Paul Picerni

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Paul Picerni
Picerni in 1961
Picerni as Untouchable Lee Hobson (1961)
Horacio Paul Picerni

(1922-12-01)December 1, 1922
New York City, U.S.
DiedJanuary 12, 2011(2011-01-12) (aged 88)
Resting placeSan Fernando Mission Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other namesHoracio Paul Picerni
Alma materLoyola Marymount University
Years active1946–2007
Marie Mason
(m. 1947)

Horacio Paul Picerni (December 1, 1922 – January 12, 2011) was an American actor in film and television, perhaps best known today in the role of Federal Agent Lee Hobson, second-in-command to Robert Stack's Eliot Ness, in the ABC hit television series, The Untouchables.

Early years[edit]

Picerni was born in New York City to an Italian family.[1] Raised in Corona, Queens, he was an Eagle Scout in his youth and adolescence. After high school, Picerni studied drama at Loyola University.[2]

Military service[edit]

Picerni joined the United States Army Air Forces during World War II[1] and served as a B-24 Liberator bombardier in the China-Burma-India Theater. He flew twenty-five combat missions with the 493rd Bomb Squadron of the 7th Bomb Group and received the Distinguished Flying Cross.[3]

He was part of a mission that attacked and destroyed the actual bridge made famous in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). After the Japanese surrendered, Picerni became a Special Services officer in India. Following his discharge, he enrolled at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.[3]


As a young actor returning from the war, Picerni appeared in military pictures: in Twelve O'Clock High (1949) as a bombardier and as Private Edward P. Rojeck in Breakthrough. This led to a Warner Brothers contract and a succession of roles at that studio including a Portuguese Socialist "Red" agitator in 1952's The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima and the hero of the 1953 horror classic House of Wax. After his departure from Warners, he appeared with Audie Murphy in Universal Studio's To Hell and Back.[4]


Regular roles[edit]

Picerni and Peggy McCay in a scene from the televised daytime soap opera The Young Marrieds (1964)

After Italian organizations began to complain about the use of Italian gangsters on ABC's, The Untouchables,[5] starring Robert Stack as G-man Eliot Ness, Picerni joined the cast in 1960 as Ness's number-one aide, Lee Hobson, a role that he played for the duration of the series. (He was also seen in the program's pilot, playing Tony Liguri.)[6]: 1132  He also portrayed Ed Miller on O'Hara, U.S. Treasury (1971-1972)[6] and was featured as Dan Garrett on The Young Marrieds (1964–66)[6]: 1207 

Guest appearances[edit]

In 1954, Picerni was cast as the outlaw Rube Burrow in the syndicated western television series Stories of the Century, starring and narrated by Jim Davis. That same year, he had a role in the pilot episode for the 1957-58 NBC detective series, Meet McGraw.[7]

Picerni appeared in two episodes, "Gun Hand" and "Badge to Kill" of the syndicated western series 26 Men (1957–59). He also appeared in the episode "Gypsy Boy" of Tales of the Texas Rangers. In 1957, he played a deserter in an episode of the syndicated Boots and Saddles.[7]

Between 1957 and 1960, Picerni was cast three times in different roles, the last as Duke Blaine, on the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston.[7]

In 1958, Picerni played a milkman on the ABC sitcom, The Donna Reed Show. He also portrayed a police detective in the episode "The Quemoy Story" of Behind Closed Doors.

Picerni made three guest appearances on Perry Mason during its nine-year run on CBS. In 1958 he played Charles Gallagher in "The Case of the One-Eyed Witness", and defendant Army Sgt. Joseph Dexter in "The Case of the Sardonic Sergeant". In 1963, he played murderer Walter Jefferies in "The Case of the Bouncing Boomerang". In 1964, he appeared in The Fugitive, in the episode "Search in a Windy City".[7]

In 1967, Paul appeared with his daughter Gina Picerni in the episode "The Chameleon" of My Three Sons.[7]


His autobiography, Steps to Stardom: My Story, written with the help of Tom Weaver, was published by BearManor Media in 2007.[8]

Personal life and death[edit]

Picerni married former ballet dancer Marie Mason, in 1947. They settled in Tarzana, California to raise their family; they had eight children and ten grandchildren. Two of Picerni's children predeceased him.[3]

He died from a heart attack in Palmdale, California, on January 12, 2011, at the age of 88.[4] Picerni is interred at the Roman Catholic San Fernando Mission Cemetery.[3]



Year Title Role Notes
1946 In Fast Company Street Extra Uncredited
1946 Don't Gamble with Strangers Gambling Casino Patron Uncredited
1948 Beyond Glory Second Detective Uncredited
1949 Twelve O'Clock High Bombardier Uncredited
1949 D.O.A. Assistant Photographer Uncredited
1950 When Willie Comes Marching Home Kerrigan Scenes deleted
1950 The Secret Fury Dr. Roth Uncredited
1950 A Lady Without Passport Italian Uncredited
1950 Saddle Tramp Denver
1950 I'll Get By Marine Sergeant Uncredited
1950 Three Secrets Sergeant Uncredited
1950 Dial 1119 Interpreter-Detective Uncredited
1950 Breakthrough Pvt. Edward P. Rojeck
1950 The Killer That Stalked New York Health Department Investigator Uncredited
1951 Operation Pacific Jonesy
1951 I Was a Communist for the FBI Joe Cvetic
1951 Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison Jeff Riordan
1951 Fort Worth Joe Castro
1951 Force of Arms Sheridan
1951 Jim Thorpe – All-American Man on Speaker's Platform Uncredited
1951 The Tanks Are Coming Danny Kolowicz
1952 Mara Maru Steven Ranier
1952 The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima 'Red' Agitator Uncredited
1952 Cattle Town Pepe
1952 Operation Secret Capt. Armand Dupree
1953 She's Back on Broadway Jud Kellogg
1953 House of Wax Scott Andrews
1953 The System David Wiley
1953 The Desert Song Hassan
1953 The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms Trailer Commentator Uncredited
1953 The Charge at Feather River Sergeant Scenes deleted
1954 His Majesty O'Keefe Spanish Ship Owner Uncredited
1954 Drive a Crooked Road Carl
1954 Riding Shotgun Bob Purdee Uncredited
1954 Pushover Masher in Ann's Hallway Uncredited
1954 The Shanghai Story Mr. Emilio De Verno
1954 The Bounty Hunter Jud
1954 The Adventures of Hajji Baba Nurel-Din
1955 Dial Red O Norman Roper
1955 Hell's Island Eduardo Martin
1955 Lord of the Jungle Paul Cabot
1955 Wiretapper Herbie
1955 To Hell and Back Valentino
1955 Bobby Ware Is Missing Alfred Gledhill
1956 Miracle in the Rain Priest
1956 The Come On Jannings, assistant D.A.
1956 Flight to Hong Kong Michael Quisto
1957 The Shadow on the Window Bigelow
1957 The Big Caper Harry
1957 Operation Mad Ball Pvt. Bullard Uncredited
1957 Omar Khayyam Commander
1957 The Brothers Rico Gino Rico
1958 The Deep Six Merchant Marine Uncredited
1958 Return to Warbow Deputy Sheriff Uncredited
1958 Marjorie Morningstar Philip Berman
1958 The Man Who Died Twice George
1958 Torpedo Run Lt. Burt Fisher
1959 The Young Philadelphians Louis Donetti
1960 The Apartment Patron in bar
1960 Strangers When We Meet Arthur Gerandi
1962 Pages of Death Lead Cop Short film
1964 The Age of Violence Gangster
1968 The Scalphunters Frank
1969 Che! Hector
1970 Land Raiders Carney / Arturo (as H.P. Picerni)
1970 Airport Dr. Compagno
1970 Kelly's Heroes M.P. Sergeant Scenes deleted
1971 Kotch Dr. Ramon Caudillo
1971 The Fearmaker Kent Davis
1978 Capricorn One Jerry
1979 Escape to Athena Zeno's Man
1979 Beyond the Poseidon Adventure Kurt
2007 Three Days to Vegas Jim


Year Title Role Notes
1951 The Living Christ Series James Television miniseries
1953–1954 Dragnet Rios / Hymie 2 episodes
1954 Fireside Theatre Flores Episode: "Retribution"
1954 The Public Defender Albert DeMarco Episode: "Lost Cause"
1954 The Lone Wolf Chick Walsi Episode: "The Italian Story"
1954 Mr. and Mrs. North Bert Conroy Episode: "The Girl in Cell 13"
1954 Lux Video Theatre Dr. Murger Episode: "Blind Fury"
1954 My Little Margie Episode: "Vern's Guilty Feeling"
1954 Studio 57 Bill Darrow Episode: "So False and So Fair"
1954 Climax! Episode: "Sorry, Wrong Number"
1954–1955 Four Star Playhouse Laramie Cole / Freddie 2 episodes
1954–1957 Cavalcade of America Principal John Norton / James Ohio Pattie 2 episodes
1954–1958 The Loretta Young Show Stanley Reed / Darius / Toby / Laurence Delaney 4 episodes
1955 Big Town Episode: "The Grand Almost"
1955 Stories of the Century Rube Burrows - The Alabama Wolf Episode: "Rube Burrows"
1955 Goodyear Television Playhouse Episode: "End of the Mission"
1955 Navy Log Frenchy Episode: "The Phantom of the Blue Angels"
1955 Waterfront Chris Pimmentel / Mario Ferrera / Chris Piemental 3 episodes
1955 Passport to Danger Eddie Matera Episode: "Naples"
1956 Ford Television Theatre Detective Episode: "The Clay Pigeon"
1956 Ford Star Jubilee Episode: "A Bell for Adano"
1956 The Count of Monte Cristo Patrini Episode: "The Sardinian Affair"
1956–1958 The Gale Storm Show Bengali / Sebastian 2 episodes
1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Nick Roper / Assissi #19 2 episodes
1957 Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers Jaffar Kul Sidri / Latiff Faroze 2 episodes
1957 Panic! Marvin Henderson Episode: "The Airline Hostess"
1957 Circus Boy Julio Gaetano Episode: "Little Vagabond"
1957 Broken Arrow Maj. Gregory Markson / Zele 2 episodes
1957 The Eve Arden Show Mr. Turner Episode: "White Elephant Sale"
1957 The Life of Riley Ricardo Episode: "Babs and the Latin"
1957 Tales of the Texas Rangers Philip Conzog Episode: "Gypsy Boy"
1957 The Millionaire Lawrence W. Smart Episode: "The Story of Steve Logan"
1957 Matinee Theatre Episode: "A Cloud for Jeni"
1957 Code 3 Fred Davis Episode: "Sunset Strip"
1957–1958 The Silent Service Lt. John H. Eichman / Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Burton Klakring / Exec. Officer Alan Bergner / Lt. David H. McClintock 4 episodes
1957–1958 Boots and Saddles Pvt. Grimes / Trooper Grimes 2 episodes
1957–1960 Colt .45 Duke Blaine / Jose / Quito 3 episodes
1958 26 Men Ranger Ben Thorpe / Ben Thorpe 2 episodes
1958 Zorro Pedro Murrietta 2 episodes
1958 Maverick Rene Gireaux Episode: "Escape to Tampico"
1958 The Donna Reed Show Milkman Episode: "The Foundling"
1958 Flight Episode: "Sky Hook"
1958–1963 Perry Mason Walter Jefferies / Sgt. Joseph Dexter / Charles Gallagher 3 episodes
1959 The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin Jaffar Husein Episode: "Star of India"
1959 Behind Closed Doors Mike Perrera Episode: "The Quemoy Story"
1959 Northwest Passage Guy Perro Episode: "Stab in the Back"
1959 M Squad Al Samson Episode: "The Star Witness"
1959 The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp Chief Bullhead Episode: "Horse Race"
1959 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Tony Liguri / Funzy 3 episodes
1959 Playhouse 90 Lt. Alfredo Episode: "The Killers of Mussolini"
1959–1960 Fury Tupelo / Bob 2 episodes
1959–1963 The Untouchables Lee Hobson / Tony Liguri 91 episodes
1960 Hawaiian Eye Lanakila Episode: "The Kamehameha Cloak"
1960 Bonanza Sanchez Episode: "The Spanish Grant"
1960 The Rebel Lee Ricker / Manuel Flynn / Clee 3 episodes
1960 Rawhide Bahari Episode: "Incident of the Dancing Death"
1960 Sugarfoot Gian-Paolo Fregoso Episode: "The Corsican"
1960 Shotgun Slade Quinn Episode: "The Fabulous Fiddle"
1960 Bourbon Street Beat Antonio Rossi Episode: "Wagon Show"
1960 Markham Police Captain Mascotti Episode: "Escorts a La Carte"
1960 Men into Space Bob King Episode: "Into the Sun"
1961 Whispering Smith Enrico Spanato Episode: "The Interpreter"
1963 77 Sunset Strip Bruno Cestari Episode: "5: Part 3"
1964 The Fugitive Sgt. DeSantis Episode: "Search in a Windy City"
1964 The Greatest Show on Earth Marco the Magnificent Episode: "The Night the Monkey Died"
1964 The Great Adventure Pierre Lafitte Episode: "The Pirate and the Patriot"
1964–1966 The Young Marrieds Dr. Dan Garret 158 episodes
1964–1974 Insight Tony Guzzo 3 episodes
1965–1967 My Three Sons Jack / Paul Owlfeather 2 episodes
1966 The Big Valley Peterson Episode: "The Iron Box"
1966 Combat! Private Harold Vincent Episode: "The Furlough"
1967 Batman Brown 2 episodes
1967 The Time Tunnel Mongol Warrior Episode: "Attack of the Barbarians"
1967 Hogan's Heroes Jack Williams Episode: "One in Every Crowd"
1967 The Virginian Parks Episode: "The Fortress"
1967–1974 Gunsmoke The New Marshal / Grimes / Ganns / McGee 4 episodes
1968 Lancer Provost Marshal Episode: "The Prodigal"
1968 Hawaii Five-O Charley Mangan Episode: "Yesterday Died and Tomorrow Won't Be Born"
1968–1969 Felony Squad Mark Hewitt / Walt Petrie 2 episodes
1968–1974 The F.B.I. Dom Giannelli, SAC / Fred Cochella / Joey Walters 3 episodes
1969 Bracken's World Bob Lederer Episode: "The Sweet Smell of Failure"
1970 The Name of the Game Roper Episode: "So Long, Baby, and Amen"
1970 The Old Man Who Cried Wolf Det. Green Television film
1970–1971 Here's Lucy IRS Agent / Reporter / Frank Williams / Father Lambros 4 episodes
1970–1974 Adam-12 Bill Johnson / Officer Boyd 2 episodes
1970–1975 Mannix Donegan / Sgt. Les Packer / Detective O'Fallon / Roger Stack / Sheriff 5 episodes
1971 The Immortal Klabo Episode: "Sanctuary"
1971 Love, American Style Alfred Segment: "Love and Murphy's Bed"
1971 Medical Center Reinart Episode: "Danger Point"
1971 The Partners Carter Episode: "New Faces"
1971–1972 O'Hara, U.S. Treasury Bill Clark / Inspector Ed Miller 3 episodes
1972 Room 222 Fred Buchanan Episode: "Lift, Thrust and Drag"
1973 Emergency! Ed Duran Episode: "The Professor"
1973 Circle of Fear Dr. Richardson Episode: "Graveyard Shift"
1973 Marcus Welby, M.D. Dr. Arthur Oliver Episode: "A Question of Fault"
1974 Banacek Det. Ed Winslow Episode: "The Vanishing Chalice"
1974 Big Rose: Double Trouble Blass Television film
1974 Run, Joe, Run Fisherman Episode: "Bon Voyage"
1974 Ironside Armand Episode: "Run Scared"
1974–1978 Kojak Vic Whitley / Det. Albert Cohen 2 episodes
1975 Kolchak: The Night Stalker Humane Society Man Episode: "Primal Scream"
1975 Lucy Gets Lucky Packy West Television film
1975 Police Story Capt. Gus Shambray Episode: "Officer Needs Help"
1975 McCloud Gregory's Thug Episode: "Park Avenue Pirates"
1975 McCoy Glen Phillips Episode: "Double Take"
1975–1977 Barnaby Jones Stan Toland / Anthony Calvelli 2 episodes
1976 Special Treat Dominick Episode: "Papa and Me"
1976 Alice Vinny Randazzo Episode: "The Dilemma"
1976–1977 Starsky & Hutch Patsy Cairo / Johnny Doors 3 episodes
1977 Something for Joey Joe Paterno Television film
1977 The Red Hand Gang Fred Norris 4 episodes
1977 The Last Hurrah Dr. Mike Santangelo Television film
1978 Project U.F.O. Ed Mason Episode: "Sighting 4005: The Medicine Bow Incident"
1978 Sam Episode: #1.4
1978 Sword of Justice Burcella Episode: "The Gemini Connection"
1979 Fantasy Island Nick Largo Episode: "Photographs/Royal Flush"
1979 Women in White Technician Television film
1979 Marciano John Addelli Television film
1979 The French Atlantic Affair Panama Hat Television miniseries
1979 The Incredible Hulk Jim Episode: "Captive Night"
1980 Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story Lt. Lagason Television film
1980 Vegas Deputy Episode: "Christmas Story"
1981 Trapper John, M.D. Dr. DePalma Episode: "A Family Affair"
1981 Quincy, M.E. Sloan Episode: "Memories of Allison"
1981 The Fall Guy Al Maglia Episode: "The Rich Get Richer"
1982 Strike Force Dr. Bernardo Episode: "The John Killer"
1982 Gavilan Petros Episode: "Destination Hero"
1982–1983 T. J. Hooker Rossi / The Clerk 2 episodes
1983 Capitol Col. Amir
1983–1985 Matt Houston Dr. Perlin 2 episodes
1986 Sledge Hammer! Cop Announcer Episode: "They Shoot Hammers, Don't They?"
1986 Simon & Simon Maynard Press Episode: "Like Father, Like Son"
1987 The Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission Ernesto Ferruci Television film
1998–2000 Diagnosis: Murder Chris Benway / Judge Kenyon 2 episodes


  1. ^ a b Lentz III, Harris M. (2012). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2011. McFarland. p. 266. ISBN 9780786469949. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  2. ^ "Cowpoke Training". Blue Island Sun Standard. Illinois, Blue Island. September 6, 1951. p. 9. Retrieved December 26, 2016 – via open access
  3. ^ a b c d "World War II vet, TV and movie actor Paul Picerni, 88, of Tarzana dies". Los Angeles Daily News. January 14, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Hevesi, Dennis (12 February 2018). "Paul Picerni, Actor in 'Untouchables,' Dies at 88". The New York Times – via
  5. ^ Renga, Dana (2011). Mafia Movies: A Reader. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9781442661745. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc.; ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. pg. 783.
  7. ^ a b c d e "The Official Paul Picerni Website". To Time Machine Collectibles. Retrieved July 10, 2012.
  8. ^ "PASSINGS: Paul Picerni, Guy Greengard, Romulus Linney". Los Angeles Times. January 18, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2018.

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