How did George Peppard go from being a "beloved Hollywood actor" to a "Hollywood bad boy"? There's no simple answer for the complicated life of the actor. Some may say his ego was the reason he became a troublemaker; others could blame his downfall on consistent alcohol intake. Peppard said it was a mixture of various issues that resulted in a tarnished career, but one opportunity allowed him to turn things around.
After gaining a bad reputation and being deemed "no longer fit for Hollywood," Peppard saw decades of hard work and dedication dissolve. From starring alongside Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's to barely snagging minor parts, the actor's riches quickly turned into rags. He could've spiraled out of control and left the industry altogether, but instead, Peppard took the necessary steps to take control of his life.
"I was desperately unhappy, and my drinking made it worse," he told the King Features Syndicate in 1983."My marriages had failed, I wasn't seeing enough of my son, and I didn't like the way my career was going."
Peppard did a lot of self-reflection and decided it was time to stop drinking. He changed his mindset but kept the "feisty" attitude and used it to his advantage. This would eventually lead to an opportunity to be on The A-Team.
Critics were instantly opposed to the show's idea, especially when it was promoted during the Super Bowl, but despite their disapproval, ratings were high. Peppard knew the show was a winner, although he always prepared himself for the worst since he was on a "losing streak" during his downfall. By that, we mean he couldn't maintain a job, and no one wanted to take on his projects, so the ideas just sat there.
Peppard had to take "what he could get" and found work in Canada and New Zealand. When he heard about The A-Team, he confidently read for the role of Hannibal Smith—convincing Steve Cannell that he was perfect for the part. There was some pushback from NBC, as they wanted James Coburn or Paul Michael Glaser (or someone similar). Yet, according to King Features Syndicate, Cannell stood up for Peppard, believing that at 54, the actor turned a new leaf.
George Peppard also showed NBC executives that he was a changed man but in his own way. He said cockily, "I'd like to see the show go five years, and I'll be there."
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