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.
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)
Scavenger Hunt (1979)
Body Slam (1987)
Selected stage credits:
Butterflies Are Free (a Broadway production with Gloria Swanson)
Abelard and Heloise
Selected TV-movies/Miniseries/Miscellaneous TV:
Journey from Darkness (1975)
Cruise Into Terror (1978)
The Georgia Peaches (1980)
Trenchcoat in Paradise (1989)
Chopper One (1974)
Battlestar Galactica (1978-79)
The A-Team (1983-87)
Selected TV guest appearances:
The Love Boat
Amazing Stories a.k.a. Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories
Murder, She Wrote
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
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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