Peabody, Richard Gillham, EtM1

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Last Rank
Petty Officer First Class
Last Primary NEC
ETM-0000-Electronics Technician Mates
Last Rating/NEC Group
Electronic Technician's Mate
Primary Unit
1944-1945, ETM-0000, Naval Station Norfolk
Service Years
1942 - 1945
ETM-Electronic Technician's Mate

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

2 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Peabody, Richard Gillham, PO1.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Kansas City, MO
Last Address
Camino, California

Date of Passing
Dec 27, 1999
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
WW II Memorial National Registry
  2014, WW II Memorial National Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

 Duty Stations
NOB Trinidad, BWINaval Station Norfolk
  1943-1944, RT-0000, NOB Trinidad, BWI
  1944-1945, ETM-0000, Naval Station Norfolk
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1945 World War II
 Colleges Attended 
University of Kansas
  1947-1950, University of Kansas
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Jun 25, 1942, Service Number and Entry Date
  Jan 17, 2014, General Photos9
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Dick Peabody is best remembered for his role of 'Army Private Littlejohn' in the World War II television series, "Combat!" (1962 to 1967).

Richard Peabody was born April 6, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri. His father was a writer for the motion picture trade paper "Boxoffice." Both parents were teachers.

In 1942, at age 17, he joined the Navy. Four years later, he was honorably discharged as an Electronic Technician's Mate First Class. Afterward, Peabody began studying electrical engineering at Kansas City Junior College. After a year, he switched to the University of Kansas City and a liberal arts course because "I wanted fame and I couldn’t find anyone who could name a famous electrical engineer." 

A succession of jobs producing screen advertising and TV commercials followed. A film he wrote and directed for the Greater Kansas City Ford Dealers caught the attention of director Robert Altman (M*A*S*H, Nashville, The Player) who recommended that he be hired by The Calvin Company to make educational and industrial films.

On the advice of Academy Award–winning director Nick Grinde, Peabody decided to broaden his background to include performing and went to work as a TV news anchor at the NBC affiliate in Kansas City. Later, he moved to Denver to host a radio jazz show. He augmented his income with freelance writing jobs, including writing advertising copy, documentary films, radio and TV commercials, and a weekly column for a Denver night life magazine. He also found time to produce a pilot film for television in association with orchestra leader Dick Jurgens.

Peabody formed his own radio commercial production company. In 1960, the Denver Advertising Club, awarded first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth place to radio commercials written and produced by Peabody.

Two years later, he took a self-inventory and realized that he was hungry for public recognition, bored with what he was doing, and tired of moving from place to place. He concluded that acting in Hollywood would be the answer. Because he is unusually tall and considers himself homely, Dick felt his appearance would give him an advantage over other aspiring thespians. He viewed himself as an ideal Western villain type.

On his first day in Los Angeles he got a job doing the all night show at Radio Station KMPC. The next day, Robert Altman offered him a small part in the first episode of a new TV series called Combat! Peabody was soon signed by ABC-TV to a five-year contract as a co-star playing Littlejohn.

Altogether, he has co-starred in 120 prime-time TV shows, six feature motion pictures, and has done dozens of TV voice-overs and radio spots, including an award–winning Stan Freberg TV commercial for Jeno’s Frozen Pizza.

In 1971, he joined KFI Radio (NBC) in Los Angeles as a talk show host in a program originating from Universal Studios. He conducted over 500 celebrity interviews with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.

Back surgery sidelined Peabody's acting career in 1985 and forced him to devote more time to writing — which is what he has always enjoyed most.Peabody and his wife, Tina, a former New York and Los Angeles model, live in the Sierra foothills with their dog, Adam, and their cats, Petunia and Bart, in a house overlooking an apple orchard and Christmas tree farm.

In the Mountain Democrat newspaper, Peabody reminisced about Combat!: "We were widely known in the industry as a 'happy' show. The guest stars liked to work with us because playing soldier is a lot of fun and they were under no pressure to take sides in intramural disputes. There were no disputes.

"Although none of us in the cast of Combat! were acquainted before the shooting started, we developed a genuine regard for each other in a short time." That affection has lasted more than thirty years.

Other Comments:

Using WWII US Navy Musters Reports Fom, I was able to located him being transported to what is now Trinidad and Tabgo in May of 1943. To the base that was established there. He was listed as RT2c which was a Radio Technician 2nd Class Petty officer. (Later Changed to Electronic Techinican Mate), He was then listed on a transport from there to Gutanamo Bay Cuba Naval Base as RT1c. These 2 locations make sense as he probably worked on the High Power Radio Communications Systems at both location that were critcical to the war in the Western Hemisphere. 
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