Peter Breck Cause of Death: How the Big Valley Star Passed Away

Peter Breck, best known for his role as Nick Barkley on the popular TV Western series The Big Valley, died on February 6, 2012 at the age of 82. He had been suffering from dementia and had been hospitalized since January 10, 2012. His wife, Diane, announced his death on the website The Big Valley Writing Desk.

A Versatile Actor and a Western Icon

Peter Breck was born on March 13, 1929 in Rochester, New York. He grew up living with his grandparents in Haverhill, Massachusetts, because his father, a jazz musician, often traveled for work. He served in the US Navy during World War II and played professional basketball for the Rochester Royals in the late 1940s. He then studied English and drama at the University of Houston and made his film debut in The Beatniks (1958).

Breck had a prolific career in television and film, appearing in dozens of shows and movies from the mid-1950s to the early 2000s. He worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, such as Robert Mitchum, Barbara Stanwyck, James Garner, and Samuel Fuller. He was especially known for his roles in Westerns, such as Maverick, Black Saddle, Gunsmoke, and The Virginian.

However, his most famous role was that of Nick Barkley, the hot-tempered middle son of ranch owner Victoria Barkley (played by Barbara Stanwyck) on The Big Valley. The show ran from 1965 to 1969 and was one of the most popular Westerns of its time. Breck’s character was often involved in fights and feuds with his siblings and rivals, but also showed a softer side when it came to romance and family. Breck remained close friends with Stanwyck after the show ended.

A Life Beyond Hollywood

In the mid-1980s, Breck moved to Vancouver, Canada, where he worked in theater and opened an acting school. He also continued to appear in some TV shows and films, such as Fantasy Island, The Fall Guy, and Benji. He was married to Diane Breck for 51 years and had one son, Christopher.

Breck was diagnosed with dementia in the late 2000s and his health deteriorated over time. He spent his last days in a hospital in Vancouver, surrounded by his family and friends. He passed away peacefully on February 6, 2012.

Breck’s fans and colleagues mourned his death and remembered him as a talented actor and a kind person. He left behind a legacy of memorable performances and a lasting impact on the genre of Westerns.

Doms Desk

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