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Peter Sydney Ernest Lawford

Birthplace: London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Death: December 24, 1984 (61)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, United States
Place of Burial: (originally buried there).
Immediate Family:

Son of Lieutenant General Sir Sidney Lawford and May Cooper Lawford
Husband of Patricia Helen Lawford; Private; Private and Private
Father of Christopher Kennedy Lawford; Sydney Maleia McKelvy; Victoria Francis Lawford and Robin Elizabeth Lawford

Occupation: actor
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Peter Lawford

The Times, December 27, 1984


Peter Lawford the British born leading man who was seen as the suave Englishman in many Hollywood films died in Los Angeles on December 24. He was 61 and had been ill for some time. Altogether Lawford, who eventually became naturalized as an American appeared in over 40 Hollywood films.

After starting in films as a child, he developed into a promising light comedian in the Cary Grant tradition. But as he got older, his career failed to develop and he was seen more and more in small parts.

He was born in London on September 7, 1923 the son of Lieutenant-General Sir Sidney Lawford, and made his film debut only eight years later in an early British talkie, "Poor Old Bill". He was still a youngster when he went to Hollywood in 1938 but his easy style and dark good looks kept him in steady demand throughout the 1940s when his pictures included "Mrs Miniver", "The White Cliffs of Dover", "Easter Parade", "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "Little Women."

In the following decade, when the slump came to Hollywood, Lawford ended his contract with MGM and turned to the medium which largely provoked the slump, television. He appeared in two successful series, "Dear Phoebe" and "The Thin Man", in which Lawford played Dashiell Hammett's famous private detective, Nick Charles.

Lawford gained wider fame through his marriage, in 1955, to Patricia Kennedy, sister of John F. Kennedy. During the 1960 presidential campaign, Lawford was active in support of his brother-in-law, persuading show business personalities to support the Kennedy ticket and organizing many fund raising rallies.

At this time, too, he became a member of the Hollywood "clan", a group of entertainers which included Frank Sinatra (with whom Lawford had made a film back in 1942), Dean Martin and Sammy Davis junior. The clan set up, and appeared in, two popular films, "Ocean's Eleven" and "Sergeants Three".

Lawford's later films included "Exodus", "Advise and Consent", "Skidoo" (all for Otto Preminger), "Harlow", "Buona Sera Mrs Campbell" and "Salt and Pepper."

In the later part of his life, Lawford had experienced serious problems with alcohol.

His marriage to Patricia Kennedy, which produced four children, ended in divorce in 1966. His second wife was Mary Rowan, daughter of the comedian Dan Rowan, and he married for the third time this year.

He took American citizenship in 1960.


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Peter Lawford's Timeline

September 7, 1923
London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
March 29, 1955
Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA, United States
August 26, 1956
Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA, United States
November 4, 1958
Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA, United States
July 2, 1961
Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, CA, United States
December 24, 1984
Age 61
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, United States