  Peter played Nick Barkley, the middle son of Victoria Barkley.  Nick was known as the hot-headed brother.  I think we see this really well in the very first episode:
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2obzM4Medo8]

Probably another one of Nick Barkley’s best moments is the episode “The Iron Box”Part 1:

Link


Part 2:

Link


Part 3:

Link


Part 4:

Link


Part 5:

Link


Other Videos
First of all, I want to include the episode from “The Fall Guy".  You see Lee Majors with Peter Breck, as long as many other famous Western stars!

Part 1:

Link


Part 2:

Link


Part 3:

Link


Part 4:

Link


Part 5:

Link


Fantasy Island:

Link


Bonanza:  The entire episode’s available, but this is my favorite part.
Part 4:

Link


Part 5:

Link


Branded: The Mission

Link


Dukes of Hazzard: The Hack of Hazzard

Link


Websites:
Peter Breck’s Official Website:  www.peterbreck.ca
Peter Breck on IMDB: www.imdb.com/name/nm0106539
Peter Breck on Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Breck

(I wanted some more Western videos on here, but You Tube was apparently on the fritz earlier...sorry!)
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Michelle P.
Margaret McCain
Margaret McCain


Joined: 31 Jan 2009
Posts: 6398


Location: Harrison, AR

PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some pictures:

















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warr6362
Tenderfoot
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just love the old westerns.  Rifleman, The Big Valley, Bonanza, Laramie.  There are too many to list.  I love the old Roy Rogers and Dale Evans movies, they are clean and wholesome unlike a lot of the stuff on TV today.  Peter Breck is one of my favorites.  His portrayal of Nick Barkley is one of the best!!  Chuck Conners is the epitome of a single dad!!  I like the hard working ethics these portray along with the love, fun, and laughter.  But lets not forget the action!!  
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cowgirl
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Location: North Fork - New Mexico Territory c/o of The McCain Ranch

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I just love the old westerns.  Rifleman, The Big Valley, Bonanza, Laramie.  There are too many to list.  I love the old Roy Rogers and Dale Evans movies, they are clean and wholesome unlike a lot of the stuff on TV today.  Peter Breck is one of my favorites.  His portrayal of Nick Barkley is one of the best!!  Chuck Conners is the epitome of a single dad!!  I like the hard working ethics these portray along with the love, fun, and laughter.  But lets not forget the action!!


I too love the old westerns. Like you, my favorites are the TC Western Classics.

I don't think anybody could portray Nick Barkley as well as he did. He's like a bull in a china shop.  

I really enjoy him watching him when he gets upset. He is so funny. Hi s bite is worse then his bite.

I also like seeing how his friendship with Heath had grown over the years.


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