George Peppard, Jr. was an American film and television actor. He secured a major role when he starred alongside Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and he played the title role of the millionaire sleuth Thomas Banacek in the early-1970s television series Banacek, but he is probably best known to younger audiences for his role as Col. John “Hannibal” Smith, the cigar-chomping leader of a renegade commando squad, in the 1980s television show The A-Team.
George Peppard, Jr. was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of building contractor George Peppard, Sr. and opera singer Vernelle Rohrer. He graduated from Dearborn High School in Dearborn, Michigan.
Peppard enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at 17 on July 8, 1946 and rose to rank of Corporal in the 10th Marines, leaving the Marines at the end of his enlistment in January 1948.
From 1948 to 1949, he studied Civil Engineering at Purdue University where he was a member of the Purdue Playmakers theatre troupe and Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He then transferred to Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1955.