Actor Peter Hansen, known for his role as lawyer and addiction counselor Lee Baldwin on General Hospital, has died at the age of 95.
Hansen died Sunday in Santa Clarita, California, the General Hospital twitter account confirmed Tuesday.
Though he made over 100 film and television appearances, Hansen was best known for his role as the stalwart Lee Baldwin on General Hospital and its spin-off Port Charles. He appeared on the weekday soap opera from 1965 through 2004, making his last appearance at Lila’s (Anna Lee) funeral in 2004 and retiring from the screen thereafter. His character began as Port Charles’ “go-to” attorney but eventually served as Mayor of Port Charles and on the GH Board of Directors. In 1979, Hansen won the first-ever Outstanding Supporting Actor Daytime Emmy award for his depiction of Lee Baldwin’s battle with alcoholism.
Born on Dec. 5, 1921 in Oakland, California, Hansen served as a United States Marine Corps aviator in the South Pacific during World War II before pursuing an acting career. In the 1950s, he found success as a contract player at Paramount Pictures, playing a scientist opposite Barbara Rush in science-fiction B-picture When Worlds Collide (1951). He made memorable appearances in two Westerns as the kidnapped son of a rancher in Alan Ladd-starrer Branded (1950) and as a cavalry lieutenant opposite Charlton Heston in 1952’s The Savage.
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Before landing his General Hospital role, Hansen made a steady stream of appearances on television on such shows as Broken Arrow, Perry Mason, How the West Was Won, Sea Hunt, Science Fiction Theatre, The Lone Ranger, and The Loretta Young Show. He remained a familiar face in guest star roles throughout his career, most memorably as Dorothy’s (Bea Arthur) doctor boyfriend who stirred up trouble by flirting with Blanche (Rue McClanahan) on a 1985 episode of The Golden Girls and as the chairman of the corporation that owns the Cheers bar on a 1988 episode.
General Hospital paid tribute to Hansen in a series of tweets, sharing photos of Hansen as Lee Baldwin and writing, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Peter Hansen’s family and friends. He will forever be a part of the #GH legacy.”
Hansen was preceded in death in 1993 by Betty, his wife of 50 years. He then shared 24 years with companion Barbara Wenzel. He is survived by son Peter, daughter Gretchen, and grandchildren Allison, Erik, and Jamal.
—With MAUREEN LEE LENKER