Bob Peck

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Bob Peck
Peck as Ronald Craven in Edge of Darkness
Robert Peck

(1945-08-23)23 August 1945
Died4 April 1999(1999-04-04) (aged 53)
Kingston-upon-Thames, London, England
Years active1972–1999
(m. 1982)
AwardsBAFTA TV Award
Best Actor
1986 Edge of Darkness

Robert Peck (23 August 1945 – 4 April 1999) was an English actor who played Ronald Craven in the television serial Edge of Darkness, for which he won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor. He was also known for his role as game warden Robert Muldoon in the film Jurassic Park.

Early life[edit]

Robert Peck was born into a working-class family in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, on 23 August 1945. He attended Leeds Modern School in Lawnswood, and performed with the National Youth Theatre for six weeks when he was 15. He then studied at Leeds College of Art, where he received a Diploma in Art and Design, and where he was involved in student amateur dramatics.[1]


Stage career[edit]

Before breaking into film and television work, Peck was a regular actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) alongside Ian McKellen, Donald Sinden and Judi Dench.[2] Between 1979 and 1980 he played Iago alongside Donald Sinden in Othello, in both Stratford and London.[3] He made a memorable appearance on stage in the RSC production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, originally by Charles Dickens, playing two characters: the boisterous Yorkshireman John Browdie and the predatory Sir Mulberry Hawk, and repeated these roles on Broadway and when the production was filmed for television in 1982. He played the character of Macduff in Trevor Nunn's acclaimed 1976 stage and television versions of Macbeth, and re-appeared in another production of the play in 1982, this time playing Macbeth himself. According to Peck's fellow RSC performer and veteran McKellen, Peck is the actor he considers he "learned the most from".[4]

Edge of Darkness[edit]

Peck's television career began in the 1970s, with his first television roles being in the BBC's Thirty-Minute Theatre anthology series in 1972, in which he appeared in the episode "Bypass". He also appeared in various other successful television productions such as Z-Cars and Play for Today. He also appeared in the films Royal Flash and Parker.

In 1985 television writer Troy Kennedy Martin - who had previously written the screenplay for the film The Italian Job and created the popular police procedural television series Z-Cars (in which Peck had appeared during the 1970s) - cast Peck in the starring role of policeman Ronald Craven in his television miniseries Edge of Darkness. This crime drama/political thriller follows Peck's character as he attempts to unravel the truth behind the brutal murder of his daughter, portrayed in the series by Joanne Whalley. Another of Peck's co-stars in the series was American actor Joe Don Baker, along with fellow British actors Charles Kay and Ian McNeice.

The series was broadcast on BBC Two in six episodes from 4 November to 9 December 1985. During its run the show attracted four million viewers and spiralled Peck to fame, winning him a British Academy Television Award for Best Actor at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards. After the series ended, Peck had become a figure of popularity and a national favourite.[5]

Film success[edit]

After gaining popularity for his starring role in Edge of Darkness, Peck began appearing in films. After a few theatre appearances, Peck made his first appearance as a main character in a film again playing a policeman, John Graham, based in Kenya in 1950, who takes under his wing the son of a murdered black priest in the 1987 film The Kitchen Toto. He also appeared in the 1987 film On the Black Hill, adapted from the 1982 novel of the same name by Bruce Chatwin. The role which really launched his career as a film actor was his portrayal of the android Byron, in the post-apocalyptic science-fiction adventure film Slipstream (1989), in which he appeared alongside Mark Hamill, Bill Paxton, F. Murray Abraham, Ben Kingsley and Robbie Coltrane. During the late-1980s, he also appeared in television shows including The Storyteller, The Jim Henson Hour and Screen One.

Peck also voiced all the male characters in the children's live action TV series combined with stop motion animation, Forget Me Not Farm on the BBC in 1990.

Peck's image and popularity increased with appearances in films including the 1990 film Lord of the Flies as the (unnamed) marine officer. He also appeared in Screen Two, Screenplay and A TV Dante, as well as in the television films, The Black Velvet Gown and An Ungentlemanly Act. In 1993, Peck made his biggest film appearance, when he was cast as park gamekeeper Robert Muldoon in the blockbuster smash hit Jurassic Park.

After appearing in Jurassic Park, Peck appeared in the television show The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1993) playing General Targo in one episode. He also played Italian Romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi in Verdi, a television film documenting the life of the composer.

Later years[edit]

In the later years of his life and career, Peck appeared in more films, portraying the roles of Captain Sebastian Belger in Merisairas, Françoise's father in Surviving Picasso, Ravn in Smilla's Sense of Snow, Harry Briggs in FairyTale: A True Story and Denton (based on Lancelot Dent) in the film The Opium War (Chinese: 鸦片战争; pinyin: yapian zhanzheng). He also appeared in the direct-to-TV film The Scold's Bridle (1998).

In 2000, a year after Peck's death from cancer, the stop-motion animated film The Miracle Maker, was released, in which Peck voiced the character of Joseph of Arimathea. The film was dedicated to Peck's memory.


Peck won the Award for Best Actor at the British Academy Television Awards in 1986 for his portrayal of maverick policeman Ronald Craven in the television miniseries Edge of Darkness.

Personal life[edit]

Peck and actress Jill Baker were married for 17 years, from 1982 until his death, in 1999. They had three children: Hannah (born 1983), George (born 1986), and Milly (born 1990).[6]


In November 1994, Peck was diagnosed with an undisclosed type of cancer. He was said to be undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy and his agent claimed that he was making a recovery, but he died at his home in Kingston-upon-Thames, London, on 4 April 1999, at the age of 53.[7] His funeral took place in London, and his close friend and Edge of Darkness co-star Ian McNeice read a eulogy at the service. He was cremated in London and his ashes were given to his family.


Year Title Role Notes
1972 Thirty-Minute Theatre Television series
1974 Z-Cars Clive Parsons Television series
1975 Sunset Across the Bay Bertram Television drama
Royal Flash Police Inspector
1979 A Performance of Macbeth Macduff Direct-to-TV film
1981 The Three Sisters Solyony Direct-to-TV film
Bavarian Night Joe Pike Television drama
1982 Lear Lear
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby John Browdie / Sir Mulberry Hawk Television miniseries
1984 Parker Rohl
Bird of Prey 2 Greggory Television miniseries
1985 Edge of Darkness Ronald Craven Television miniseries
BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor
1986 The Disputation Pablo Christiani Direct-to-TV film
1987 After Pilkington James Westgate Television drama
The Kitchen Toto John Graham
1988 On the Black Hill Amos Jones
1989 Slipstream Byron
The Storyteller Soldier Television series
Surgikill Patient
The Owl's Legacy Narrator Series by Chris Marker
One Way Out James Television drama
1990 Ladder of Swords Detective Inspector Atherton
Lord of the Flies Marine Officer
Children Crossing John Television drama
Who Bombed Birmingham? Chief Superintendent Tom Meffen Direct-to-TV film
Shoot the Revolution Tudor Barbu Television drama
Centrepoint Armstrong Television miniseries
Forget Me Not Farm Dandelion and Burdock the Crows, Portly the Pig, Topper Tank Voice, Television series
1991 A TV Dante Dante Television miniseries
The Black Velvet Gown Percival Miller Direct-to-TV film
The War That Never Ends Nicias Direct-to-TV film
1992 An Ungentlemanly Act Major Mike Norman Direct-to-TV film
Natural Lies Andrew Fell Television series
Children of the Dragon Dr Will Flint Television series
1993 Jurassic Park Robert Muldoon
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles General Targo Television series
1994 Verdi Giuseppe Verdi Direct-to-TV film
Hard Times Thomas Gradgrind Television series
1996 The Merchant of Venice Shylock Direct-to-TV film
Merisairas Captain Sebastian Belger
Surviving Picasso Françoise's father
1997 Deadly Summer Donald Harcourt Direct-to-TV film
Smilla's Sense of Snow Ravn
Hospital! Harley Benson Direct-to-TV film
The Opium War Denton
FairyTale: A True Story Harry Briggs
1998 The Scold's Bridle Detective Sergeant Cooper Direct-to-TV film
2000 The Miracle Maker Joseph of Arimathea Posthumous release
(final film role)


  1. ^ Gardner, Lyn. (8 April 1999). Bob Peck obituary - Edge of honesty on the stage. The Guardian - Culture.
  2. ^ List of actors in Royal Shakespeare Company productions.
  3. ^ Shakespeare, William (1989). Othello – William Shakespeare. ISBN 978-0-8453-4521-4. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  4. ^ Keith Stern/CompuWeb. "28 August 2002". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  5. ^ Television | Actor in 1986 WINNER Bob Peck 'Edge Of Darkness'. Official site: BAFTA.
  6. ^ "Obituary: Bob Peck". The Independent. 9 April 1999. Archived from the original on 8 June 2022.
  7. ^ "Bob Peck, 53, Actor Of Stage and Screen –". New York Times. 10 April 1999. Retrieved 30 June 2014.

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