b. Peter Sydney Ernest Aylen, 7 September 1923, London, England, d. 24 December 1984, Los Angeles, California, USA. The son of actor Sidney Lawford, Peter made his screen debut in Poor Old Bill (1931). In Hollywood in 1938 he played a small role in Lord Jeff and in 1942/3 appeared in more than 20 films. From 1944 he had a succession of supporting roles in musicals including Two Sisters From Boston (1946, with June Allyson and Kathryn Grayson) and It Happened In Brooklyn (1947, starring Frank Sinatra and Grayson and in which Lawford sang Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn’s ‘Whose Baby Are You?’). Also in 1947 Lawford co-starred with Allyson in Good News, the pair singing ‘The French Lesson’, and the following year with Esther Williams in On An Island With You. The same year he was in Easter Parade with Fred Astaire and sang Irving Berlin’s ‘A Fella With An Umbrella’ with Judy Garland. He also appeared in Astaire’s 1951 Royal Wedding and was also fleetingly in Pepe (1960), an unsuccessful star-studded vehicle for Mexican actor Cantinflas.
From the mid-50s Lawford’s film appearances were less frequent but he also appeared on television, starring in the series Dear Phoebe (1954-55) and The Thin Man (1957-59). He was a long-serving panellist on Password and also appeared as a guest on several other shows including Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1968-71) and The Doris Day Show (1971-72). In the 60s he was involved in film production, on some occasions in conjunction with Sammy Davis Jnr. During the 50s and 60s he and Davis were members of the Sinatra-led ‘Rat Pack’, all appearing in Ocean’s Eleven (1960). For 12 years from 1966 Lawford was married to Patricia Kennedy, sister of John. F. Kennedy. Among Lawford’s 60s films were Sylvia (1965), Harlow (1965, playing Paul Bern to Carroll Baker’s Jean Harlow), The Oscar and A Man Called Adam (both 1966), Salt And Pepper (1968), which was followed in 1970 by a sequel, One More Time. The last three co-starred Davis. He made a few more film appearances through the 70s and into the early 80s, including co-hosting That’s Entertainment (1974). Lawford’s death in 1984 was hastened through alcoholism and substance abuse.