Who Is Dirk Benedict?
Dirk Benedict is an American actor best known for his roles as Lieutenant Templeton “Faceman” Peck on the ’80s television show The A-Team and as Lieutenant Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica.
Early Life and Stage Work
Dirk Benedict was born as Dirk Niewoehner on March 1, 1945, in the small town of Sulphur Springs, Montana. He changed his German last name to the more pronounceable “Benedict,” allegedly after eating eggs benedict at a restaurant.
During his years at Whitman College in Washington state, Benedict discovered his passion for acting. On a dare, he tried out for the musical production of Showboat and nabbed the lead role. He continued performing in theater and traveled to Michigan and Seattle, working on productions of King Lear, Ensign Pulver, Misalliance and Star-Spangled Girl.
Benedict eventually found his way to New York and performed on Broadway in Abelard and Heloise, opposite Diana Rigg and Keith Michell, and in Butterflies Are Free, opposite Gloria Swanson.
Viewing himself as a theater actor first and foremost, Benedict happened to stumble into film and television. “All I ever wanted to be was a stage actor,” he said. “Someone put me on television because they saw me on stage.”
Movies and Television Shows
‘Hawaii Five-O,’ ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ ‘Georgia, Georgia’
Some of Benedict’s earlier television roles included Hawaii Five-O, Chopper One and Charlie’s Angels. He made his big screen debut in Georgia, Georgia (1972), a drama co-starring actress Diana Sands, which was shot in Sweden and written by Maya Angelou. A year later, he was cast in the horror flick Sssssss (1973), and followed it up with the thriller W (1974), in which he played a mentally deranged abusive husband to Twiggy, who co-starred as his wife.
‘Battlestar Galactica,’ ‘The A-Team’
Benedict’s career breakthrough came in 1978 when he was cast as the carefree, womanizing starfighter pilot Lieutenant Starbuck on the TV show Battlestar Galactica. He took his career even further when he was given yet another womanizing character to play — Lt. Templeton “Faceman” Peck on the 1980s hit show The A-Team — in which he gained international fame.
Criticism of Reimagined ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and Cameo in ‘The A-Team’ Movie
When the revamped version of Battlestar Galactica came out in 2004, with his role recast for a female actress, Benedict showed no qualms in expressing his disappointment. He wrote a scathing online essay, entitled “Lost in Castration”:
“There was a time — I know I was there — when men were men, women were women and sometimes a cigar was just a good smoke,” he wrote. “But 40 years of feminism have taken their toll. The war against masculinity has been won. Everything has turned into its opposite, so that what was once flirting and smoking is now sexual harassment and criminal. And everyone is more lonely and miserable as a result.”
He added: “Witness the ‘re-imagined’ Battlestar Galactica. It’s bleak, miserable, despairing, angry and confused. Which is to say, it reflects, in microcosm, the complete change in the politics and mores of today’s world as opposed to the world of yesterday.”
Despite not being enthusiastic about The A-Team getting a reboot in 2010 as well, Benedict still agreed to make a cameo appearance (post-credits) in the smash hit summer flick, which starred Bradley Cooper as the new “Faceman.”
‘Celebrity Big Brother’ and Books
Outside of his two most notable shows, Benedict steadily worked in theater, television and film, predominantly in the ’80s and ’90s. Some of his popular credits include appearances in The Love Boat, Murder She Wrote, Baywatch and Walker, Texas Ranger. In 2007 Benedict found time to dabble in reality television, appearing on the U.K.’s reality competition show Celebrity Big Brother. He has also branched out into writing and directing, as well as authoring two books: Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy and And Then We Went Fishing.
HISTORY’S Car Week Special
In 2019 Benedict is set to appear on HISTORY’s Car Week show Battle of the 80s Supercars with David Hasselhoff on July 10, 2019 at 8/7c. In the two-hour special, Hasselhoff sets out to prove how the iconic 80’s KITT car inspired and revolutionized the car industry for years to come. From one of the fastest vehicles on the planet to an amphibious sports car, Hasselhoff will pull back the curtain, meet the mavericks and get behind the wheel of some of the wildest cars out there. The special will culminate with iconic vehicles and their drivers lining up for a one-of-a-kind race with Hasselhoff in the KITT car from Knight Rider, Benedict in the A-Team Squad Van from The A-Team and Erik Estrada in the motorcycle from the police drama television series ChiPs. Watch a preview:
Wife and Sons
Benedict was married to actress Toni Hudson from 1986 to 1995. The couple had two sons, and in 1998, he discovered he had another son from an earlier relationship.
A&E Television Networks