Brock Peters

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Brock Peters
Brock Peters 1961.JPG
Peters in 1961.
Born George Fisher
(1927-07-02)July 2, 1927
Harlem, New York, United States
Died August 23, 2005(2005-08-23) (aged 78)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Actor
Years active 1949–2005
Spouse(s) Dolores Daniels (m. 1961; her death 1989)

Brock Peters (born George Fisher; July 2, 1927 – August 23, 2005) was an American actor, best known for playing the role of Tom Robinson in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. He also gained recognition among Star Trek fans for his portrayals of Fleet Admiral Cartwright in two of the Star Trek feature films and Joseph Sisko, father of Benjamin Sisko, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and was also notable for his role as Hatcher in Soylent Green.[1]

Early life[edit]

Peters was born George Fisher in New York City, the son of Alma A. (née Norford) and Sonnie Fisher, a sailor.[2][1] He was African American.

Peters set his sights on a show business career early on, at the age of 10. A product of New York's famed High School of Music and Art, Peters initially fielded more odd jobs than acting jobs as he worked his way up from Harlem poverty. Landing a stage role in Porgy and Bess in 1949, he quit physical education studies at City College of New York and went on tour with the opera.

Career[edit]

Peters with Fess Parker on Daniel Boone in the "Pompey" episode, 1964.

Peters made his film debut in Carmen Jones in 1954, but began to make a name for himself in such films as To Kill a Mockingbird and The L-Shaped Room. He received a Tony nomination for his starring stint in Broadway's Lost in the Stars.

He sang background vocals on the 1956 hit "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)" by Harry Belafonte, as well as on Belafonte's 1957 hit, "Mama Look a Boo-Boo". He also sang on the song "Where" from Randy Weston's 1959 album Live at the Five Spot and shared vocal duties with Martha Flowers on Weston's album of the following year, Uhuru Afrika.

In 1963 he played Matthew Robinson in "Heavens Above" a British satirical comedy film starring Peter Sellers, directed by John and Roy Boulting.

He played a supporting role as the gangster Rodriguez in the 1965 film The Pawnbroker.

He was a special guest star in the third season of The Streets of San Francisco, playing the character "Jacob" in the episode called "Jacob's Boy" (1974).

In the film Abe Lincoln, Freedom Fighter (1978), Peters plays Henry, a freed black slave who is falsely accused of robbery but, defended by Abraham Lincoln, is found not guilty due to the fact he has a damaged hand and could not have committed the crime. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Peters plays Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white girl, whom Atticus Finch shows could not have committed because his hand (and arm) were damaged.

In 1970 Peters portrayed the voice of African-American boxer Jack Johnson in Bill Cayton's film of the same name, and it is in this role that he can be heard at the end of Miles Davis' soundtrack album, Jack Johnson, saying: "I'm Jack Johnson. Heavyweight champion of the world. I'm black. They never let me forget it. I'm black all right! I'll never let them forget it!"

In radio, Peters was the voice of Darth Vader for the National Public Radio adaptation of the original Star Wars trilogy. He also played the role of a Colonial prosecutor trying to make a murder case against Starbuck in an episode of the original Battlestar Galactica.

He worked in the films Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as Fleet Admiral Cartwright of Starfleet Command.[3] Peters portrayed Joseph Sisko, father of Deep Space Nine's commanding officer, Benjamin Sisko, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

In 1993, he was a member of the jury at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.[4]

In early 2005, Peters guest-starred in an episode of JAG during its final season, "Bridging the Gulf", season 10 episode 15.

Peters worked with Charlton Heston on several theater productions in the 1940s and 1950s. The two became friends and subsequently worked together on several films, including Major Dundee, Soylent Green, and Two-Minute Warning.

He voiced Soul Power in the animated series Static Shock (2000–2004).

Personal life[edit]

Peters delivered Gregory Peck's eulogy at Peck's funeral in 2003. His character, Tom Robinson, was defended by Peck's Atticus Finch in 1962's To Kill a Mockingbird.[5][6]

Death[edit]

He died in Los Angeles, California, of pancreatic cancer on August 23, 2005, at the age of 78.[1]

Selected filmography[edit]

Other notable performances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Mel Watkins (August 24, 2005). "Brock Peters of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Is Dead at 78". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-01-29. Brock Peters, the versatile film and stage actor, singer and producer who first rose to prominence in the 1960's and 70's with his powerful singing voice and poignant screen portrayals of angry, belligerent black men, died yesterday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 78. The cause was complications of pancreatic cancer, his companion, Marilyn Darby, told The Associated Press. ... 
  2. ^ Brock Peters Biography (1927-)
  3. ^ "Brock Peters Biography". StarTrek.com. CBS Studios. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 
  4. ^ "Berlinale: 1993 Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  5. ^ Rubin, Joel; Hoffman, Alice (17 June 2003). "Peck Memorial Honors Beloved Actor and Man". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  6. ^ McLaughlin, Katie (3 February 2012). "'Mockingbird' film at 50: Lessons on tolerance, justice, fatherhood hold true". CNN. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Brock Peters Is Chosen For Role in 'Pawnbroker'". New York Times. September 24, 1963. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 

External links[edit]