Peter Hansen, Longtime Actor on 'General Hospital,' Dies at 95

From Photofest
Peter Hansen

He played Lee Baldwin on the venerable ABC soap after starring in such films as 'When Worlds Collide' and 'The Savage.'

Peter Hansen, who appeared as the steady Lee Baldwin on the ABC soap opera General Hospital in parts of five decades, died Sunday in Santa Clarita, Calif., his family reported. He was 95.

Hansen was seen on the weekday serial from 1965 until 2004 and earned a supporting actor Daytime Emmy Award in 1979. His character started out as an addiction counselor at the hospital and went on to serve as mayor of Port Charles (he lost to Anthony Geary's Luke Spencer in one heated election but eventually took over the post). Later, Lee returned to GH to serve on its board of directors.

A contract player at Paramount Pictures, Hansen played a scientist opposite Barbara Rush in the George Pal-produced When Worlds Collide (1951) and was a cavalry man in the 1952 Western The Savage, starring Charlton Heston.

Hansen had regular roles on such series as The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Gomer Pyle: USMC and How the West Was Won and appeared on The Loretta Young Show, The Lone Ranger, Science Fiction Theatre, Sea Hunt, Perry Mason and many other programs.

On a 1988 episode of Cheers, Hansen portrayed the chairman of the corporation that owns the bar, and he was the doctor boyfriend of Dorothy (Bea Arthur) who flirted with Blanche (Rue McClanahan), causing all sorts of trouble, on a 1985 installment of The Golden Girls.

Born on Dec. 5, 1921, in Oakland, Calif., Hansen was raised in Detroit, attended the University of Michigan and served with the U.S. Marine Corps, flying combat missions in the South Pacific.

After making his way to Hollywood and acting at the famed Pasadena Playhouse, he appeared with Alan Ladd in Branded (1950).

Hansen also served as spokesman for Plymouth automobiles on variety shows hosted by Lawrence Welk, Steve Allen and Garry Moore and was a news anchor at KCOP-TV in Los Angeles in 1961.

His wife of 50 years, Betty, died in 1993. He then shared 24 years as a companion to Barbara Wenzel.

Survivors also include his son Peter, daughter Gretchen and grandchildren Allison, Erik and Jamal.

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