House Peters Jr., film and TV actor, cowboy and SF enthusiast, has died at the age of 92 from complications brought on from pneumonia. He was born in 1916 to a father (Robert House Peters Sr.) who was already a famous silent movie star with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Don’t recognize the name? Well, his face is one of the most known on the planet as the actor who was the original ear-ringed, bald-headed, muscular Mr. Clean in Proctor & Gamble’s commercials for household cleaners for a little over a decade. His entire acting career spanned over 30 years from 1935 into the late 1960’s.
He also had a successful career as a character actor starring in 1950’s and late 1960’s film and television for such shows as “Perry Mason,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Twilight Zone” and “Lassie.” Peters Jr. also starred opposite famous singing cowboys like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. He also added author to his resume with the publication of his autobiography titled “Another Side of Hollywood.”
Besides “The Twilight Zone,” some of his other SF or genre-related work included 1952’s “”Ramar of the Jungle,” the 1953 SF crime drama “Port Sinister,” “Target Earth” in 1954, and “Red Planet Mars,” just to name a few. As much as he loved sci-fi, Peters Jr.’s first love was the cowboy series and movies. He appeared in well over 70 different serials, TV shows and films dedicated to the wild West. He was honored with the Golden Boot Award in 2000 for his lifetime contributions to the western genre.
“He always played the heavy,” said Jon Peters, the elder Peters’ son. “Even though he wasn’t happy about being cast in those roles, he worked really hard at it.”
Peters swore that if he hadn’t become a major leading star by age 50, he would quit show business for good. Peters kept his word and in 1967, with nothing but a recurring role on Lassie ahead of him, he left acting and began a highly successful career in real estate.
[1st image shows a young House Peters Jr. working on the set of the 1930’s Flash Gordon serial. The 2nd is an image from just one of his many appearances in Westerns]