64 years ago today, on Thursday, February 20, 1947 actor Peter Strauss, the king of the mini-series, was born in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.
Strauss’s earliest TV appearances were in the early 1970s in episodes of shows like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Hawaii Five-O,” and “Medical Center.” It was the groundbreaking mini-series “Rich Man, Poor Man” which premiered February 1, 1976 on ABC that catapulted Strauss to stardom. It did the same for another young actor named Nick Nolte.
What made “Rich Man, Poor Man” unique was that it aired weekly for just 7 weeks with just 9 episodes. It was the first time any series was scheduled this way and it turned out to be a blockbuster.
That led to a sequel called “Rich Man, Poor Man Book II“ which premiered as a regular weekly series in September 1976. It ran for just one season. Strauss then became the “go-to” guy for starring roles in mini-series, including “Masada,” “Tender Is the Night,” and one of my all-time favorites, “Kane & Abel.” (Really, ANY film with an almost shirtless Ed Asner would be one of my all-time favorites).
Peter Strauss has also starred in many TV movies like “Young Joe, the Forgotten Kennedy,” “Angel on My Shoulder,” and “The Jericho Mile” which won him an Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Special.
Strauss may also be known by some who love the outdoors. A ranch he once sold to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is now part of the National Park Service. “Peter Strauss Ranch” is located in Cornell, California.
Peter Strauss will be appearing in the play “Divine Rivalry” at Hartford Stage in Connecticut starting this Thursday, February 24th.