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Peter  Gallagher

Peter Gallagher

Award-Winning Actor & Alzheimer’s Advocate


Peter Gallagher is an award-winning actor at home on stage, film and TV. He has appeared in numerous Hollywood films and is best known for his television role on The O.C. and his current, recurring role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Having lost both his mother and grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease, Gallagher is passionate about the quest for a cure and serves on the National Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Association. Read More >

In film, Gallagher made his debut in Taylor Hackford’s The Idolmaker and has done over 50 films since then, including sex, lies & videotape and The Underneath for Steven Soderbergh, The Player and Short Cuts (Golden Globe Award) for Robert Altman. Gallagher received a Screen Actors Guild Award for his role as Buddy Kane in the Academy Award® winning American Beauty. Most recently, he had a supporting role in the film, Hello My Name is Doris starring Sally Field and Max Greenfield. Other films include Dreamchild, High Spirits, Watch It, The Hudsucker Proxy, While You Were Sleeping, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, The Man Who Knew Too Little, Center Stage, Mr. Deeds, Burlesque, Conviction, Adam and Step Up Revolution.

On television, currently, Gallagher recurs on both NBC’s Law and Order: SVU and Netflix’s Grace and Frankie. He wrapped five seasons as Arthur Campbell in the international spy drama Covert Affairs. He completed a recurring role in the first season of Mark and Jay Duplass’ comedy for HBO, Togetherness. Previously, Gallagher starred as Sandy Cohen on The OC, as Dean Koons opposite David Duchovny on Californication, Father Phil on Denis Leary’s Rescue Me and as Whitney’s father, Vince, on Whitney as well as roles on How I Met Your Mother and The Nick Kroll Show for Comedy Central. Gallagher’s other television work includes the Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning miniseries The Murder of Mary Phagan, Terrible Joe Moran, The Caine Mutiny Court Martial for Robert Altman, Fallen Angels for Steven Soderbergh, The Big Knife, and Path to Paradise.

He last appeared on Broadway in 2008 in Mike Nichols’ production of The Country Girl co-starring with Frances McDormand and Morgan Freeman. Previously, he has starred in The Royal National Theatre’s hit revival of Noises Off, the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls as Sky Masterson (Drama Desk Nomination), Long Day’s Journey Into Night opposite Jack Lemmon (Tony Award nomination), Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing also directed by Mike Nichols (Clarence Derwent Award), The Corn is Green starring with Cicely Tyson (Theatre World Award), and Harold Prince’s production of the Comden and Green musical, A Doll’s Life. Gallagher made his Broadway debut in the first revival of Hair and then joined the original Broadway production of Grease in the role of Danny Zuko.

As a singer, Gallagher recorded an album, 7 Days in Memphis, for Epic Records and is featured on the soundtracks for Pal Joey, Guys and Dolls, A Doll’s Life and others. He continues to perform his one-man show, How’d All You People Get in My Room? all over the country.

Gallagher was honored with a Light on the Hill Award and a Jumbo Award from Tufts University. He also received the Steve Chase Humanitarian Award from The Desert AIDS Project. He actively volunteers for Alzheimer’s-related causes and is presently co-chair of the National Board of Advisors for the Actor’s Fund. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

My Family’s Personal Legacy of Alzheimer’s

For 20 years before his mother’s death in 2004 at age 89, actor Peter Gallagher witnessed her gradual descent into the oblivion that characterizes Alzheimer’s, the disease that also took his grandmother. Slight memory lapses in the shy, fiercely intelligent Mary Ann O’Shea Gallagher gave way over time to a profound disconnection from the present, interrupted occasionally by breakthrough moments of clarity. Gallagher immersed himself in the search for a cure. He serves on the National Advisory Council of the Alzheimer’s Association, organizes Los Angeles-chapter fundraisers, and participates in fundraising Memory Walks, all with the unshakable belief that treatments for this devastating disease will be found before too long.

An Evening with Peter Gallagher