Peter Lawford


Actor
Peter Lawford

About

Also Known As
Peter Sidney Ernest Aylen
Birth Place
London, England, GB
Born
September 07, 1923
Died
December 24, 1984
Cause of Death
Cardiac Arrest

Biography

A dashing and handsome English-American actor, Peter Lawford enjoyed a brief stint as a matinee idol in the 1940s before becoming better known as an in-law of the Kennedys and a member of "The Rat Pack" during the 1960s. Lawford gained notice for appearances in such films as "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945) and "Son of Lassie" (1945). With the halcyon years of "Ocean's Eleven" (1960) ...

Photos & Videos

Little Women (1949) - Publicity Stills
Son of Lassie - Movie Poster
Royal Wedding - Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Family & Companions

Lana Turner
Companion
Actor. Had eight month relationship in 1944.
June Allyson
Companion
Actor. Met while filming "Two Sisters From Boston (1946).
Ava Gardner
Companion
Actor. Dated in 1946.
Sharman Douglas
Companion
Socialite. Dated 1949; engaged 1950; he broke off engagement after four days; daughter of American ambassador to the court of St. James in London.

Bibliography

"Peter Lawford: The Man Who Kept the Secrets"
James Spada, Bantam Books (1991)
"The Peter Lawford Story"
Patricia Seaton Lawford and Ted Schwarz, Carroll & Graf (1988)
"Bitch! The Autobiography of Lady Lawford As Told to Buddy Galon"
Lady May Lawford and Buddy Galon, Branden (1986)
"Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the Last Great Showbiz Party"
Shawn Levy, Doubleday

Notes

"Peter Lawford's tenure at MGM is one of the best examples of how an MGM contract could both elevate and sabotage a performer's career. Peter's association with the studio put him in some of the best, most expensive, most popular films produced in the United States in the 1940s. With few exceptions, however, his roles were secondary and demanded little more of him than that he look handsome and act charming."Peter was undeniably talented, and he showed promise when forced to stretch himself. But MGM had so many extraordinarily gifted performers that someone with relatively modest abilities, like Peter, was expendable. 'Most of the time I spent sunbathing in my backyard,' he said. 'Every now and then the postman would throw a new script through the front door which I'd be obliged to do whether I wanted to or not.'" --James Spada ("Peter Lawford: The Man Who Kept the Secrets" 1991)

Biography

A dashing and handsome English-American actor, Peter Lawford enjoyed a brief stint as a matinee idol in the 1940s before becoming better known as an in-law of the Kennedys and a member of "The Rat Pack" during the 1960s. Lawford gained notice for appearances in such films as "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945) and "Son of Lassie" (1945). With the halcyon years of "Ocean's Eleven" (1960) far behind him, the aging actor made due with the occasional film role and guest turns on such TV fare as "The Doris Day Show" (CBS, 1968-1973) and "Fantasy Island" (ABC, 1977-1984). A bit player in a fascinating chapter of American pop-culture, Lawford would most likely be remembered both for his acting credentials and for his presence during a fascinating bit of entertainment history.

Born Peter Sidney Ernest Aylen on Sept. 7, 1923 in London, England, he was the only child of May Aylen and Lieutenant-General Sir Sydney Turing Barlow Lawford. Peter's life was one filled with scandal from the very beginning, as both his mother and father were married to other people at the time of his conception. Lawford's birth name came from Captain Ernest Aylen, May's husband at the time, who was also a subordinate officer to General Lawford. The divulgence of the affair resulted in a pair of divorces and the wedding of May to Lawford took place a year after he was born, at which time Peter was given the surname of his biological father. Largely a result of his father's military career and due in part to his parents' wish to escape the gossip of London, Peter was raised abroad, primarily in France. Never formally educated, he was tutored by various caregivers and by his mother, who tended to focus his studies on the arts. The seven-year-old Lawford made his film debut with a small role in the English comedy "Poor Old Bill" (1931), after a visit to the film's set led to the boy being cast in the picture. A life-altering accident occurred when, at age 14, Peter ran into a glass door and severely lacerated his right arm. The resulting nerve damage would nearly cripple the arm for life, in addition to preventing Lawford from being eligible for military service as an adult.

Having traveled to California with his mother, Lawford picked up a small role in his first U.S. motion picture, "Lord Jeff" (1938), and began pursuing an acting career in earnest. With America's entry into World War II in 1941, many of Hollywood's leading men had enlisted for service. Lawford's once debilitating injury then became a boon, when studios execs put out the word to recruit handsome male talent for the suddenly shrunken pool of actors. Signed to a contract with MGM Studios, the young actor quickly made small appearances in a slew of films, including "Mrs. Miniver" (1942) and "A Yank at Eton" (1942), usually cast as either a dashing military officer or an effete snob. A more notable role came as a concerned young gentleman out to uncover the sinister secret of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945), followed by his first leading role in "Son of Lassie" (1945), opposite June Lockhart. Although groomed for stardom by MGM throughout the 1940s, none of Lawford's performances - perfectly adequate as they were - in films like "Good News" (1947), "Easter Parade" (1948), "Little Women" (1949), and "Royal Wedding" (1951) succeeded in cementing his reputation as a major box office draw or particularly memorable leading man.

As the studio system began its slow decline throughout the 1950s, so too did Lawford's film career. After MGM opted not to renew his contract, he made his first picture away from the studio opposite Judy Holiday in the musical-comedy "It Should Happen to You" (1954), a Columbia Pictures release directed by George Cukor and featuring a young Jack Lemmon in one of his earliest screen roles. Looking to the still-young medium of television, Lawford rolled the dice as the star of two series. First, as an advice-to-the-lovelorn columnist on the short-lived sitcom "Dear Phoebe" (NBC, 1954-55), then as Dashiell Hammett's sophisticated sleuth Nick Charles on "The Thin Man" (NBC, 1957-59). Known as one of Tinseltown's more active playboys during his early years, having dated Lana Turner and other MGM lovelies, Lawford, for all outwardly intensive purposes, gave up bachelorhood when he married Patricia Kennedy in 1954. Of English aristocracy himself, Lawford had married into one of America's royal families with the highly-publicized union. Being a part of the Kennedy family opened many doors for Lawford, in addition to attracting the attention of those intent on gaining access to the halls of power themselves. People like Frank Sinatra, who suddenly revived his friendship with Lawford after effectively putting and end to it years earlier in a fit of jealousy concerning his ex-wife, Ava Gardner.

Back in Sinatra's good graces, Lawford became a part of that legendary clique known as "The Rat Pack," performing on the stages of Las Vegas with pals Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. A string of Sinatra movies, like the light-hearted romps "Ocean's Eleven" (1960) and "Sergeants Three" (1962) followed. It was a heady time for Lawford, who was dubbed the "Brother-in-Lawford" by Sinatra after John F. Kennedy was elected U.S. President. Years later, speculation and rumors about Lawford arranging trysts for Kennedy - among the most infamous being Marilyn Monroe - ran rampant, although he had deftly maneuvered to keep the scandalous activities away from the press and his intimidating father-in-law at the time, Joseph Kennedy. Inevitably, the house of cards Lawford had built around himself was bound to fall apart. After fathering four children with Patricia, losing brother-in-law JFK to an assassin's bullet, and once again being ex-communicated by Sinatra over a perceived slight, Lawford at last admitted his numerous affairs to his wife. They were divorced in 1966. The actor married for a second and third time - each marriage briefer than the last - before beginning a nine-year relationship with the much younger Patricia Eaton, who Lawford would eventually wed in 1984.

As the 1960s drew to a close, Lawford - who no longer enjoyed the benefits of the studio system, the Rat Pack, or the Kennedy family - found both his professional and personal life floundering. Picking up acting work wherever he could find it, he once again appeared on screen with Jack Lemmon, albeit this time with Lemmon as the star and Lawford in a supporting role for the romantic-comedy "The April Fools" (1969). Always a heavy drinker, the actor's increased alcohol consumption over the years and a growing dependency on drugs were making it more difficult for him to find work. Other than the odd TV game show appearance or series guest spot, Lawford managed to land the occasional role in film projects like the little-seen thriller "Rosebud" (1975) and the boxing melodrama "Body and Soul" (1981). A faded celebrity, more famous for being famous rather than for any notable screen performance, his final film appearance was in the comedy "Where is Parsifal?" (1983) a British-French co-production featuring Tony Curtis and Orson Welles. Having paid no heed to doctors' repeated warnings that he needed to stop drinking, Lawford died from a heart attack brought on by kidney failure and cirrhosis of the liver on Dec. 24, 1984, mere months after marrying longtime girlfriend Patricia Eaton. Actor Peter Lawford was 61 years old.

By Bryce Coleman

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Where Is Parsifal? (1984)
Montague Chippendale
Body and Soul (1982)
Angels Brigade (1980)
Mysterious Island of Beautiful (1979)
Gordon Duvall
Fantasy Island (1977)
Grant Baines
Elizabeth Taylor: An Intimate Portrait (1975)
Guest Star
Rosebud (1975)
That's Entertainment! (1974)
Narrator
The Phantom of Hollywood (1974)
Roger Cross
They Only Kill Their Masters (1972)
[Lee] Campbell
Clay Pigeon (1971)
Chief McGregor
Ellery Queen: Don't Look Behind You (1971)
Ellery Queen
The Deadly Hunt (1971)
Mason
One More Time (1970)
Chris Pepper/Lord Sydney Pepper
The April Fools (1969)
Ted Gunther
Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1969)
Justin Young
Dead Run (1969)
Dain
Hook, Line and Sinker (1969)
Dr. Scott Carter
Salt & Pepper (1968)
Christopher Pepper
Skidoo (1968)
The Senator
How I Spent My Summer Vacation (1967)
Ned Pine
The Oscar (1966)
Steve Marks
A Man Called Adam (1966)
Manny
Sylvia (1965)
Frederic Summers
Harlow (1965)
Paul Bern
Dead Ringer (1964)
Tony Collins
Advise & Consent (1962)
Sen. Lafe Smith
Sergeants 3 (1962)
Sgt. Larry Barrett
The Longest Day (1962)
Lord Lovat
Pepe (1961)
Ocean's Eleven (1960)
Jimmy Foster
Exodus (1960)
Maj. Fred Caldwell
Never So Few (1959)
Capt. Grey Travis
It Should Happen to You (1954)
Evan Adams III
Rogue's March (1953)
Capt. Dion Lenbridge [also known as Pvt. Harry Simms]
Just This Once (1952)
Mark MacLene
The Hour of 13 (1952)
Nicholas Revel
You For Me (1952)
Tony Brown
Kangaroo (1952)
Richard Connor
Royal Wedding (1951)
Lord John Brindale
Please Believe Me (1950)
Jeremy Taylor
The Red Danube (1949)
Major John "Twingo" McPhimister
Little Women (1949)
[Theodore] Laurie [Laurence]
Julia Misbehaves (1948)
Ritchie Lorgan
Easter Parade (1948)
Jonathan Harrow, III
On an Island with You (1948)
Lt. Lawrence Y. Kingslee
It Happened in Brooklyn (1947)
Jamie Shellgrove
My Brother Talks to Horses (1947)
John S. Penrose
Good News (1947)
Tommy Marlowe
Two Sisters from Boston (1946)
Lawrence Tyburt Patterson, Jr.
Cluny Brown (1946)
Andrew Carmel
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
David Stone
Son of Lassie (1945)
Joe Carraclough
The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944)
English boy
The Canterville Ghost (1944)
Anthony de Canterville
The White Cliffs of Dover (1944)
John Ashwood II, as a young man
Mrs. Parkington (1944)
Lord Thornley
The Sky's the Limit (1943)
Naval commander
Sahara (1943)
British soldier
Paris After Dark (1943)
Frenchman
Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)
Sailor
Assignment in Brittany (1943)
Navigator
Flesh and Fantasy (1943)
Pierrot
Someone to Remember (1943)
Joe Downes
London Blackout Murders (1943)
Percy
Pilot #5 (1943)
English soldier
Above Suspicion (1943)
Boy student
The Purple V (1943)
Roger
The West Side Kid (1943)
Jerry Winston
Immortal Sergeant (1943)
Soldier
Girl Crazy (1943)
Boy
The Man from Down Under (1943)
Officer
Corvette K-225 (1943)
Naval officer
Eagle Squadron (1942)
Pilot
Random Harvest (1942)
Soldier
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Pilot
Thunder Birds (1942)
English cadet
A Yank at Eton (1942)
Ronnie Kenvil
Junior Army (1942)
Cadet Wilbur
Lord Jeff (1938)
Benny Potter

Producer (Feature Film)

One More Time (1970)
Executive Producer
Salt & Pepper (1968)
Executive Producer
Billie (1965)
Executive Producer
Johnny Cool (1963)
Executive Producer

Cast (Special)

The Farmer's Daughter (1962)
Glen Morley
Ruggles of Red Gap (1957)
Lord George Vane-Brinstead
Tom and Jerry (1955)
Tom Macy

Cast (Short)

That's Entertainment! (Gala Premiere) (1974)
Himself
Just One More Time (1974)
Himself
Faces of November (1964)
Himself

Life Events

1924

Moved with parents to Deauville at age one to avoid scandal of their divorces

1930

Family returned to London because of worldwide Depression

1931

Film debut in "Poor Old Bill" (as a result of mother's political association with Sir Thomas Paulson who owned major interest in Elstree Studios)

1932

Returned to France where he appeared in several films

1937

Moved to Hollywood

1938

US film debut (bit part), "Lord Jeff" at age 14

1939

Worked as gas station attendant, then parked cars and became manager of the parking lot in West Palm Beach, FL

1942

Played a pilot in "Mrs. Miniver"

1942

Returned to Hollywood; disqualified from military service because of teenage injury to right arm; worked as usher in a Westwood, CA movie theater

1943

Signed to MGM contract (for one year with second year option at $100 per week with 40 weeks guaranteed)

1951

First learned of scandal concerning his parents' divorce scandal and his own paternity

1952

MGM contract not renewed

1954

Starred in and produced first TV series, "Dear Phoebe"

1954

Reportedly introduced John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe to each other

1956

Bought Louis B. Mayer's former Santa Monica beach front estate for $95,000

1957

Starred in TV series, "The Thin Man"

1960

Formed Chrislaw production company with Milton Ebbins which produced "The Patty Duke Show" and the film, "Johnny Cool" (both 1963) (date approximate)

1960

Became an American citizen in order to vote in 1960 election for brother-in-law John F. Kennedy

1960

Joined Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack"

Photo Collections

Little Women (1949) - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Little Women (1949). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Son of Lassie - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Son of Lassie (1945). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Royal Wedding - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken during the production of Royal Wedding (1951), starring Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, and Peter Lawford.
Easter Parade - Irving Berlin Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of MGM's Easter Parade (1948), featuring songwriter Irving Berlin and the film's cast and crew.
Good News - Behind-the-Scenes photos
Here are several photos taken during rehearsals and shooting of Good News (1947). Look for director Charles Walters, unit producer Arthur Freed, and stars June Allyson and Peter Lawford.
Good News - Publicity Stills
Here are a few publicity stills featuring the cast of MGM's Good News (1947). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Ocean's Eleven - Movie Posters
Here are several original release movie posters from Ocean's Eleven (1960), starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford, and Angie Dickinson.
Little Women (1949) - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Little Women (1949). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
It Happened in Brooklyn - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release movie posters from It Happened in Brooklyn (1947), starring Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, and Peter Lawford.
Just This Once - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Just This Once (1952), starring Janet Leigh and Peter Lawford. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Two Sisters from Boston - Publicity Stills
Here are several Publicity Stills from Two Sisters from Boston (1946). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Rogue's March - Peter Lawford Publicity Stills
Here are some publicity stills of MGM contract star Peter Lawford, taken to promote Rogue's March (1953). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a few photos taken during the making of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945).
Just This Once - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for MGM's Just This Once (1952), starring Peter Lawford and Janet Leigh. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Never So Few - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are a number of photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Never So Few (1959), starring Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford and Steve McQueen, and directed by John Sturges.
Never So Few - Pressbook
Here is the campaign book (pressbook) for MGM's Never So Few (1959), starring Frank Sinatra and Gina Lollobrigida. Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater. The original Herald insert is also included.
Sergeants 3 - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release American movie posters for Sergeants 3 (1964), the Rat Pack western starring Frank Sinatra and friends.

Videos

Movie Clip

On An Island With You (1948) — (Movie Clip) Nightingale (Dance) Smitten Navy movie technical adviser Kingsley (Peter Lawford) gets turned down by the star Roz (Esther Williams, backed by her director, Dick Simmons), slipping into a dance number for her fiancè and co-star (Ricardo Montalban) and the second lead (Cyd Charisse), Xaiver Cugat’s group backing with his own composition, in MGM’s On An Island With You, 1948.
Red Danube, The (1949) - At The Gondola In Ten MInutes Smooth MGM introduction of flashy supporting players, Melville Cooper, Angela Lansbury and Peter Lawford, as British military staffers in post WWII Rome, opening the big budget political-romance The Red Danube, 1949, starring Janet Leigh, Walter Pidgeon and Ethel Barrymore.
Red Danube, The (1949) - We Have Our Lord Just arrived in Vienna where they’ll be sorting Russian refugees, Brits Nicobar (Walter Pidgeon), McPhinister (Peter Lawford) and Quail (Angela Lansbury) meet their hostess, the Mother Superior (Ethel Barrymore), and top-billed Janet Leigh makes her first appearance, in The Red Danube, 1949.
Good News (1947) - French Lesson Tait College football star Tommy (Peter Lawford) at the library meets hard working student Connie (June Allyson), who helps him learn French to woo another girl, with a Comden & Green specialty number, in Good News, 1947.
Good News (1947) - He's A Ladies Man After practice, inexplicably British football jock Tommy (Peter Lawford) leads Bobby (Ray McDonald), Danny (Mel Torme) and pals in a Buddy DeSylva tune about how to attract girls, in the Arthur Freed MGM musical Good News, 1947.
Lord Jeff (1938) - We Carry Our Own Kit Exposed fake Lord Geoffrey (Freddie Bartholomew) and pals Baker, Thrums and Potter (Terry Kilburn, Walter Tetley and Peter Lawford age maybe 15, on harmonica) arrive at Russell-Cotes Nautical Academy, Jelks (Herbert Mundin) introducing Captain Briggs (Charles Coburn), in MGM's Lord Jeff, 1938.
It Happened In Brooklyn (1947) - Whose Baby Are You? Frank Sinatra is depressed soldier Danny, about to ship home from England, exhorted by a brassy Army nurse (Gloria Grahame) to join the party, and meeting English Jamie (Peter Lawford, his future Rat Pack pal, for their first movie scene together) for a Sammy Cahn-Jule Styne tune, early in It Happened In Brooklyn, 1947.
Longest Day, The (1962) - Request Reluctantly Approved Peter Lawford as Lovat, (Scottish-born British aristocrat Simon Christopher Joseph Fraser, a real person) minimizing his oratory en route to the D-Day invasion, then Edmond O’Brien as Gen. Barton, and Henry Fonda (then 56, the same age as his character) finally appearing 90 minutes into the picture as Gen. Teddy Roosevelt Jr., dramatizing a famous actual event, in The Longest Day, 1962.
Advise & Consent (1962) - A Vice President Shouldn't Ask First scene for Washington hostess Dolly (Gene Tierney), joining senator Munson (Walter Pidgeon), who's managing a nomination fight, making time for anxious colleague Van Ackerman (George Grizzard), and visiting the timid Vice President (Lew Ayres), in Otto Preminger's Advise & Consent, 1962.
Ocean's Eleven (1960) - Nobody Will Even See Us Jimmy (Peter Lawford) introduces Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra) who introduces the plan for the Las Vegas multi-casino heist to the gang of ex-Army buddies (Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Richard Conte as "Tony," et al) in Ocean's Eleven, 1960.
Please Believe Me (1950) - No Point Getting On The Boat We've already met Deborah Kerr as English Alison, believing reports she's inherited a vast Texas estate, now boarding the ship from London, she meets Robert Walker and James Whitmore, whose motivations are not quite clear, then Peter Lawford and Mark Stevens who are more forthright, in MGM's Please Believe Me, 1950, produced by Val Lewton.
Julia Misbehaves (1948) - Agamemnon Beating Circe Unveiling the affluent Packett household in France, Walter Pidgeon whom we surmise is the estranged but not unfriendly husband of the title character (Greer Garson, not seen here), Elizabeth Taylor the daughter, whose wedding she’s been unexpectedly invited to, Peter Lawford a hired artist, and Lucile Watson the grandmother, in MGM’s Julia Misbehaves, 1948.

Trailer

Clay Pigeon (1971) -- (Original Trailer) Arlo Guthrie’s “I Could Be Singing,” featured in the film, is the background for the original trailer for the budget-challenged counter-culture crime oddity, with it’s impressive cast, Clay Pigeon, 1971, by would-be Hollywood maverick director and star Tom Stern, not the well-known cinematographer.
Easter Parade (1948) -- (Re-issue Trailer) When his partner leaves him, a vaudeville star trains an untried performer to take her place in Easter Parade (1948) starring Judy Garland & Fred Astaire.
Exodus - (Textless trailer) Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint lead an all-star cast in Otto Preminger's epic about the formation of the modern state of Israel, Exodus (1960).
Dead Ringer - (Original Trailer) Bette Davis vs. her evil twin in Dead Ringer (1964), a thriller directed by her former Now, Voyager co-star Paul Henreid.
Billie - (Original Trailer) When a girl (Patty Duke) beats all the guys at track, it causes problems for her conservative father in Billie (1965).
Son Of Lassie - (Original Trailer) Peter Lawford and his dog are trapped behind enemy lines in World War II in the sequel to Lassie Come Home (1943).
That's Entertainment! - (Original Trailer) An all-star cast, including Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire, introduce clips from MGM's greatest musicals in That's Entertainment! (1974).
Salt and Pepper - (Original Trailer) Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford are Salt and Pepper (1968) two London swingers turned reluctant secret agents.
Sky's The Limit, The - (Original Trailer) A pilot on leave (Fred Astaire) falls for a pretty news photographer in the musical The Sky's The Limit (1943).
They Only Kill Their Masters - (Original Trailer) A small-town police chief (James Garner) uncovers a mystery while investigating a dog accused of killing its owner in They Only Kill Their Masters (1972).
Little Women (1949) - (Original Trailer) June Allyson is Jo and Elizabeth Taylor, Amy, seen here in the original theatrical trailer for the first color version of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, 1949, delivered by co-stars Peter Lawford and Janet Leigh.
Royal Wedding - (Original Trailer) A brother and sister dance act from New York perform for the aristocracy in London in Royal Wedding (1951).

Family

Sydney Lawford
Father
Lieutenant general. Born November 16, 1865; died February 15, 1953; knighted for heroism in WWI; appeared as character actor in 1940s films ("The Amazing Mr. Nordill", "The Suspect", "Kitty"); married May Bunny Aylen September 11, 1924 after birth of their son; was Ernest Aylen's commanding officer.
May Lawford
Mother
Journalist, actor. Born 1883, died January 23, 1972; married first husband Harry Cooper in 1902 (committed suicide); married second husband Ernest Vaughan Aylen (major in Royal Army Medical Corps); divorced Aylen in 1923 after birth of her son Peter fathered by Aylen's commanding officer Sir Sydney Lawford; Aylen gave name to May's son; married Lawford 1924; wrote column for London newspapers on her international travels in 1928; signed MGM contract in 1950 as an actor and consultant "on all things British"; appeared in two MGM films ("Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid" 1945 and "Hong Kong" 1952); as Lady May Lawford or Mary Somerville appeared on TV in the late 1950s (on "Matinee Theatre", "Climax!" and her son's series, "The Thin Man" 1957).
Christopher Kennedy Lawford
Son
Actor, producer. Born on March 29, 1955; mother Patricia Kennedy; received a degree from Boston College Law School in 1983; has appeared on TV commercials and in films "Impulse" (1990), "Run" and "The Doors" (both 1991) and as a regular on the ABC daytime soap "All My Children".
Sydney Lawford
Daughter
Born August 25, 1956; mother Patricia Kennedy.
Victoria Frances Lawford
Daughter
Born November 4, 1958; TV coordinator for Very Special Arts (affiliated with the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts for the disabled); mother Patricia Kennedy.
Robin Elizabeth Lawford
Daughter
Born July 2, 1961; mother Patricia Kennedy.

Companions

Lana Turner
Companion
Actor. Had eight month relationship in 1944.
June Allyson
Companion
Actor. Met while filming "Two Sisters From Boston (1946).
Ava Gardner
Companion
Actor. Dated in 1946.
Sharman Douglas
Companion
Socialite. Dated 1949; engaged 1950; he broke off engagement after four days; daughter of American ambassador to the court of St. James in London.
Jean MacDonald
Companion
Reporter. Society reporter for "Honolulu Star Bulletin"; met while Lawford on route to film "Kangaroo" in Australia (1951); engaged 1952.
Judy Holliday
Companion
Actor. Met while filming "It Should Happen to You" (1953).
Patricia Kennedy
Wife
Radio and TV production assistant. Married April 24, 1954, divorced January 1, 1966; John F. Kennedy's sister; worked as production assistant on Kate Smith's radio program (1949) and Father Peyton's "Family Rosary Crusade"; mother of Lawford's four children.
Geri Crane
Companion
Model. Together 1968-70; 23 years Lawford's junior.
Mary Rowan
Wife
Dancer. Married October 30, 1971 at age (circa) 21, divorced January 2, 1975; daughter of comedian Dan Rowan; met during 1971 taping of "Laugh In" on which Lawford was a guest.
Deborah Gould
Wife
Aspiring actor. Married June 24, 1976; divorced; 27 years Lawford's junior.
Pat Seaton
Wife
Married July 1984 in hospital where Lawford was operated on for bleeding ulcer; together from 1976 when Seaton was 17; co-author of "The Peter Lawford Story".

Bibliography

"Peter Lawford: The Man Who Kept the Secrets"
James Spada, Bantam Books (1991)
"The Peter Lawford Story"
Patricia Seaton Lawford and Ted Schwarz, Carroll & Graf (1988)
"Bitch! The Autobiography of Lady Lawford As Told to Buddy Galon"
Lady May Lawford and Buddy Galon, Branden (1986)
"Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the Last Great Showbiz Party"
Shawn Levy, Doubleday

Notes

"Peter Lawford's tenure at MGM is one of the best examples of how an MGM contract could both elevate and sabotage a performer's career. Peter's association with the studio put him in some of the best, most expensive, most popular films produced in the United States in the 1940s. With few exceptions, however, his roles were secondary and demanded little more of him than that he look handsome and act charming."Peter was undeniably talented, and he showed promise when forced to stretch himself. But MGM had so many extraordinarily gifted performers that someone with relatively modest abilities, like Peter, was expendable. 'Most of the time I spent sunbathing in my backyard,' he said. 'Every now and then the postman would throw a new script through the front door which I'd be obliged to do whether I wanted to or not.'" --James Spada ("Peter Lawford: The Man Who Kept the Secrets" 1991)