Worked With:

Blair Underwood

Gary Sinise

Meagan Good

James Wolk

Neve Campbell

Donald Sutherland

Gabriel Byrne

Dorian Missick

Ellen Pompeo

Martin Sheen

Peter Horton Biography

Home > Actors > H > Horton, Peter > Biography

Birth Name: Peter Horton
Born: 08/20/1953
Birth Place: Bellevue, Washington, USA

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.