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Peter Leeds
Peter Leeds in High School Big Shot.jpg
Leeds in High School Big Shot (1959)
Born(1917-05-30)May 30, 1917
DiedNovember 12, 1996(1996-11-12) (aged 79)
Years active1941–1996
Patricia Leeds
(m. 1962)

Peter Leeds (May 30, 1917 – November 12, 1996) was an American actor who appeared on television more than 8,000 times[1] and also had many film, Broadway, and radio credits. The majority of his work took place in the 1950s and 1960s. Working with many well-known comedians, he became popular as a straight man to their antics.

Beyond situation comedies, Peter Leeds was also a dramatic actor, a Broadway performer, and a regular on many variety shows. He made three guest appearances on Perry Mason.

Peter Leeds was also a popular voice-over artist, being heard on over 3,000 radio shows.

Early life

A native of Bayonne, New Jersey, Leeds received his training at the Neighborhood Playhouse. He made his film debut with a bit part in Public Enemies (1941). He received a scholarship from the John Marshall Law School, which he attended for one year. He also attended The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. Leeds was noticed by the Group Theater of New York, through which he received a scholarship and graduated.


Leeds (right) in Bonanza, 1960
Leeds (right) in Bonanza, 1960

Leeds worked with hundreds of well-known actors, including Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Milton Berle, Carol Burnett, Red Skelton, Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, and Johnny Carson. He appeared four times with David Janssen in the crime drama, Richard Diamond, Private Detective. Leeds was cast as George Colton in nine episodes of the 1960s CBS sitcom, Pete and Gladys.[2]: 826  He guest-starred on an episode of the 1961 crime adventure-drama series The Investigators and on an episode of the 1962-1963 ABC drama series, Going My Way. In 1965, he guest-starred in an episode of The Cara Williams Show.

Leeds was known for his association with Stan Freberg and played his foil in several song parodies. In addition, he had several roles on both Volume One and Volume Two of the classic comedy albums Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, and also appeared as a regular on the short-lived CBS radio series The Stan Freberg Show in 1957.

Leeds had a recurring role as gambler/saloon owner Tenner Smith in the 1957-1959 CBS television series, Trackdown.[3]

Leeds appeared in three episodes of Perry Mason including murderer Bill Emory in the 1958 episode "The Case of the Sunbather's Diary.

Leeds played federal agent LaMarr Kane[2] in "The Scarface Mob", the pilot for ABC's The Untouchables TV series, a role taken over in the actual series by Chuck Hicks. He was a member of the casts of the 1958 version of The Betty White Show[2]: 94  and The Buster Keaton Show [2]: 148 , and made an appearance on Batman (TV show) (year two, episodes 29 and 30).[citation needed]

USO tours

Leeds accompanied Bob Hope on 14 international USO (United Service Organizations) tours.[4] Leeds joined Bob Hope in 1954 for a television special and continued working with Hope on specials and tours from 1954 until 1991.[citation needed]

Voice work

Leeds also did voices for animated television and film, including The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat, Hong Kong Phooey, The New Yogi Bear Show, The Dukes, Challenge of the GoBots, CBS Storybreak, and The Jetsons. He was also on the CBS radio program, The Stan Freberg Show along with Daws Butler and June Foray.


Leeds appeared on Broadway in the first cast of Sugar Babies along with Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller in 1979.[5]

Personal life

Leeds and his wife of 34 years, Pat Leeds, had a son, Dr. Michael Leeds.[6] Leeds died of cancer at the age of 79, on November 12, 1996 in Los Angeles, California.[1]

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists

During the 1970s, Leeds spent five years as the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA).[1] He later served on the actors' union's national and local Board of Directors. In 1992, AFTRA repaid his many years of service with its highest honor, the Gold Card. Leeds later served on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.[6]


Year Title Role Notes
1941 Public Enemies Reporter
1941 Pacific Blackout Air Raid Warden Uncredited
1942 Don Winslow of the Navy Seaman Chapman Serial
1942 Treat 'Em Rough Davis
1942 Priorities on Parade Joe - Factory Employee / Show Coordinator Uncredited
1942 The Secret Code Henchman Carl Hiecke Serial, [Ch. 9]
1942 I Married a Witch Ambulance Attendant Uncredited
1942 Reunion in France Boy Uncredited
1943 Lady Bodyguard Intern Uncredited
1943 Crash Dive Shore Police Uncredited
1946 That Brennan Girl Bergie Uncredited
1947 Hit Parade of 1947 Bandleader in Rehearsal Room Uncredited
1949 The Life of Riley Conway's Voice on Radio Show Voice, Uncredited
1949 The Lady Gambles Jack Harrison - Hotel Clerk
1949 D.O.A. Leo - Bartender Uncredited
1950 Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town Tall Beautician Uncredited
1950 South Sea Sinner Second Policeman Uncredited
1950 Saddle Tramp Springer
1950 Dial 1119 Martin, Wounded Policeman Uncredited
1951 Up Front Pinanski Uncredited
1951 Katie Did It 'Odds' Burton
1951 Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm Manson
1951 The Frogmen Pharmacist's Mate Uncredited
1952 My Man and I Man with Nancy at Bar Uncredited
1952 Come Back, Little Sheba Milkman Uncredited
1953 Never Wave at a WAC Nick Laharis Uncredited
1953 Stalag 17 Barracks #1 Prisoner of War Getting Distillery Uncredited
1953 99 River Street Nat Finley
1954 The Long, Long Trailer Garage Manager Uncredited
1954 Playgirl Sharpie Uncredited
1954 Brigadoon Peter - Headwaiter Uncredited
1954 The Adventures of Hajji Baba Merchant Uncredited
1954 Athena Photographer Uncredited
1954 The Last Time I Saw Paris Barney
1954 The Atomic Kid Agent Bill
1955 Six Bridges to Cross Harris Uncredited
1955 Hit the Deck Lieutenant - Operation Mud Pie Uncredited
1955 Tight Spot Fred Packer
1955 Interrupted Melody Dr. Ed Ryson
1955 Love Me or Leave Me Fred Taylor
1955 It's Always Fair Weather Mr. Trasker Uncredited
1955 Bobby Ware Is Missing Mackey of F.B.I.
1955 I'll Cry Tomorrow Richard
1955 Willy Jerry Burke Episode: "Franklin's Shoe Business"
1956 It's Always Jan Newspaper reporter Episode: "Guilty Conscience"
1956 The Price of Fear Mitchell Uncredited
1956 The Harder They Fall Dundee Fight Ring Announcer Uncredited
1956 Behind the High Wall First Detective
1956 Tea and Sympathy Headmaster at Bonfire Uncredited
1956 The Best Things in Life Are Free Genius Uncredited
1956 The Great American Pastime Motor Cop Uncredited
1957 Mr. Adams and Eve Driver Episode: "Howard Goes to Jail"
1957 Slander Herb Goodman Uncredited
1957 Official Detective Patterson Episode: "The Deserted House"
1957 Bombers B-52 TV Quiz Show Director Uncredited
1957 Kiss Them for Me Reporter in Nightclub Uncredited
1958 The Brothers Karamazov Guard Uncredited
1959 The Scarface Mob Lamarr Kane TV movie
1958-1959 Trackdown Tenner Smith recurring role, 15 episodes
1959 High School Big Shot Mr. Carter
1959 The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock Bill Burton
1959 The Devil's Disciple Narrator Uncredited
1959 The Big Operator Henland Uncredited
1959 Girls Town Michael Clyde
1959 The Rookie Seville Quare
1960 Please Don't Eat the Daisies Mackay's Secretary Uncredited
1960 The Facts of Life Thompson - the Dry Cleaner
1961 The Tab Hunter Show Gordon Harris Episode: "Personal Appearance"
1961 The Investigators Walter Keeler Episode: "Death Leaves a Tip"
1963 The Wheeler Dealers Arthur Watkins
1964 The Addams Family Oscar Webber "Morticia Joins the Ladies League"
1965 I'll Take Sweden Car Salesman Uncredited
1965 Harlow Parker
1966 The Oscar Bert
1966 The Bob Hope Vietnam Christmas Show Actor
1967 Rango Raven Episode "What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing Holding Up a Place Like This?"
1967 8 on the Lam Marty
1968 With Six You Get Eggroll Police Officer Joelson Uncredited
1972-1974 Adam-12 George Porter / Dennis Baker 2 episodes
1974 The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat Juan / Various Characters Voice
1987 Dragnet Roy Grest


  1. ^ a b c "Straight man actor, Peter Leeds, dies". The Spokesman-Review. Washington, Spokane. Los Angeles Times. November 22, 1996. p. A2. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 1132.
  3. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), p. 104
  4. ^ "Noted Actor Will Speak To Red Cross". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. May 21, 1966. p. 15. Retrieved July 9, 2016 – via open access
  5. ^ "Sugar Babies". Playbill Vault. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Turner Classic Movies