Brock Peters

Brock Peters

LOS ANGELES--Brock Peters, the versatile film, TV and stage actor, perhaps best remembered for his small but pivotal role in 1962's "To Kill a Mockingbird," died at his home here August 23rd of complications of pancreatic cancer. He was 78. Fans of MST3K from its early KTMA days will recall that he was among the ensemble cast of the 1977 TV movie SST: DEATH FLIGHT featured in episode K13.

Born George Fisher in New York City's Harlem neighborhood, he became determined to become a performer at a young age, and attended the city's celebrated Music and Arts High School. He was attending CCNY studying physical education in 1949 when he got his first break, a role in the acclaimed musical "Porgy and Bess." His film debut came in 1954's "Carmen Jones."

His theatrical work included the title role in a 1963 production of Shakespeare's "Othello," the role of prize fighter Jack Jefferson in the touring company of "The Great White Hope" and the lead in "Lost in the Stars." He was nominated for a Tony and won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for outstanding performance by an actor in a musical for "Lost in the Stars," a role he also reprised in the 1974 motion picture adaptation.

He appeared in dozens of films, including 1964's "The Pawnbroker," 1973's "Soylent Green" and 1976's "Two-Minute Warning." He had a recurring role in 1986's "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" and 1991's "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country."

His extensive work on the small screen included work on "Battlestar Galactica," "Roots: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Deep Space 9" and the Emmy-nominated television musical "Polly!"

His resonant voice gave him many opportunities for cartoon voice-over work, in series such as "The Wild Thornberrys," "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters," "Samurai Jack" and "Batman: The Animated Series."

He was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1976, and he received a Life Achievement Award from the National Film Society in 1977. The Screen Actors Guild also honored him with an achievement award in 1990. Peters served as the chairman of the California State Arts Commission and was a founder of the Dance Theater of Harlem.

Dolores Daniels, his wife of 31 years, died in 1990. Peters is survived by his companion, Marilyn Darby, and his daughter, Lisa Jo Peters.