Peter Breck (right, in Shock Corridor), best known for his role as the short-tempered Nick Barkley in the 1960s television series The Big Valley, died Monday, Feb. 6, in Vancouver. Breck, who had been suffering from dementia, was 82.
Though mostly a TV actor (Black Saddle, Maverick, The Fall Guy), Breck also appeared in about 20 movies. The most notable among those was probably Samuel Fuller’s thriller Shock Corridor (1963), in which he plays a journalist who commits himself to a mental institution in order to solve a murder. Additionally, Breck was featured in Joe Camp’s blockbuster Benji (1974), about a stray dog who rescues two kidnapped children.
Breck’s other features were minor fare. Those included Herbert L. Strock’s The Crawling Hand (1963), about the hand of a dead astronaut that spends its time strangling the living, plus Highway 61 (1991), Decoy (1995), Lulu (1996), and Jiminy Glick in Lalawood (2004).
Breck is the third The Big Valley lead to have passed on. Richard Long died of a heart attack at age 47 in 1974. Barbara Stanwyck, whose film career had begun in 1927, died in 1990. Lee Majors, 73 next April, and Linda Evans, 70 next November, are still alive.
Directed by Daniel Adams, a big-screen version of The Big Valley is expected to hit theaters some time in 2012. The Big Valley movie features Jason Alan Smith (as Nick Barkley), Sarah Paxton, Richard Dreyfuss, Aidan Quinn, Bruce Dern, Josh Stewart, John Savage, Travis Fimmel, Buck Taylor, and Lee Majors. Jessica Lange, who took over from the previously announced Susan Sarandon, will play the old Barbara Stanwyck role.
I enjoyed watching Big Valley, everyone on the show were so very talented.It is so sad that life has to end. Thank God for flim,we can replay any show that we enjoyed in the past.
Note: In the article re: Peter Breck, the date of Richard Long’s death is incorrect.
Mr. Long died December 21, 1974, four days past his 47th birthday.
That was a typo. The text has been amended. Thank you.
i watch big valley till it went off now i watch the reruns the reason i am typing this i did not know p breck passed. to his wife, your husband came to my small town in sc for a peach fest, my brother ran up to talk to him, they let him i’ve got a picture. so sad for your loss.
‘he was a VERY good looking man……..sincererly bgreen……………
I had a chance thanks to a radio station to talk with Peter and got him the laugh twice,
It was very nice to be able to talk to a person who I watched as a kid and tell him Nick was loud he in turn said Nick was not loud he was Pornouced :) once his web site came up I sent him a some emails, he or his wife Diane would answer. the inner little girl who watched him is amazed she was able to tell him how much she enjoyed seeing him and enjoyed the shows.
Charles Briles who played Eugene is still alive and he also enjoys his fans and has answered many of our questions.
Thank you for remembering Mr Breck.
Iwatched the Big Valley since I was a little girl. I still watch the reruns.