Brown - Dark
London, England, UK
Place of Death
Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of Death
Liver and Kidney Disease
Claim to Fame
Good News (1947)
Actor/Actress, Soundtrack, Producer
Has Detailed Data (New)
Full Name at Birth
Peter Sydney Ernest Aylen
Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Van Johnson, Dean Martin, John Kennedy
Actor, Film Producer
Peter Sydney Ernest Lawford (born Peter Sydney Ernest Aylen; 7 September 1923 – 24 December 1984) was an English-born American actor.
Profile Bio Text
Peter Sydney Ernest Lawford (born Peter Sydney Ernest Aylen; September 7, 1923 – December 24, 1984) was an English-born American actor.
He was a member of the "Rat Pack" and brother-in-law to President John F. Kennedy, and more noted in later years for his off-screen activities as a celebrity than for his acting. From the 1940s to the 1960s, he had a strong presence in popular culture and starred in a number of highly acclaimed films.
Born in London in 1923, he was the only child of Lieutenant General Sir Sydney Turing Barlow Lawford, KBE (1865-1953) and May Sommerville Bunny (1883-1972). At the time of Peter's birth, however, his mother was married to Dr. Capt. Ernest Vaughn Aylen, one of Sir Sydney's officers, while his father was married to Muriel Williams. At the time, May and Ernest Aylen were living apart. May confessed to Aylen that the child was not his, a revelation that resulted in a double divorce. Sir Sydney and May then wed in September 1924 after their divorces were finalized and when their son was one year old.
Lawford's family was connected to the English aristocracy through his uncle Ernest Lawford's wife (a daughter of the 14th Earl of Eglinton) as well as his aunt Ethel Turner Lawford (who married a son of the first Baron Avebury). His aunt Jessie Bruce Lawford, another of his father's sisters, was the second wife of the Hon Hartley Williams, senior puisne judge of the Supreme Court of the colony of Victoria, Australia. A relative, through his mother, was Australian artist Rupert Bunny.
He spent his early childhood in France, and owing to his family's travels, was never formally educated. Instead he was schooled by governesses and tutors and his education included tennis and ballet lessons. "In the beginning," his mother observed, "he had no homework. When he was older he had Spanish, German and music added to his studies. He read only selected books—English fairy stories, English and French classics; no crime stories. Having studied Peter for so long, I decided he was quite unfitted for any career except art, so I cut Latin, Algebra, high mathematics and substituted dramatics instead." Because of the widely varying national and religious backgrounds of his tutors, Lawford "attended various services in churches, cathedrals, synagogues and for some time was an usher in a Christian Science Sunday School..." Around 1930, aged seven, he made his acting debut in the English film Poor Old Bill.
At the age of 14, Lawford severely injured his right arm in an accident when it went through a glass door. The injury greatly compromised the use of his lower arm and hand with irreversible nerve damage, which he later learned to hide. The injury was considered damaging enough to keep him from entering the military, which his parents had planned. Instead, Lawford decided to pursue a career as an actor, a decision that resulted in one of his aunts refusing to leave him her considerable fortune, as originally planned.
In The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
Prior to World War II, Lawford had gained a contract position with the MGM studios. Once he signed with MGM, his mother insisted that studio head Louis B. Mayer pay her a salary as her son's personal assistant, which Mayer declined. Lady Lawford responded by claiming her son was "a bummer" and needed to be "supervised". When Lawford learned of his mother's actions their relationship was reportedly never the same.
Lawford's first film role had been at age seven in the film Poor Old Bill. In 1938, he made his Hollywood debut in a minor part in the film Lord Jeff. His first role in a major film production was in A Yank At Eton (1942), where he played a snobbish bully opposite Mickey Rooney. The film was a smash hit, and Lawford's performance was widely praised. Lawford made uncredited appearances as a pilot in Mrs. Miniver (1942) and as a sailor in Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943).
He won acclaim for his performance in The White Cliffs of Dover (1944), in which he played a young soldier during World War II. MGM gave him another important role in The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945). Peter Lawford's first leading role came in Son of Lassie (1945) and he later won a Modern Screen magazine readers' poll as the most popular actor in Hollywood of 1946. His fan mail jumped to thousands of letters a week.
In Royal Wedding (1951)
With actors such as Clark Gable and James Stewart away at war, Lawford was recognized as the romantic lead on the MGM lot. Lawford's busiest year as an actor was 1946, when two of his films opened within days of each other: Cluny Brown and Two Sisters From Boston. He also made his first comedy that same year: My Brother Talks To Horses (released in 1947). He appeared with Frank Sinatra for the first time in the musical It
Couple Profile Source
Suntory Royal Whisky (1978), Heublein Cocktails (1966)
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