Long before “The A-Team,” George Peppard was famous for something else. You’ve likely seen him acting alongside Audrey Hepburn in her most famous film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” But things had not gone well for the actor since then.
Broke and facing the trials of life, Peppard had to stay squeaky clean, or he might have even landed in the slammer. More than one publication asked if he was worried the bombastic and action-filled show would hurt his career. But he replied, saying that acting as Hannibal changed everything for him and allowed him to recreate his career.
B.A Bacarus Had Some Unreasonable Demands
According to Peppard, Mr. T made a lot of demands about firing members of the crew that upset him in one way or another. This included a certain British wardrobe lady that Peppard was fond of. The cast members were eventually let go, which angered the older actor.
He told Terry Wogan from "On The Jazz" that he wouldn't speak to him for as long as 16 weeks. He then added that they did eventually lay the conflict to rest and get on with the show. Peppard had good reason to get on with the show.
Plenty to Pay Out For
Not only did the show further Peppard's career in a big way, but it kept the debtors off his back, as well. Peppard was a serial monogamist, but none of his marriages lasted very long. He had four divorces under his belt by the time he joined the show.
He explained to the "Los Angeles Times" that he had 25 years of alimony dipping heavily into his bank account. The incredible success of the show helped make Peppard into a viable actor for other roles, and it gave him enough funds to keep his ex-wives away. It was a giant boost to his career.
The Death of Hannibal
One of Hannibal's on-screen habits, chomping on long, noticeable cigars, was something inspired by George Peppard. It's likely that this habit led to Peppard's death at the age of sixty-five, not all too old, all things considered.
In 1992 doctors diagnosed him with lung cancer, and two years after that, he passed away after contracting pneumonia. He was slated to star in another TV show, a "Matlock" spin-off called "The P.I." He left behind one wife, Laura Taylor, and four ex-wives. Due to excessive smoking, he had to have a part of one lung removed and then quit smoking, but it was too little, too late.
The Biggest, Baddest Earner
George Peppard was undoubtedly the most well-known actor that was part of the team, but Mr. T's B.A. Bacarus proved to be the breakout star. Everybody wanted more of the demolitions and gun experts, and Mr. T's salary began to reflect that, as he became the highest-paid actor on the show.
As you might have guessed, Peppard hated this fact, but he couldn't really do much about it – it's likely this is what led to the animosity between the two actors. Mr. T's incredible life was all about getting the respect he thought he deserved, and the show was just one way of doing it.