Paul Burke
1965 photo of Burke as Joe Gallagher in 12 O'Clock High
Paul Raymond Burke[1]

(1926-07-21)July 21, 1926
DiedSeptember 13, 2009(2009-09-13) (aged 83)
Alma materPasadena Playhouse
Years active1951–1990
Peggy Pryor (born Alice Louise Wikan)
(m. 1946⁠–⁠1972)
(m. 1979⁠–⁠2009)
RelativesAlia Shawkat (granddaughter)

Paul Raymond Burke (July 21, 1926 – September 13, 2009)[2] was an American actor, best known for his lead roles in two 1960s ABC television series, Naked City and 12 O'Clock High. He was twice nominated for an Emmy Award for his portrayal of New York Police Department detective Adam Flint in Naked City.[3]

Life and career

Burke was born in New Orleans, the son of Santa Maria (née Palermo) and Martin Joseph "Marty" Burke, a boxer who fought Gene Tunney and later owned a restaurant and nightclub known as Marty Burke's in the New Orleans French Quarter.[4]

After training at the Pasadena Playhouse, Burke's film career began with a small role in the movie Golden Girl. Early in his career, Burke guest-starred in the syndicated series Highway Patrol and Men of Annapolis. In 1956–57, Burke was cast as Dr. Noah McCann in Noah's Ark, a weekly program produced by Jack Webb which aired on NBC, the story of a pair of dedicated veterinarians. Victor Rodman played the older colleague, Dr. Sam Rinehart.

After Five Fingers Burke was cast in the lead role of the police show Naked City, in which he appeared as Adam Flint from 1960 to 1963. Burke then appeared in the starring role of Captain (later Maj., then Col.) Joe Gallagher on 12 O'Clock High between 1964 and 1967, during which time he met his wife, Lyn. The 12 O'Clock High role was Burke's last lead television role.

In 1967, Burke starred in the film Valley of the Dolls as Lyon Burke, the young lawyer who befriended all three female stars and had a tempestuous relationship with Anne Welles. He also played a police officer who pursued a bank robber played by Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair.[3] He appeared in supporting roles in a number of television series, including recurring roles in Dynasty from 1982 to 1988 and in Tom Selleck's Magnum, P.I., from 1981 to 1985 as Rear Admiral Hawkes. Burke also served as a television commercial spokesman for the electronics retailer RadioShack.

Racketeering charges

In 1989, Burke and Harry Connick Sr., the New Orleans district attorney, were indicted on racketeering charges for aiding and abetting a gambling operation by returning gambling records to an arrested gambler.[5] They were both acquitted of the charges.[6]

Later years and death

Burke was the grandfather of actress Alia Shawkat, whose mother is Burke's daughter, Dina. He retired from acting in the early 1990s. Suffering from leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, he died in 2009 at his home in Palm Springs, California, aged 83.[3] His second wife, Lyn Peters, died in Palm Springs on September 10, 2013, at the age of 72.[7]


Year Title Role Notes Ref
1951 Call Me Mister Soldier Uncredited
1951 Golden Girl Bandit Uncredited
1951 Fixed Bayonets! Doggie Uncredited
1952 Francis Goes to West Point Sergeant Swazey Uncredited
1952 Fearless Fagan Pvt. Hawkins Uncredited
1953 South Sea Woman Ensign at court-martial
1953 Three Sailors and a Girl Actor Uncredited
1954 Return from the Sea Gunnery Officer
1955 Spy Chasers Michael Uncredited
1955 Francis in the Navy Tate
1956 Screaming Eagles Cpl. Dreef
1957 The Disembodied Tom Maxwell
1964 Della Barney Stafford Alternative title: Fatal Confinement
1967 Valley of the Dolls Lyon Burke
1968 The Thomas Crown Affair Lt. Eddy Malone
1969 Daddy's Gone A-Hunting Jack Byrnes
1969 Once You Kiss a Stranger Jerry Marshall
1975 Psychic Killer Lt. Jeff Morgan
1987 Maharlika Bob Reynolds Completed in 1970
International title: Guerilla Strike Force
Year Title Role Notes Ref
1955 Big Town Gardiner Episode: "The Blood Profiteer"
Navy Log Sparks Episode: "Sky Pilot"
Highway Patrol Patrolman Halsey Episode: "Prison Break"
Stage 7 Tommy Episode: "Fox Hunt"
1955-1956 ‘’Adventures of Superman’’ Moxy Episode: “Superman Week and The Phantom Ring’’
1957 Men of Annapolis Wesley Edmont Episode: "Seawall"
1958 Tales of Wells Fargo Bud Crawford Episode: "The Killer"
1959 The Millionaire Bill Nellis Episode: "The Karl Miller Story"
1960 Hawaiian Eye Brad Finley Episode: "Second Fiddle"
Hotel de Paree Tad Frisbee Episode: "Sundance and the Long Trek"
Wanted: Dead or Alive Daniel Trenner Episode: "The Trial"
1960-1963 Naked City Detective Adam Flint 99 episodes
1963 The Lieutenant Captain Kenneth Thomson Episode: "Captain Thomson"
1964 The Great Adventure Captain Richard Pratt Episode: "The Special Courage of Captain Pratt"
Combat! Sgt. O'Neill Episode: "Point of View"
Slattery's People Dr. Robert Harrison Episode: "Question: What is a Genius Worth This Week?"
1964-1967 12 O'Clock High Colonel Joseph Anson Gallagher 48 episodes
1970 Crowhaven Farm Ben Porter Television movie
1972 The Rookies Neil Montgomery Television movie
Lieutenant Schuster's Wife Lt. Lou Schuster Television movie [8]
1973 Thriller Brad Hunter Episode: “An Echo of Theresa”
The New Perry Mason Herbert Newton Episode: "The Case of the Murdered Murderer"
Shaft Elliot Williamson Episode: "The Kidnapping"
1974 Hawkins Fred Hyatt Episode: "Candidate for Murder"
Police Woman Joe Fenner Episode: "The End Game"
Harry O Philip Ballinger Episode: "Ballinger's Choice"
Mannix Penn Anderson Episode: "The Survivor Who Wasn't"
1975 McMillan & Wife Les Walker Episode: "Night Train to L.A."
1976 Petrocelli John Fleming Episode: "Any Number Can Die"
Starsky & Hutch Lt. Ted Cameron Episodes: "The Las Vegas Strangler" (Parts 1 & 2)
1977 Little Ladies of the Night Frank Atkins Television movie
1978 Wild and Wooly Tobias Singleton Television movie
What Really Happened to the Class of '65? McDonald Episode: "Mr. Potential"
1978 Fantasy Island Bill Fredricks Episode: Lady Of The Evening/The Racer
1979 Beach Patrol Wes Dobbs Television movie
The Littlest Hobo Andy McClelland Episode: "The Defector"
1980 Charlie's Angels Clifford Burke Episode: "Of Ghosts and Angels"
Trapper John, M.D. Dr. Malcolm Episode: "Hot Line"
1981 Vega$ Curtis Green Episode: "The Killing"
1982-1988 Dynasty Neal McVane 23 episodes
1983 T. J. Hooker Capt. Frank Medavoy Episode: "Blue Murder"
1984 The Red-Light Sting Brockelhurst Television movie
Santa Barbara C.C. Capwell 21 episodes
1985 Finder of Lost Loves Richard Foster Episode: "Deadly Silence"
Murder, She Wrote Herbert Upton Episode: "Murder in the Afternoon"
1986 Hot Shots Nicholas Broderick 13 episodes
1988 Cagney & Lacey Winston Prentiss Episode: "Yup"
1990 Columbo Horace Sherwin Episode: "Uneasy Lies the Crown" (final appearance)


  1. ^ U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947
  2. ^ "Paul Burke, New Orleans-born actor, dies". The Times-Picayune. September 13, 2009. Archived from the original on September 17, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c "Naked City actor Paul Burke dies", Laredo Morning Times, Laredo, Texas, September 14, 2009, p. 9A
  4. ^ Dennis, McLellan (September 15, 2009). "Paul Burke dies at 83; actor starred in gritty TV show 'Naked City'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 17, 2009.
  5. ^ "New Orleans Official Denies Aiding Gambler". The New York Times. Associated Press. December 22, 1989.
  6. ^ Fox, Margalit (September 16, 2009). "Paul Burke, Actor Who Starred in TV's 'Naked City,' Is Dead at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  7. ^ "Lyn Burke". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  8. ^ Lieutenant Schuster's Wife, Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved September 26, 2022