George Peppard in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (Wikimedia Commons)
When George Peppard died May 8, 1994, 19 years ago today, he was preparing to star in a new television series, a spin-off of Andy Griffith’s Matlock. In fact, he had already completed shooting on the pilot. Despite having lung cancer, Peppard kept working until the day he died from the disease.
The new role would have been one of many Peppard played, on big screen and small. He was a Civil War soldier in How the West Was Won, a business tycoon in The Carpetbaggers, a fighter pilot in The Blue Max. He almost played another business tycoon, Dynasty's Blake Carrington (the role ultimately going to John Forsythe), and he shone as renegade commando leader Hannibal in The A-Team.
But there's one role that always stands out, the one that launched him to stardom and paired him with one of the most graceful and beloved actresses of all time.
George Peppard, left, and Audrey Hepburn in a scene from, "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (AP Photo / Paramount Pictures)
Peppard and Audrey Hepburn helped make Breakfast at Tiffany's one of the great cinema classics, a film that's timeless at the same time that it epitomizes the cool and crazy 1960s. (Well, we'll concede "mostly timeless," given Mickey Rooney's now-unfortunate Asian caricature.) Though the only awards the movie won were for Henry Mancini's pitch-perfect music, it has remained tops in the hearts of viewers for more than 50 years, finding a spot among the American Film Institute's top romantic movies and inspiring a new stage adaptation that opened this year on Broadway.
If you – like many fans – have mostly watched Breakfast at Tiffany's for Hepburn's Holly Golightly, we challenge you to watch it again for Peppard's fine performance. It took both stars (plus supporting actors such as Buddy Ebsen and Patricia Neal) to make the movie as wonderful as it is.
Written by Linnea Crowther