Peter Dane

Peter Dane in Caccia all'uomo
Peter Dane in Caccia all'uomo

I’ve noticed the name Peter Dane crop up in a couple of Italian films that I’ve watched now, so it seems like a good opportunity to revive my ‘Americans in Cinecitta’ posts.

So, who was Peter Dane?  Well, detailed biographical information – beyond the basics – is sketchy.  Born Edward Voigt on June 2nd 1918, in Fresno County, California, he started appearing in American TV series during the 1950s, with guest roles in the likes of Tales of the Texas Rangers, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Target.  In 1960, though, he appeared in his first Italian film, Giorgio Bianchi’s police procedural Chiamate 22-22 tenente Sheridan.  In line with much of his work, he had a supporting role, and it doesn’t seem particularly likely that he was bought in to give it extra distribution potential, in which case he would have featured more prominently.  Did he just happen to have been in Rome for other reasons and decided to do a bot of acting on the side?  Who knows.  Whatever the case, other films followed in rapid succession: he played another urbane villain in Riccardo Freda’s bizarre Caccia all’uomo (61), a film inspired by the heroic antics of a real life police dog in Sardinia; appeared in Enzo Battaglia’s obscure La vita provvisoria (62); had a small role in Romano Ferrara’s early sci fi film I pianeti contro di noi (62); and played a spy in Giorgio Simonelli’s comedy espionage film I tre nemici (62).  None of these were big budget, and in most cases he played American characters living in Rome.

Although his output declined in the second half of the decade, he still made several other films.  He had a cameo (as another American official) in Toto and Peppino Divided in Berlin (64), teamed up again with Romano Ferrara in Crimine a due (64) and appeared in a couple of decent spy films, Mario Sequi’s Cobra (67) and Emilio Miraglia’s Assassination (67).  In 1968 he had small roles in a couple of big budget international productions – Christian Marquand’s Candy and Francesco’s Maselli’s caper A Fine Pair, starring Rock Hudson.  He also appeared in a couple of arthouse favourites, the Fellini / Malle / Vadim collaboration Spirits of the Dead (68) and Visconti’s The Damned (69).  Spaghetti Western fans might recognise him from the Tony Kendall film Hate is my God (69) and his last Italian appearance was as a TV host in Sergio Sollima’s Violent City (70).  In all, between 1960 and 1970 he appeared in about 15 Italian films (or Italian co-productions) and, although he never had anything approaching a lead role, he was a reliable supporting performer.

In the early 1970s, he seems to have relocated to the States, like many of the other American’s who working in Italian cinema at around the same time.  He continued working in low budget cinema, including the likes of Cycle Psycho (73), Sixpack Annie (75) and Black Samurai (77).  He died on July 15th, 1985, aged 67.

There’s also another curiosity about his career: of the 15 films he made in Italy, five of them were opposite Umberto Orsini.  Was there some kind of connection between the two actors?

About Matt Blake 873 Articles
The WildEye is a blog dedicated to the wild world of Italian cinema (and, ok, sometimes I digress into discussing films from other countries as well). Peplums, comedies, dramas, spaghetti westerns... they're all covered here.

5 Comments

  1. I knew Peter very well. What a life. It’s a movie in itself. He helped a lot of people in AA. A very sad ending for Peter. He was the love of my life.

    • Gary – I knew Peter briefly in the early 1980’s – at the time I worked for AFTRA in Hollywood – when it was in the Pacific Life building at the corner of Hollywood & Highland and then directly across from the Chinese Theatre. Peter & I spent some time together. He was a very interesting person – I thought him quite dynamic as well. I unfortunately lost contact with him. I knew him when he lived in an apt. near Fountain & Crescent Heights – or was it La Brea? – it was a while back. I would be interested in discussing him further if you would care to. I can be reached at “jetdeabq@yahoo.com. I live in Taos, NM now – I left SoCal in late 1987. I hope to hear from you. Thanks for you time – John Tafoya (Taos, NM)

      • Gary – I didn’t mean La Brea – meant Fairfax Ave – & I looked at Google maps and I believe the apt may have been on Hayworth Ave.
        If you receive this – (I notice your post was in Aug. 2012) – and are able to contact me – I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks again! – John Tafoya

  2. Dear John
    Please e mail me or call me at 760 8326270. I would love to talk to you about Peter. He is very much in my memory. what a life. Peter Dane lived a wonderful life from San Francisco to Palm Beach life.he mentioned you to his friend Bob Osborne. Gary honea

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