Friday, April 16, 2010

R.I.P, Peter Haskell

From Toby O’Brien—“that old cowhand from the TiVo Grande”—I gleaned the news that actor Peter Haskell has died at the age of 75. He was a prolific performer on stage, screen and television, but perhaps was best known for his roles on the TV series Bracken’s World and Ryan’s Hope.

Bracken’s World was a short-lived dramatic series telecast in 1969 and 1970 about the fictional day-to-day dealings at a movie studio run by the enigmatic John Bracken—a man who was never seen but dominated the lives of his employees, including writer-producer Kevin Grant, the role essayed by Haskell. In the first season, audiences only heard Bracken’s voice (a la Charlie Townsend); courtesy of actor Warren Stevens…but in the truncated second season, Leslie “Naked Gun” Nielsen took over the part.

(Curiously, Haskell’s character of Kevin Grant made a crossover appearance on Diahann Carroll’s sitcom Julia in an episode entitled “Sara’s Second Part” (03/24/70) according to the IMDb. [Sara, for trivia’s sake, was played by Hal/Horn Section fave Diana Sands.] Why this came about I do not know but it sounds like an attempt to goose Bracken’s World’s somewhat-anemic ratings.)

Although appearing regularly on a series from week-to-week eluded the actor, Haskell worked steadily as one of the busiest guest stars in the medium. His resume of shows includes appearances on such TDOY favorites as The Outer Limits, The Fugitive, 12 O’Clock High, Rawhide, Ben Casey, Combat!, Judd for the Defense, Mission: Impossible and Hawaii Five-O. He was a television presence even in the aughts; even appearing in the series finale of the medical drama warhorse ER. I remember seeing him in a funny Frasier episode in which he played a retired television personality who engages in some Christmas parade “banter” with Kelsey Grammer’s titular character (“Mary Christmas”).

R.I.P, Peter. You will be missed.

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