Paul Burke, New Orleans-born actor, dies
by The Times-Picayune
Sunday September 13, 2009, 3:18 PM
Paul Burke, the New Orleans-born actor best known for his roles in the "Naked City," "12 O'Clock High" and "Dynasty" television series, died early Sunday in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 83.
Mr. Burke was born in 1926, the son of boxer Martin Burke. The family owned the nightclub and restaurant Marty Burke's in the French Quarter during World War II, and Mr. Burke spent much of his childhood around the family business.
He made his way to Hollywood at the age of 19, where he studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse school of theatre arts.
At first, Mr. Burke was cast in small roles in films and became protege to Warner Bros. director Lloyd Bacon. He travelled back and forth between Hollywood and New York, playing guest roles in television series. In 1957, Mr. Burke landed his first leading role as Dr. Noah McCann in NBC's live television series "Noah's Ark."
He also did numerous guest roles in TV series and starred in several other series including ABC's "Harbourmaster" and NBC's "Five Fingers."
Mr. Burke was nominated for an Emmy twice for his role as Det. Adam Flint in the Emmy Award winning series "Naked City," which he joined in its second season when the format changed from half-hour to hour long drama. With storylines inspired by real life crime and its gritty, semi-documentary shooting style on location in New York City, the series attracted the brightest up and coming talents of the New York stage to guest roles -- Dustin Hoffman, Robert Duvall, Jon Voight among them.
Mr. Burke later went on to a starring role in ABC's popular series, "12 O'Clock High" as Col. Joseph Anson Gallagher.
Throughout his career he was a staple in television series, utilized most frequently by friend and colleague Aaron Spelling. In the 1980s Mr. Burke found himself in one of the most widely watched series of the time, "Dynasty," as the infamous Congressman Neal McVane who framed Alexis for murder.
Though Mr. Burke spent much of his career in television, he also had success in feature films. In 1967 the best-selling Jacqueline Susann novel "Valley of the Dolls" was made into a movie and Mr. Burke was cast as Lyon Burke, starring alongside Sharon Tate, Patty Duke and Barbara Parkins.
His other roles in film include leading roles in "The Thomas Crown Affair" with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, and "Daddy's Gone A-Hunting."
In 1979 Burke married television actress Lyn Peters whom he'd worked with on "12 O'Clock High." In the past several years the couple had retired permanently to their Palm Springs home.
In 1989, Mr. Burke was indicted with then-New Orleans District Attorney Harry Connick, developer Wilson Abraham, attorney Pat Fanning and a convicted bookmaker, Walton Aucoin. They were accused on charges of racketeering and aiding a gambling operation.
The highly publicized five-week trial brought Burke back to his native city to face federal charges that he was aiding an illegal gambling operation by calling Connick, a lifelong friend, on behalf of Aucoin. Burke, Connick, Abraham and Fanning were acquitted in 1990, but Aucoin and two-others were convicted.
Burke is survived by his wife, Lyn, and his three children from his first marriage, Paula Burke-Lopez, Paul Brian Burke and Dina Burke-Shawkat
Born: 7/21/1926, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Died: 9/13/2009, Palm Springs, California, U.S.A.
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