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Peter Brown, Star of TV Western ‘Lawman,’ Dies at 80

Peter Brown, who played Deputy Johnny McKay on 1960s TV Western “Lawman,” died March 21 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 80.

Brown played McKay on ABC’s “Lawman” during the entire 1958-62 run of the series, which starred John Russell as Marshal Dan Troop. Brown was also a regular on NBC Western “Laredo,” playing Chad Cooper during the series’ 1965-67 run. This story of the Texas Ranger starred Neville Brand as Reese Bennett.

Brown also guested on a number of other TV Westerns, including “Maverick,” “Cheyenne” and “The Virginian.”

On the big screen during the period he appeared in Disney’s Hayley Mills musical “Summer Magic” (1963), surfing movie “Ride the Wild Surf” (1964) and Ann-Margret vehicle “Kitten With a Whip” (1964).

During the 1970s while continuing his TV career, Brown played the villain in the 1974 blaxploitation classic “Foxy Brown,” starred with William Smith in “Piranha” (1972) and starred in the horror-thriller “Act of Vengeance” (1974). He appeared in 1982 prison picture “The Concrete Jungle,” starring Jill St. John, and Fred Williamson’s “The Messenger” (1986).

Brown did quite a bit of work on daytime soaps, recurring  during the 1970s on “Days of Our Lives” as Dr. Greg Peters, on “The Young and the Restless” from 1989-1991 as Robert Laurence and on “The Bold and the Beautiful” in 1991-1992 as Blake Hayes.

He was a steady presence on television as a guest actor on series including “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Wonder Woman,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “Dallas,” “Knight Rider,” “Baywatch” and “Wings.”

Brown made his last screen apperance in 2005 in the feature Western “Hell to Pay.”

Born Pierre Lind de Lappe in New York City, the actor and his family moved West when he was young. While in the Army, he got into acting when he organized a theater group on base in Alaska to occupy his spare time. After his discharge he studied acting at UCLA. 

Brown is survived by fifth wife Kerstin, whom he met in 2008. Other survivors include his children Joshua, Matt and Christi and three grandchildren.

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