Peter Palmer, Li'l Abner Star, Dies At 90

Peter Palmer has passed away at age 90. The actor was best known for originating the titular role in the 1956 Broadway musical Li'l Abner, a role he would later play on film in 1959. According to Deadline, Palmer's death was announced on Facebook by his son, Peter Palmer, who revealed he died one day after his 90th birthday. 

"It's with a sad heart that I announce the passing of my father, Peter Palmer, The day after his 90th birthday. As a family we knew this was coming and that's why we had such a wonderful celebration of his Birthday this weekend. He enjoyed being celebrated by his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and friends and extended family. Gonna miss you, Pops," Palmer wrote. You can view the post below:

It’s with a sad heart that I announce the passing of my father, Peter Palmer, The day after his 90th birthday. As a...

Posted by Steven Palmer on Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Palmer got his start at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he played football and majored in music, often singing the National Anthem at games. The Li'l Abner musical was based on Al Capp's satirical comic strip about a village of country bumpkins, and the show featured music and lyrics by Gene de Paul and Johnny Mercer. Palmer was cast in the role after producers saw him perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. He went on to star in the film with actors such as Stubby Kaye, Joe E. Marks, and Jerry Lewis. Other soon-to-be big names also appeared in the movie, including Julie Newmar, Billie Hayes, and Valerie Harper.

In addition to the Lil' Abner stage show and film, Peter Palmer also appeared in episodes of The Jackie Gleason Show, Custer, Lancer, Emergency!, The Rockford Files, Three's Company, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, M*A*S*H, Dallas, Suberboy, Swamp Thing, and more. He also had a small role in the Tim Burton classic, Edward Scissorhands. Palmer's last onscreen appearance was in an episode of the short-lived Hulk Holgan series, Thunder in Paradise, back in 1994. 

Some people have taken to social media today to honor Palmer. You can view some of the posts below:


Our thoughts are with Palmer's family at this time.