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Actor Peter Haskell Dead at 75
The news of his death was first posted by his daughter, Audra, on his Facebook page. He died at home in his sleep of natural causes. Haskell's postings on Facebook were as recent as April 11. He mentions his wife and how much he'll enjoy the summer to come on April 5, and talks about the recent earthquake that was felt in most parts of Los Angeles April 4. The description of his prolific work read, simply, "3 soaps, 3 network series, 5 films, 400 TV shows."
Haskell was born Oct. 15, 1934 in Boston to Rose Veronica and noted geophysicist Norman Abraham Haskell. He graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature with a prior, two-year stint as a Private First Class in the U.S. Army. Haskell began his acting while at Harvard and was originally set to study at Columbia Law School after his graduation, but was cast in the off-Broadway play, "The Love Nest," with James Earl Jones.
Although the play had a short run that closed after 13 performances, it paved the way to his future TV appearances that included shows like "Death Valley Days," "Lassie," "Murder, She Wrote," "Matlock," Frasier," "Columbo," "JAG," "The Closer," "Cold Case," and the series finale of "ER," among others.
Haskell also appeared in the TV movie "The Cracker Factory" with Natalie Wood, "Child's Play 2" and "Child's Play 3."
Haskell was also active in the L.A. theater community, directing "Kataki," in which LA Weekly reviewed his direction favorably. He was the vice-president and treasurer of Theatre East, a New York-based theater company he actively participated in and supported for 40 years. A group member said he was "the heart and soul" of the company.
Haskell's exuberant life can be best summed up with the closing of "Kataki" in February, when he said, "Now if I only knew what I was doing next," on his Facebook page.
He was married to Ann Compton from 1960–1974. After their divorce, he married Dianne "Crickett" Tolmich in 1974. He is survived by his wife and two children, Audra and Jason.
A memorial will be held at The MET Theatre in Hollywood on June 15 at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made at the request of his family in Peter Haskell's memory to Theatre East, 12400 Ventura Blvd. #377, Studio City, CA 91604.
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