Li'l Abner Star Peter Palmer Dead at 90, One Day After His Birthday

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Li'l Abner's Peter Palmer
Li'l Abner's Peter Palmer


Peter Palmer, who starred in the 1956 Broadway musical Li'l Abner and also played the title role in the 1959 movie, died on Tuesday. He was 90.

Peter's son Steven Palmer confirmed the news of his father's death, just one day after the actor's birthday, and posted a selection of images of the stage and screen actor to his Facebook account.

"It's with a sad heart that I announce the passing of my father, Peter Palmer, The day after his 90th birthday," Steven wrote. "As a family we knew this was coming and that's why we had such a wonderful celebration of his Birthday this weekend."

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"He enjoyed being celebrated by his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and friends and extended family," the post continued. "Gonna miss you, Pops."

Before his career as an actor, Peter played football at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he sang the national anthem while in uniform at home games.

Peter's first screen credit was his starring role in the 1959 Melvin Frank musical Li'l Abner, in which he played Li'l Abner Yokum from Dogpatch, U.S.A.

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The actor originated the role three years earlier on Broadway, in a production based on the Al Capp comic strip that ran from 1934 through 1977.

Peter also appeared as a singing act several times on The Ed Sullivan Show. His other credits include television appearances on Custer, M*A*S*H, The Rockford Files and Dallas as well as the 1990 Tim Burton film Edward Scissorhands.

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He is survived by six children, including son Steven from his first wife Jackie, to whom he was married from 1954 to 1964.

Peter was also father to daughter Farrell Beth Palmer from his second marriage to Aniko Farrell, which lasted from 1966 until Farrell's death in 2011.

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