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Peter Marshall (entertainer)

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Peter Marshall
Marshall in 1965
Ralph Pierre LaCock

(1926-03-30) March 30, 1926 (age 98)
  • Actor
  • singer
  • TV host
  • radio personality
Years active1950–2021[1]
Known forOriginal host of Hollywood Squares (1966–1981)
Nadene R. Teaford
(m. 1947; div. 1973)
(m. 1977; div. 1983)
Laurie Stewart
(m. 1989)
Children4, including Pete LaCock
RelativesJoanne Dru (sister)

Ralph Pierre LaCock (born March 30, 1926), better known by his stage name Peter Marshall, is an American former game show host, television, radio personality, singer, and actor. He was the original host of The Hollywood Squares from 1966 to 1981 and has almost fifty television, movie, and Broadway credits.

Marshall was given his stage name by John Robert Powers. Powers had chosen the last name Marshall for Peter's sister (who later chose to use Joanne Dru instead), and Peter adopted it early in his career and paired it with an anglicized version of his middle name.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Marshall was born Ralph Pierre LaCock on March 30, 1926, to Ralph and Jean LaCock, a show business family,[4] in Huntington, West Virginia. Following his father's suicide when Marshall was ten, he moved to New York City to be with his mother, a costume designer. After he graduated from high school, he was drafted into the Army in 1944 and stationed in Italy. He was originally in the artillery, but was recruited to be a disc jockey at a radio station in Naples. He was discharged in 1946 with the rank of staff sergeant.[5]

His elder sister Joan became the film and television actress known as Joanne Dru.[6] She was best known for her roles in such films as Red River, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, and All the King's Men.[7]

Early career[edit]

In the 1950s, Marshall earned his living as part of a comedy act with Tommy Noonan,[8] and they appeared in night clubs, on television variety shows, and in films including Starlift (1951), The Rookie (1959) and Swingin' Along (1962).[9] (Noonan and Marshall were related by marriage; Noonan's half-brother John Ireland was married to Marshall's sister Joanne Dru.)

Marshall appeared in the 1958 episode "The Big Hoax" of the syndicated television series Harbor Command. In 1963, he appeared as Lucy's brother-in-law, Hughie, in The Lucy Show episode "Lucy's Sister Pays A Visit".[10]


The Hollywood Squares[edit]

Although Marshall occasionally worked in film and television, he could not find regular work in the industry until his friend Morey Amsterdam recommended him to fill in for Bert Parks (who emceed the pilot) as the host of the game show The Hollywood Squares in 1966. Though Marshall did not initially want the job, he took it in order to ensure that rival comic Dan Rowan would not get it.[1] Marshall's grudge stemmed back to when he and Noonan had written material for Rowan and Martin, but Rowan had shown virtually no respect to Noonan when Noonan fell terminally ill in the mid-1960s (as opposed to Dick Martin, who was fully supportive of Noonan's fight).[1] He expected to spend 13 weeks as host, then return to Broadway, but ultimately hosted for 15 years and more than 5,000 episodes.[11][12] The show was canceled in 1980,[13] but production continued in syndication into 1981.


Marshall was the host of his own short-lived syndicated music and comedy series, The Peter Marshall Variety Show, which aired during the 1976–1977 season in markets in the United States. The cast featured Rod Gist, Denny Evans and Chapter 5, and offered an array of guests from pop music and comedy, including Blood Sweat & Tears, John Davidson, Pure Prairie League, Rip Taylor, and The Manhattans.

After the completion of the final run of The Hollywood Squares in 1981, Marshall continued working in game shows and playing character roles. He appeared on the game shows Fantasy (1982) with cohost Leslie Uggams,[14] All-Star Blitz (1985),[5] Yahtzee (1988),[5] the "East Hollywood Squares" skit on In Living Color (1994),[15] and Reel to Reel (1998).[16]

In 1986, Marshall portrayed Bob Kenny, game show host accused of murder of a game show contestant on an episode "To Live and Die on TV" on Sledge Hammer!.[17]

In 1989, Marshall hosted the unaired pilot for 3rd Degree! (a Burt & Bert Production in association with Kline & Friends). When the series was picked up for syndication, show producer Bert Convy decided to leave his position as the host of the syndicated edition of Win, Lose or Draw and take Marshall's place on 3rd Degree without informing Marshall. Marshall filed a lawsuit against Convy for the action, but later dropped it after Convy's diagnosis of terminal brain cancer was made public.[18]

In 2002, he returned to the new version of The Hollywood Squares as a panelist during a Game Show Week hosted by Tom Bergeron. Marshall occupied the prestigious center square. For one day that week, Marshall took his old position at the podium to host while Bergeron was the center square.[5]


Marshall hosted a popular mid-day radio show for more than 15 years on the Music of Your Life radio network.

Time Life[edit]

Marshall, along with co-host, singer Debby Boone, are featured in a successful infomercial presented by Time Life, the Music of Your Life Collection. Featuring hit songs from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the infomercial was re-released in 2016 after selling more than a million CDs a few years prior.[19]

Other work[edit]

In 1979, Marshall sang "Back Home Again in Indiana" at the Indianapolis 500.[20]

In 1979, he played Dr. Todd Gardner, author of a bestseller, on The Love Boat S2 E15 sketch "The 'Now' Marriage".

In 1982, he had a small role in the film adaptation of Annie as radio announcer Bert Healy.

In 2002, Marshall published a book about his experiences, Backstage With The Original Hollywood Square.[21]

In 2009, he appeared on television promoting compact disc hits from the Big Band era, and also hosted a two-hour PBS special, The Big Band Years. In 2010, Marshall, along with Monty Hall and Wink Martindale, appeared with their wives on a special Game Show Legend version of The Newlywed Game. The special was hosted by Bob Eubanks; the Martindales won the game.[22]

In 2012, Marshall hosted an entertainment-filled memorial service in Branson, Missouri, for singer Andy Williams.[23]

In 2014, Marshall returned to West Virginia to host four games of The West Virginia Squares as part of Charleston's FestivALL. The game, which featured questions about the state's history, included West Virginia notables such as Joyce Dewitt and Landon Murphy.[24][25]

In 2017, he narrated the Rose Marie documentary film Wait for Your Laugh.[26]

Marshall retired from the entertainment industry in 2021, following a bout with COVID-19.[1]



Marshall's Broadway credits include Skyscraper,[27] La Cage aux Folles[28] and The Music Man.

West End[edit]

In London's 1962 West End production, Marshall appeared in the stage musical Bye Bye Birdie,[29] a satire on American popular culture in the 1950s inspired by singer Elvis Presley receiving a draft notice into the Army. Marshall played the lead character of Albert Peterson, who writes a song for the pop-singing sensation Conrad Birdie (played by Marty Wilde), opposite Chita Rivera.[30] The production ran for 268 performances.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Marshall is married to his third wife, Laurie Stewart, and has four children and two stepchildren from his previous marriages. He has a home in Palm Desert, California.[32] His son Pete is a former Major League Baseball player. The retired first baseman spent nine years playing for the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals.[33]

Diagnosed with COVID-19 in January 2021, and discharged from a hospital in February in what was considered a hospice situation, Marshall survived the virus at home with a new doctor and 24-hour nursing care.[34]

Marshall's 68-year-old son, David LaCock, died in August 2021 from COVID-19, in Hawaii.[35]


Marshall won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host four times.[13] In 2006 he received the annual Bill Cullen Award for Lifetime Achievement, from the non-profit organization, Game Show Congress.[36] On October 13, 2007, Marshall was one of the first inductees into the American TV Game Show Hall of Fame in Las Vegas.[37]

In November 2013, Marshall was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.[38] He was introduced by his friend Nick Clooney.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1953 The 49th Man Leo Wayne
1959 The Rookie MSgt. Pete Marshall
1961 Swingin' Along Duke
1964 Ensign Pulver Carney
The Cavern Lt. Peter Carter
1968 Maryjane
1974 Happy Anniversary and Goodbye Greg Carter TV movie
1982 Annie Bert Healy


  1. ^ a b c d "Hollywood Squares' Peter Marshall Reveals Which Celebrity Guests Were 'Friends' and Who Was a 'Pain'". Closer. February 22, 2022. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  2. ^ Seaton, Carter Taylor (September 27, 2018). "Peter Marshall". Huntington Quarterly. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  3. ^ Johnson, Shauna. "Peter Marshall Calls Hall of Fame Epitome of Awards". West Virginia MetroNews Network. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Lacock - 1930 United States Federal Census - Ancestry.com". www.ancestry.com.
  5. ^ a b c d Baber, David (August 11, 2009). Television Game Show Hosts: Biographies of 32 Stars. McFarland. ISBN 9781476604800. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  6. ^ Grimes, William (13 September 1996). "Joanne Dru, 74, a Star of Movie Westerns". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Joanne Dru". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  8. ^ Nesteroff, Kliph (20 September 2012). "Classic Television Showbiz: An Interview with Peter Marshall – Part One". Classic Television Showbiz. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  9. ^ Nesteroff, Kliph (October 5, 2012). "Classic Television Showbiz: An Interview with Peter Marshall – Part Two". Classic Television Showbiz. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  10. ^ Monush, Barry; Sheridan, James (2011). Lucille Ball FAQ: Everything Left to Know About America's Favorite Redhead. Applause Theatre & Cinema. ISBN 9781557839336. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  11. ^ "Peter Marshall | Huntington Quarterly". 27 September 2018.
  12. ^ Marshall, Peter (17 July 2002). Backstage with the Original Hollywood Square. Thomas Nelson Inc. ISBN 9781418566005. Retrieved 1 January 2018 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ a b Marshall, Peter (July 17, 2002). Backstage with the Original Hollywood Square. Thomas Nelson Inc. ISBN 9781418566005. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  14. ^ "Scott's World;NEWLN:Peter Marshall ranks top 'Fantasies'". UPI. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  15. ^ "A Classic reborn?: East Hollywood Squares (In Living Color, 1990's)". thelandofwhatever.blogspot.ca. 2012-12-09. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  16. ^ Paxman, Andrew (August 5, 1998). "Pax TV gets 'Reel' with new gameshow". Variety. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  17. ^ "To Live and Die on TV | Episode 11 | Sledgecast". Sledge Hammer! Podcast. October 25, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  18. ^ "Marshall, Convy in Angry Dispute". TV Guide. 37. 1989.
  19. ^ "Music of Your Life Is on the Move" (Press release). Music of Your Life. Marketwired. June 20, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2020 – via Yahoo! Finance.
  20. ^ "#72- Back Home Again In Indiana". 100 Years 100 Moments. March 17, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  21. ^ Backstage with the Original Hollywood Square (2002), Amazon.com; accessed March 29, 2016
  22. ^ "Game show icons return for special 'Newlywed' show". USATODAY.COM. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  23. ^ "Andy Williams remembered by Osmond Brothers, Bob Newhart at memorial". CBS News. Associated Press. October 22, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
  24. ^ "WV Music Hall of Fame Presents "West Virginia Squares" starring Peter Marshall | FestivALL: A City Becomes A Work of Art, June 21-30, 2013". Festivallcharleston.com. Archived from the original on June 24, 2014. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  25. ^ Matlick, Chad (June 24, 2014). "Game Show Features West Virginia Music and History". Wvpublic.org. Retrieved April 29, 2024.
  26. ^ "'Wait for Your Laugh': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. November 1, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  27. ^ "Skyscraper – Broadway Musical – Original | IBDB".
  28. ^ La Cage Aux Folles cast replacements and transfers at Internet Broadway Database, ibdb.com; accessed March 29, 2016.
  29. ^ Bye Bye Birdie West End production, broadwayworld.com; accessed March 29, 2016.
  30. ^ "Peter Marshall – Boy Singer". www.boysinger.com. Archived from the original on 2014-12-17. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  31. ^ "Bye Bye Birdie – Theatre Aficionado at Large". Theatreaficionado.com. 16 October 2009. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  32. ^ Meeks, Eric G. (2012). Palm Springs Celebrity Homes: Little Tuscany, Racquet Club, Racquet Club Estates and Desert Park Estates Neighborhoods (Kindle). Horatio Limburger Oglethorpe. p. 429. ASIN B00A2PXD1G.
  33. ^ "Pete LaCock". Retrosheet.org. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  34. ^ Criscitiello, Alexa (March 26, 2021). "Veteran Entertainer Peter Marshall, Defies Odds and Beats Covid in Time to Celebrate 95th Birthday on March 30". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  35. ^ Friedman, Roger (August 7, 2021). "'Hollywood Squares' Original Host Peter Marshall Mourns Death of 68 Year Old Son from COVID, in Hawaii". Showbiz 411. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  36. ^ "Huntington Quarterly | Articles | Issue 82 | Peter Marshall". Huntingtonquarterly.com. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  37. ^ writer, a Times staff (11 October 2007). "Game shows get hall of fame". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  38. ^ Johnson, Shauna (November 15, 2013). "Peter Marshall calls Hall of Fame induction the 'epitome' of awards". WV MetroNews. Retrieved December 26, 2013.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bert Parks
in CBS Pilot
Host of The Hollywood Squares
Succeeded by
Preceded by
First Winner
Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
1974 and 1975
Succeeded by
Preceded by Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host
1980 and 1981
Succeeded by