Society

'General Hospital' Actor Peter Hansen Dead At 95

| by Erik Kindel

Longtime "General Hospital" actor Peter Hansen passed away at the age of 95 on April 9 in Santa Clarita, California. Over the course of nearly five decades, Hansen portrayed Lee Baldwin on the ABC soap.

Both The Hollywood Reporter and Variety recounted Hansen's tenure at "General Hospital" from 1965 to 2004 in their obituaries of the storied actor.

Hansen was born in 1921 in Oakland, California. He was raised in Detroit, attended the University of Michigan, and flew combat missions in the South Pacific with the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII.

Following the war, Hansen made his way to Hollywood and began acting at the famous Pasadena Playhouse. In 1950, he appeared with Alan Ladd in "Branded." Hansen became a contract player with Paramount Pictures, and in 1951, he played opposite Barbara Rush in "When Worlds Collide," and appeared in the 1952 Western, "The Savage," along with Charlton Heston.

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Hansen also played the doctor-boyfriend of Bea Arthur on "The Golden Girls" in 1985, and appeared on an episode of "Cheers" in 1988.

The actor served as a Plymouth automobiles spokesman on variety shows.

According to The New York Times, Hansen made regular appearances on series like "The Adventures of Jim Bowie," "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." and "How the West Was Won." 

Later, he appeared on "The Lone Ranger," "Science Fiction Theatre," "Sea Hunt," "Perry Mason" and many other shows.

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In 1961, he was a news anchor at KCOP-TV in Los Angeles.

But he'll always be remembered best for his years as Lee Baldwin on "General Hospital." For his work on the soap opera, he earned a supporting-actor Daytime Emmy Award in 1979, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The character began as an addiction counselor and worked his way up to mayor of the community in which "General Hospital" takes place. Eventually, Lee sat on the show's board of directors.

According to Variety, Hansen appeared on "General Hospital" first from 1965 to 1976, again between 1977 and 1986, and finally from 1992 to 2004.

He is remembered as a devoted husband to his wife of 50 years, Betty, who passed in 1993, and subsequently as a companion to Barbara Wenzel, with whom he shared the final 24 years of his life.

Hansen loved to fly and continued to own and operate his own Cessna, according to Legacy, the Los Angeles Times' obituary section. He also is said to have led a devoted spiritual life, attending a local church regularly.

He is survived by his son, Peter, his daughter, Gretchen, and his grandchildren, Allison, Erik and Jamal.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Legacy, The New York Times / Photo Credit: The Hansen Family via Variety

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