Peter Horton

Peter Horton Headshot

Actor • Director

Birth Date: August 20, 1953

Age: 70 years old

Birth Place: Bellevue, Washington

Spouses: Michelle Pfeiffer

Partners: Valerie Harper

Actor, director and producer Peter Horton is probably best known by viewing audiences for his portrayal of single, carefree Gary on the iconic eighties yuppie drama, "thirtysomething" (ABC, 1987-1991). The lanky, bearded blonde with the charming smile had a sizeable list of TV and film acting credits - however industry followers and credit-readers knew that the bulk of his work was actually behind the camera.

As director, producer, and creative consultant for award-winning dramas like "The Shield" (FX, 2002-08) and "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 2005- ), Horton proved he was more than just a camera-ready pretty boy. Horton was also an outspoken environmentalist, serving on the board of the Environmental Media Association and appearing in Chris Paine's documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car" (2006).

Peter Horton was born on Aug. 20, 1953, in Bellevue, WA. His father's shipping career took the family around the world, so Horton ended up being raised in such exotic locales as Hong Kong, before the family settled in Northern California - where Horton's buddies at Redwood High School in Larkspur included Robin Williams. He spent his early years focused on classical music, studying piano and working towards a career as a conductor. After graduating high school in 1971, he attended Principia College, a Christian Science college in Illinois, before eventually receiving a degree in Music Composition from the University of California.

Towards the end of his college days and after appearing in several plays, Horton began to consider acting as a legitimate career. He moved to Los Angeles and studied, among other places, at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, one of the city's oldest and most respected dramatic training grounds. It was there he met his first wife, a fellow struggling young talent named Michelle Pfeiffer.

In 1979 Peter got his first break when he landed on an episode of "The White Shadow" (CBS, 1978-1981). After appearing on several more TV shows like "Eight is Enough" (ABC, 1977-1981) and "Dallas" (CBS, 1978-1991) and the TV movie "She's Dressed to Kill" (NBC, 1979), Horton landed his first regular role in 1982 with the forgettable series, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (CBS, 1982-83).

The show only lasted one season, but Horton was able to keep his momentum going with roles on "St. Elsewhere" (NBC, 1982-88) and several TV movies. He also began to appear on the big screen, with meaty roles in "Children of the Corn" (1984) and "Amazon Women on the Moon" (1987). With only a few years of on-set experience under his belt, the ambitious actor had become interested in directing.

He was given that rare chance to test his skills in 1985 with the ABC After School Special about drunk driving called "One Too Many" which starred his wife, soon-to-be-A lister, Pfeiffer. The couple would divorce in 1988.

In 1987, Horton hit the big time when he was cast in "thirtysomething," a groundbreaking comedy/drama hybrid that explored the lives of a group of yuppie baby boomers raising families in post-modern America. Long-haired, rumpled, unshaven Horton began the series as the token free-wheeling single, liberal college professor, but evolved into a crisis-stricken father and husband to a wife that none of his friends liked.

During his four years on the show, Horton got a chance to flex his directing muscles with half a dozen episodes of the show, as well as one episode of "The Wonder Years" (ABC, 1988-1993). When Horton decided to focus his career on directing, "thirtysomething" writers killed off Gary in a car accident early in the show's final season.

Horton continued to expand his production capacities, serving as creative consultant and director for the pilots "Class of '96" (Fox, 1993) and "Birdland" (ABC, 1994). In 1995 - 10 years after his After School Special directorial debut - Horton made his feature film directorial entree with "The Cure," a story about a summer in the life of two young best friends, one of whom has AIDs. Returning to television, he directed a segment for the pilot of Robert Altman's series, "Gun" (ABC, 1997), as well as episodes of "Once and Again" (ABC, 1999-2002) and the short-lived political drama "Line of Fire" (ABC 2003-04).

Throughout his directing and producing career, Horton continued to make regular onscreen appearances, most notably starring in the physically challenging role of ill-fated climber Scott Fischer in the TV movie, "Into Thin Air: Death on Everest" (ABC, 1997) and starring in the short-lived series "Brimstone" (Fox, 1998-99) and "The Geena Davis Show" (ABC, 2000-01).

The lifelong environmentalist and outdoorsman was also featured in the documentary "Who Killed The Electric Car," where he shared his experiences as an electric car driver who had his beloved vehicle repossessed by General Motors. Horton served on the board of the Environmental Media Association and also worked with the Earth Island Institute, an organization that promoted education and activism regarding environmental issues.

Following a successful stint helming several episodes of the acclaimed cop drama, "The Shield," Horton was brought in to launch "Grey's Anatomy," eventually becoming an executive producer of the show alongside its creator Shonda Rhimes. For his directorial work on the medical drama, Horton was nominated for a DGA award and an Emmy for Best Directing.

He and Rhimes joined forces in late 2006 to bring the short-lived drama "Six Degrees" (ABC, 2006-07) to the screen, but despite having "Grey's" as its scheduled lead-in, the show suffered from poor ratings and a big budget. It was cancelled in the spring of 2007.

Credits

Roots So Deep (You Can See the Devil Down There)

Executive Producer
Show
2024

Hospital New Amsterdam - Toda Vida Importa

Executive Producer
Movie
2019

New AmsterdamStream

Director
Series
2018

New AmsterdamStream

Executive Producer
Series
2018

A Few Activities

Actor
Saxophone Player
Movie
2018

American OdysseyStream

Executive Producer
Series
2015
54%

Deception

Executive Producer
Show
2013

Grey's Anatomy: Cast & Creators Live at the Paley Center

Guest
Show
2010

Life Unexpected

Guest Star
Show
2010

The Philanthropist

Executive Producer
Show
2009

In TreatmentStream

Guest Star
Zack
Series
2008
90%

Dirty Sexy MoneyStream

Director
Series
2007
68%

Grey's AnatomyStream

Director
Series
2005
84%

CSI: NYStream

Guest Star
Cade Conover
Series
2004

The Dust Factory

Actor
Lionel
Movie
2004

While I Was Gone

Actor
Eli Mayhew
Movie
2004

Capital City

Actor
Movie
2004

Line of Fire

Director
Show
2003

Line of Fire

Guest Star
Show
2003

Karen Sisco

Guest Star
Series
2003
95%

Thoughtcrimes

Actor
Dr. Michael Welles
Movie
2003

MDs

Director
Show
2002

The Geena Davis Show

Actor
Max Ryan
Show
2000

Once and Again

Director
Series
1999

Brimstone

Actor
Series
1998
35%

From the Earth to the MoonStream

Actor
Documnetary Director
Miniseries
1998

T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous

Actor
Dr. Donald Hayden
Movie
1998

Gun

Actor
Show
1997

Gun

Director
Show
1997

Murder Live!

Actor
Lt. Clay Maloney
Movie
1997

Murder Live!

Executive Producer
Movie
1997

The End of Violence

Actor
Brian
Movie
1997

Into Thin Air: Death on Everest

Actor
Scott Fischer
Movie
1997

Death Benefit

Actor
Steven Keeney
Movie
1996

Crazy Horse

Actor
General George Armstrong Custer
Movie
1996

2 Days in the ValleyStream

Actor
Roy Foxx
Movie
1996
62%

The Cure

Director
Movie
1995

The Baby-Sitters ClubStream

Actor
Patrick Thomas
Movie
1995
67%

Directed By

Actor
Show
1994

Children of the Dark

Actor
Jim Harrison
Movie
1994

Side Out

Actor
Zack Barnes
Movie
1990

Extreme Close-Up

Director
Movie
1990

The Wonder YearsStream

Director
Series
1988

thirtysomething

Actor
Prof. Gary Shepherd
Series
1987
83%

Amazon Women on the Moon

Actor
Harry Landers
Movie
1987

Amazon Women on the Moon

Director
Movie
1987

Where the River Runs Black

Actor
Father Mahoney
Movie
1986

Children of the CornStream

Actor
Burton Stanton
Movie
1984
39%

Choices of the Heart

Actor
Doug
Movie
1983

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Actor
Crane McFadden
Show
1982

Freedom

Actor
Bill
Movie
1981

Miracle on Ice

Actor
Jack O'Callahan
Movie
1981

Someone's Killing the World's Greatest Models

Actor
Tony Smith
Movie
1979

She's Dressed to Kill

Actor
Tony Smith
Movie
1979

The White Shadow

Guest Star
Series
1978

DallasStream

Guest Star
Soap
1978

Eight Is EnoughStream

Guest Star
Series
1977

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