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Dirk Benedict

Dirk Benedict is an American actor best known for his portrayal of Starbuck on TV's original Battlestar Galactica (1978-79), and Templeton "Face" Peck on TV's The A-Team (1983-87).

In addition to his acting, Dirk has written several screen and stage plays, and the books Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy and also, And Then We Went Fishing.

Dirk Benedict
Dirk Benedict
Biographical fast facts

Full or original name at birth: Dirk Niewoehner

Date and place of birth: March 1, 1945, Helena, Montana, U.S.A.*

Date, place and cause of death: (Alive as of 2012)

Spouse: Toni Hudson (m. 1986 - 1995) (divorced)

Sons: George William Benedict Niewoehner (b. February 28, 1988, at 8:22 p.m., at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.**) and Roland (b. 1991)

Note: In the 1960s, Dirk fathered another son, but didn't learn of his existence until the late 1990s.

Siblings: Roy Niewoehner (older brother)
Ramona Niewoehner (younger sister)

Father: George Edward Niewoehner (b. March 13, 1912 - d. August 4, 1963, White Sulphur Springs, Montana) (an attorney)
Mother: Priscilla Niewoehner

Error corrections or clarifications

* A few sources, including older editions of the Information Please Almanac, erroneously report Dirk Benedict was born in "1944" instead of 1945. Dirk has specifically addressed his March 1st, 1945 birth on many occasions, including his autobiographical books.

** Dirk offers the precise birth data on his son George, in his book And Then We Went Fishing: "February 28, 1988, 8:22 p.m. George William Benedict Niewoehner's numerological, astrological charts are loaded. As it is a leap year, he has missed February 29 by three and one-half hours. Missed my own birth date of March 1 by just over a day." Elsewhere in the book he states, "George William Benedict Niewoehner slides effortlessly into the world at 8:22 p.m., February 28, 1988."

Note: A couple of sources erroneously refer to his non-fiction book, And Then We Went Fishing, as a "novel."

One final correction: His home is located near Bigfork, Montana, not "Big Fork" as many sources erroneously report.

Biography - Trivia - Credits - Hobbies

Dirk Benedict was raised in the small Montana town of White Sulphur Springs. His father was a respected attorney, and Dirk had a fairly typical rural upbringing, with plenty of hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities. Life at home was less idyllic, with Dirk once referring to it as, "day-to-day warfare." The physical abuse led Dirk's older brother to shoot their father to death in 1963. Dirk reports in his autobiographical book, And Then We Went Fishing, that the shooting was determined to be self-defense.

Dirk later graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, with a fine arts degree in music. It was during his college days that he discovered acting. The actor once recalled, "On a dare and while inebriated, I tried out for the spring musical, and the rest is history." Stage roles followed, along with television parts and films.

In his book Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy, he details how he overcame prostate cancer without surgery. With the help of a macrobiotic diet recommended by Gloria Swanson and her husband, his symptoms disappeared several months later, and he reports that he's been cancer-free ever since.

Following the aforementioned health scare, he went on to find fame and fortune in Hollywood. His portrayal of Starbuck, the cigar-smoking, skirt-chasing, fun-loving pilot on TV's original Battlestar Galactica (1978-79), catapulted him to fame. It was during the run of his hit series The A-Team, that he met his future wife Toni Hudson. They had two sons together, and initially divided their time between California and a cabin near Bigfork, Montana.

Admirably, the birth of his sons shifted Dirk's priorities, and his boys became the focus of his life. He put his career on the backburner and permanently moved his young family to their former vacation home above Flathead Lake, near Bigfork, Montana. "I knew one day I'd make this my permanent home, a place to raise my children. I feel blessed, I've managed to make my dream come true," said the actor. "It's the perfect place to raise children away from big-city violence and drugs." Regarding the career he left behind, Dirk explained, "Some Hollywood friends have said to me that I'm sacrificing my life for my sons, as if that were a bad thing."

In the 1990s, his second book, And Then We Went Fishing, told the story of his father's death, juxtaposed against the birth of his first son.

After their move to Big Sky country, Dirk was in his element, but his wife Toni was not. She eventually left him, and returned to California. He got custody of their boys, and found new fulfillment as "Mr. Mom" to George and Roland. While raising his sons, he continued writing, and his extended hiatus from acting was broken by only a few rare parts. Only after his kids reached their teens did Benedict really begin to resurrect his acting career.

Dirk suffers from 50 percent hearing loss in his left ear due to a firearm mishap while hunting back when he was 12.

Cynthia Louise Sanders was his first "real" girlfriend. They started going steady in their sophomore year of high school. (His high school years stretched from 1959-63)

His most serious college love affair was with Bambi Lynn Joy.

He was both writer and director of the 2001 motion picture Cahoots. In addition to his acting, writing, and directing, he once worked as an assistant caretaker at a cemetery, and later worked for the U.S. Forest Service to help pay for his college education.

Quotes - In his own words:
"People always assume I've had it easy, but I've had some tough times. I've gone bankrupt, and my wife left me. Every life has its measure of sorrow. We have to learn to be joyous in spite of it." At another point in his life he echoed that sentiment, saying, ". . . I'm sure I will see sad times as we all do, but the trick is to realize that without those sad times, we wouldn't enjoy the sweet ones as much when they come along as they inevitably do and will as long as you believe."

Selected film credits:
Georgia, Georgia (1972) (his film debut)
Sssssss (1973)
W (1974)
Scavenger Hunt (1979)
Ruckus (1981)
Body Slam (1987)
Alaska (1996)

Selected stage credits:
Butterflies Are Free (a Broadway production with Gloria Swanson)
Abelard and Heloise
King Lear
Mister Roberts

Selected TV-movies/Miniseries/Miscellaneous TV:
Journey from Darkness (1975)
Cruise Into Terror (1978)
The Georgia Peaches (1980)
Scruples (1981)
Trenchcoat in Paradise (1989)

Television series:
Chopper One (1974)
Battlestar Galactica (1978-79)
The A-Team (1983-87)

Selected TV guest appearances:
Hawaii Five-O
Charlie's Angels
Galactica 1980
The Love Boat
Amazing Stories a.k.a. Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories
Murder, She Wrote
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
The Commish
Walker, Texas Ranger
Celebrity Big Brother (UK)

Flying, fishing, hunting, hiking, playing the piano, trombone, and he even sings.

Addressing his flying, the actor once commented, "It's a hobby, an addiction. Having your life in your own hands has always appealed to me. I began flying in 1980 and will continue until they ground me."


The most in-depth of more than three dozen sources consulted in preparing this profile, was Dirk Benedict's autobiographical 1993 book, And Then We Went Fishing.

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