Peter Palmer (actor)

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Peter Palmer
Li'l Abner Broadway play Edie Adams 1956.JPG
Palmer as Li'l Abner and Edie Adams as Daisy Mae, 1956.
Born (1931-09-20) September 20, 1931 (age 85)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Occupation Stage and television actor
Spouse(s) Jackie Gleason (1954–65),
Mary Lou Farrell

Peter Palmer (born September 20, 1931 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is an American baritone and actor best known for his portrayal of Li'l Abner, both on Broadway and on film.

He was offered scholarships to a number of universities; however, he chose the University of Illinois to study voice under Bruce Foote. He was the first music major to letter in football at the university. While at Illinois his team won the Big Ten championships in 1951 and 1953 and the Rose Bowl in 1952. Palmer sang the national anthem at every home game in 1953 before taking the field.

in 1954 Palmer married his first wife, Jackie (Gleason) whom he met in Los Angeles. They had five children, and were divorced in 1964.[1]

In 1956, Palmer was cast in the title role of the musical Li'l Abner, for which he won a Theatre World Award.[2] In 1959, he was cast in the same role in the movie version. His Li'l Abner role brought him a guest appearance on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Palmer appeared on Broadway with Carol Channing in Lorelei in 1974.

He was married to stage actress and former Miss Dominion of Canada (1964) Aniko (Mary Lou) Farrell until her death in October 2011. They had one child.

In 1967, Palmer had a recurring role as Sergeant James Bustos, a former Confederate States of America soldier, in the short-lived ABC military-western series Custer, with Wayne Maunder in the starring role as Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer.

Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Palmer appeared on numerous television episodes, including a small part on Dallas . In 1977, Palmer had a regular role as part of the cast on the short-lived situation comedy The Kallikaks, playing Oscar Heinz.

Peter and Aniko loved theatre and spent much of their time at The Masque Community Theatre of Temple Terrace in Temple Terrace, Florida, where they resided.


  1. ^ "Dogpatch Image Stalks Palmer," Milwaukee Journal, July 18, 1975.
  2. ^ Theatre World Awards Recipients

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