BAFTA/LA is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of long-time Member and dear friend Peter Dennis on April 18th 2009.
Peter Dennis, born in Dorking, Surrey on October 25, 1933, was a Screen Actors Guild Award and Drama-Logue Award winning film, television, theatre, and voice actor. His extensive career has spanned both sides of the Atlantic with projects ranging from "The Avengers" to "Sideways".
After six years in the army, Peter joined Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds as PA to the Chief Executive Officer. At the age of 29 he saw his first play, a production of Look Back in Anger at the Birmingham Rep, starring Derek Jacobi. He immediately dictated his resignation and three years later graduated from RADA. There followed leading roles in numerous theatre productions in the West End of London, provincial repertory theatres in the United Kingdom, America, Holland, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. His many English TV appearances included Sutton the butler in the long-running series 'Hadleigh'.
October 14th 1976 marked the premiere of his one man show Bother! In December of 1986, at the invitation of Anna Strasberg of the Actors Studio, Bother! received its American premiere, at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Hollywood, where it was honored with the Drama-Logue Award and the L.A Theater Award. The show has since been performed more than 300 times at over 100 major European theaters, festivals and universities, as well as the Palace of Westminster, London and The Hollywood Bowl.
Since moving to America in 1991 he guest starred in many television productions, including Murder, She Wrote, Murphy Brown, Melrose Place, Prime Suspect, Knot's Landing, Santa Barbara, Acapulco H.E.A.T., The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., The George Carlin Show, California Dreams, Saved By The Bell, Young Indiana Jones and the Hollywood Follies, Step by Step, Star Trek: Voyager, Mr. Rhodes, Tracey Takes On, Profiler, In The House, Family Matters, Knight Life, Friends, Seinfeld, The Wayans Brothers, Felicity, Diagnosis Murder and Alias.
Recent films have included 'Sideways' directed by Alexander Payne; 'Man in the Chair' directed by Michael Schroeder; and '10 Inch Hero' directed by David Mackay.
On June 16th, 2007, Peter and his wife Diane Mercer recorded 'The Upstart Crow', a play for radio written and directed by Vincent Dowling. The play covered an imagined meeting between Susannah, the daughter of William Shakespeare, and Richard Burbage, the famed Elizabethan actor, artist, and theatrical entrepreneur. It was a rare opportunity for Peter and Diane to perform together. "Yesterday afternoon contained more joy, more inspiration, more sublime theatrical magic than most of us Californians are capable of absorbing in such a short period of time".
Peter's final performance was in the last episode of ER and the recording of 14 hours of Christopher Robin Milne's autobiographies, The Enchanted Places and The Path through the Trees
Peter Dennis will be missed for his joy of life, inspiration, and sublime theatrical magic by hundreds of friends and family on both sides of the Atlantic, but above all by Diane his beloved wife of 30 years.