Paul Burke (actor)

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Paul Burke
Paul Burke Twelve OClock High 1965.JPG
1965 photo of Burke as Joe Gallagher in Twelve O'Clock High
Born (1926-07-21)July 21, 1926
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died September 13, 2009(2009-09-13) (aged 83)
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
Alma mater Pasadena Playhouse
Occupation Actor
Years active 1951–1990

First Wife: Alice Wikan [known professionally as Peggy Pryor] (8 June 1946 - 13 March 1972)

Second Wife: Evelyn Anne Peters [known professionally as Lyn Peters] (3 June 1979 - 13 September 2009, his death)
Children From first marriage:
Paula Burke Lopez
Paul Brian Burke
Dina Burke Shawkat
Stepson: Karl Steiner (died 1989)
Relatives Granddaughter, actress Alia Shawkat

Paul Burke (July 21, 1926 – September 13, 2009)[1] was an American actor best known for his lead roles in two 1960s ABC television series, Naked City and Twelve O'Clock High. He was twice nominated for an Emmy Award for his portrayal of New York Police Department detective Adam Flint in Naked City.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Burke was born in New Orleans, the son of Santa Maria (Palermo) and Martin Joseph "Marty" Burke, a boxer who fought Gene Tunney and later owned a restaurant and a nightclub known as "Marty Burke's" in the New Orleans French Quarter.[3]

After training at the Pasadena Playhouse, Burke's film career began with a small role in the movie Golden Girl. Early in his career, Burke guest starred in the syndicated series, Highway Patrol and Men of Annapolis. In 1956–1957, Burke was cast as Dr. Noah McCann in Noah's Ark, a Jack Webb-produced weekly program which aired on NBC, the story of a pair of dedicated veterinarians. Victor Rodman played the older colleague, Dr. Sam Rinehart.

In the 1957–1958 season, Burke appeared as Jeff Kittridge in five episodes of Barry Sullivan's adventure/drama series, Harbormaster. Burke also guest starred on episodes of Tightrope, Dragnet, Adventures of Superman, The Man and the Challenge, and M Squad. In the 1959–1960 season, he appeared as Robertson in the NBC espionage series Five Fingers, starring with David Hedison.

After Five Fingers, Burke was cast in the lead role of the police show Naked City, in which he appeared as Adam Flint from 1960 to 1963. Burke then appeared in the starring role of Captain (later Major, then Colonel) Joe Gallagher on Twelve O'Clock High between 1964 and 1967, during which time he met his wife, Lyn. The Twelve O'Clock High role was Burke's last lead television role.

In 1967, Burke starred in the film Valley of the Dolls as Lyon Burke, the young lawyer who befriended all three female stars and had a tempestuous relationship with Anne Welles. He also played a police officer who pursued an art thief played by Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair.[2]

During the 1970s, he appeared in three episodes each of ABC's The Love Boat and CBS's Medical Center. In 1984, he appeared as C.C. Capwell in twenty-one episodes of the NBC soap opera Santa Barbara. He appeared in supporting roles in a number of television series, including recurring roles in Dynasty from 1982–1988 and in Tom Selleck's Magnum, P.I. from 1981–1985 as Rear Admiral Hawkes. Burke also served as a television commercial spokesman for the Radio Shack electronics retailer.

Harry Connick Sr.[edit]

In 1989, Burke and Harry Connick Sr., New Orleans District Attorney, were indicted on racketeering charges for aiding and abetting a gambling operation by returning gambling records to an arrested gambler.[4] They were both acquitted of the charges.[5]

Later years and death[edit]

Burke was the grandfather of actress Alia Shawkat.

He retired from acting in the early 1990s. Suffering from leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, he died at his home in Palm Springs, California.[2] He was 83.

His second wife, Lyn Peters, died in Palm Springs on September 10, 2013, at the age of 72.[6]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1951 Fixed Bayonets! Doggie Uncredited
1952 Francis Goes to West Point Sergeant Swazey Uncredited
1953 South Sea Woman Ensign at court-martial
1955 Francis in the Navy Tate
1956 Screaming Eagles Cpl. Dreef
1957 The Disembodied Tom Maxwell
1964 Della Barney Stafford Alternative title: Fatal Confinement
1967 Valley of the Dolls Lyon Burke
1968 The Thomas Crown Affair Lt. Eddy Malone
1969 Daddy's Gone A-Hunting Jack Byrnes
1969 Once You Kiss a Stranger Jerry
1970 Guerilla Strike Force Bob Reynolds Alternative title: Maharlika
1975 Psychic Killer Lt. Jeff Morgan
Year Title Role Notes
1955 Big Town Gardiner 1 episode
Navy Log Sparks 1 episode
Highway Patrol Trooper #2217 1 episode
Stage 7 Tommy 1 episode
1957 Men of Annapolis Wesley Edmont 1 episode
1958 Tales of Wells Fargo Bud Crawford 1 episode
1959 The Millionaire Nellis 1 episode
1960 Hawaiian Eye Brad Finley 1 episode
Hotel de Paree Tad Frisbee 1 episode
Wanted: Dead or Alive Daniel Trenner 1 episode
1960–1963 Naked City Detective Adam Flint 99 episodes
1963 The Lieutenant Captain Thomson 1 episode
1964 The Great Adventure Captain Richard Pratt 1 episode
Combat! Sgt. O'Neill 1 episode
Slattery's People Dr. Robert Harrison 1 episode
1964–1967 12 O'Clock High Colonel Joseph Anson Gallagher 48 episodes
1970 Crowhaven Farm Ben Porter Television movie
1972 The Rookies Neil Montgomery Television movie
1973 The New Adventures of Perry Mason Herbert Newton 1 episode
Shaft Elliot Williamson 1 episode
1974 Police Woman Joe Fenner 1 episode
Harry O Philip Ballinger 1 episode
Mannix Anderson 1 episode
1975 McMillan & Wife Les Walker 1 episode
1976 Petrocelli John Fleming 1 episode
Starsky and Hutch Lt. Ted Cameron 2 episodes
1977 Little Ladies of the Night Frank Atkins Television movie
1978 What Really Happened to the Class of '65? McDonald 1 episode
1979 The Littlest Hobo Andy McClelland 1 episode
1980 Charlie's Angels Clifford Burke 1 episode
Trapper John, M.D. Dr. Malcolm 1 episode
1981 Vega$ Raymond Green 1 episode
1983 T. J. Hooker Capt. Frank Medavoy 1 episode
1984 The Red-Light Sting Brockelhurst Television movie
1985 Finder of Lost Loves Richard Foster 1 episode
Murder, She Wrote Herbert Upton 1 episode
1986 Hot Shots Nicholas Broderick 13 episodes
1988 Cagney & Lacey Winston Prentiss 1 episode
1990 Columbo Horace Sherwin 1 episode


  1. ^ "Paul Burke, New Orleans-born actor, dies". The Times-Picayune. September 13, 2009. Archived from the original on September 17, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c "Naked City actor Paul Burke dies", Laredo Morning Times, Laredo, Texas, September 14, 2009, p. 9A
  3. ^ Dennis, McLellan (September 15, 2009). "Paul Burke dies at 83; actor starred in gritty TV show 'Naked City'". Retrieved September 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ "New Orleans Official Denies Aiding Gambler". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 22, 1989. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Lyn Burke". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 

External links[edit]