The showbusiness world was saddened last week to learn that actor Peter White, known to many for his frequent appearances in soap opera staple All My Children, died at the age of 86, as the Daily Caller reports.
White's death – reportedly the result of melanoma – was confirmed by actress Kathleen Noone, who appeared with the late daytime television notable from 1978 to 2011.
Celebrated career remembered
A New York City native, White was born in 1937 and eventually went on to study at Northwestern University, according to Entertainment Weekly.
White's studies also took him to the renowned Yale School of Drama before his stage and screen exploits began.
Soap opera acting is the realm in which White got his start, portraying the character of Jerry Ames on The Secret Storm, which aired on CBS.
The role which brought White his initial burst of notoriety, however, was the one he landed I the groundbreaking 1968 off-Broadway production The Boys in the Band.
In addition to his well-known stint on All My Children, White's television credits were voluminous and included work on Hill Street Blues, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, The Jeffersons, NYPD Blue, Ally McBeal, and The West Wing to name a few.
White's film credits included appearances in Thirteen Days, Dave, Flubber, First Daughter, and Armageddon.
Breaking taboos on the stage
As Entertainment Weekly noted, it really was White's portrayal of Alan McCarthy in The Boys in the Band that cemented his legacy as a versatile performer willing to take risks, due to the production's treatment of then-controversial themes including homosexuality.
White later recalled, “Opening night, none of us knew what we had. We all just thought, 'It's a play, it's something new, it's different and it's good.”
“It was a 100 percent gay audience – and then the next day, it went crazy! We got a call to come to the theater early, because there was such a crowd around the theater, you couldn't get it near it,” White recounted.
He added, “Everyone at the time wanted to call it a gay play – [I always thought] it wasn't [so much] a gay play [as] it was a play with gay characters,” it is perhaps that trailblazing attitude to push the boundaries for which White will most be remembered by friends, family, and fans alike.