‘The A-Team’: Why George Peppard Thought Hannibal Was the Best Role of His Career

by Megan Molseed

Fans of the A-Team remember how the players in the classic television action series are dedicated to saving those who need it most. However, who could have imagined that the series would do the same for one of the stars? According to actor George Peppard, this is exactly what happened. And, he credits his role in the hit television series as being the “best role” of his career.

George Peppard Finds A Renewed Career As He Joins The Cast Of The A-Team

When longtime actor George Peppard was cast as John “Hannibal” Smith, the leader of the iconic A-Team, he was facing a tough time in his career. Just prior to landing this role, Peppard was going through a difficult divorce and got kicked off the popular nighttime soap opera Dynasty. His exit from the iconic nighttime drama had by that time earned a reputation in the business as being a difficult actor to work with.

“I was really at the bottom,” Peppard has said about this time in his life.

“My career seemed to be going nowhere,” the longtime actor recalls. Peppard also notes that his three adult children played a major role in him turning things around as he joined the A-Team.

“They were tremendously supportive when they could so easily have abandoned me,” the actor remembers of his grown children. Peppard adds that the support of his kids eventually “made me respect myself again.”

It Wasn’t An Easy Task, Landing The Role In the Hit Series

As Peppard was working to put the past behind him, The A-Team co-creator, Stephen J. Cannell contacted Peppard wondering if he’d be interested in the role of Hannibal. However, despite his efforts to heal, Peppard’s reputation was still following the actor.

And, The A-Team showrunners had to battle for Peppard to be offered this opportunity. Eventually, they won this battle and Peppard stepped right into the classic role. However, this did not come without preparation.

“I’ve had to get pretty fit for the series,” Peppard says of his preparation for the classic television role.

“We do most of our own fights and stunts,” the actor adds. “It’s just as well that the series has come now. A few years ago, I couldn’t have handled all this physical stuff.”

This role also brought some valuable bonds between Peppard and his fellow A-Team costars. Something the actor had been missing in recent years.

“There is a good relationship among the men,” Peppard has said of the A-Team players.

“They are all good hearted, and Mr. T is a thoroughly professional actor,” he adds. “We put in some long days – up to 14 hours – but it is well worth it.”

George Peppard continued his acting career after A-Team signed off the air in 1987. He passed away from lung cancer in 1994 after his final role in the Andy Griffith-led series Matlock.