The Big Valley: Peter Breck Dies at 82

Peter Breck  on Big Valley The actor best known for playing hot-headed Nick Barkley on The Big Valley TV series has died.

Peter Breck was 82 years old and died on Monday, February 6th. He passed away after a long illness in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he and his wife Diane were longtime residents. According to his widow, Breck had been in the hospital since January 10th.

Born in Rochester, NY, Breck served in the US Navy and studied drama at the University of Houston. He appeared in several film and stage productions during his career, but worked mostly on the small screen.

He had recurring roles on Maverick and Black Saddle and guest-starred on dozens of others, like 77 Sunset Strip, Perry Mason, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Fantasy Island.

Breck took great pride in his work on The Big Valley and was with the show for all of its four seasons, starring alongside Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Long, Lee Majors, and Linda Evans.

Of his time on the show, Breck wrote, “What a great ride that show was – wonderful people to work with, good writers & directors, exciting guest stars and scripts that were worth doing.”

What do you think? Did you enjoy Breck’s work? What are some of your favorite memories?

Canceled and renewed TV show

33 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Elisabeth Anderson says

    I was crazy about everything related to The Big Valley. The house, the sweeping staircase, the cast, the stories, and I made special efforts to watch the show. It should not have been cancelled, as history has shown it is still an immensely popular show. My favorite cast member was Peter Breck, although I really like everyone. I was so saddened to hear of Peter’s death, and I will always remember him as the fabulous Nick Barkley.

  2. Dave says

    I just finished watching the episode with Julie London. A classic “Nick Barkley” fight at the end. I always have been a fan of the Big Valley and when we played the show as kids, I was always Nick Barkley. Rest in Peace Mr. Breck. You will be missed.

  3. Adina says

    Definately!!!!! He is my favorite Barkley! So ruggedly handsome!! He was so sweet, and always protected his women and their honor. I’m sure he was really the sweet guy he portrayed :) Sorry again for your loss:(

  4. Carol says

    I loved The Big Valley as a child and still love watching it as a 47 yr old woman. They do not make actors like they did back then. No one can replace any of these great legends today on the the new movie . I wish Linda Evans and Lee Majors would come back on the new movie. They are hard to beat. God Bless you Peter (Nick)

    • Susan says

      I have always enjoyed shows such as The Big Valley. They were a staple of my childhood and a strong link that reminds me of my grandparents and great grandparents who also watched the shows with me.

      It is truly tragic what television has become. When I look at the actors today they pale in comparison to actors such as Peter Breck, Richard Long, etc. The true tragedy….these actors are now gone and the studios that squandered such talent should hang their heads in shame.

  5. Robert S. Miller Jr. says

    A very underrated actor. Played ‘Nick Barkley’ to the tee. Best episodes of the series centered around him, in my opinion. I cannot believe that Lee Majors and Linda Evans are the only two , left from the show. Nobody can stop Father time. REST IN PEACE ,PETER BRECK. Thanks for all the great moments, you gave us.

  6. JarrodsLady says

    Peter was talented and professional. I’m sure Richard, Barbara, and his son were at the Gates of Heaven to welcome him home…..We loved you and will miss you Peter.

  7. susan curran says

    I used to run home from school to watch Big Valley. Nick was my hero. I was 15 years old. I’m now 57 and I still love Nick Barkley. I have extra cable channels so that I can have the channel that has Big Valley. I just came on to see if Peter had a web page. I didn’t know he passed away. He will always live in my fantasy. God Bless.

  8. John says

    Just watched my favorite Big Balley episode. Miranda with Peter and Barbara Luna was electrifying. The Chemistry between these two was off the charts.
    My next fav episode was Peter with Lou Rawls.
    Rest in Peace Peter and don’t punch anyone out in heaven’s Big Valley.

  9. Beverly says

    Grew up watching the Big Valley, still watch the reruns, named my oldest son after Jarrod. Sad about “nick” but he is no longer sick. Prayers to his family.

  10. says

    I enjoy watching Big Valley every day and love the character of Nick Barkley. He was
    a great actor and he will be missed. I am grateful for his and Diane’s friendship and
    wish the best to her and her family. You are in my prayers. God Bless.

  11. Yani says

    I cannot believe it that he is gone… I love Nick Barkley character cause watching him is like having a big brother (which I nea brother) and love his hard headed character… God Bless Him! I still enjoy watching the Big Valley on dvd and twines on tv… Never forget you Peter Breck!

  12. Karen says

    I really enjoyed watching Peter Breck in the Big Valley. I grew up watching the Barkleys, and still watch them on DVDs. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and sisters. I am so sad that he is gone, but his memory and shows and movies will never stop making me smile. Rest in peace, Peter.

  13. Steve says

    I am so inspired by petes movies, shows, etc, wish I could have the talents and experiences he had!! You lived a good life, in the movie aspect, hope all was just as great!! watching “The Big Valley” now, good job, pete, lee, barbara, linda, may be a little younger than them, but, I’m a fan of of all them,RIP JPB!! God Bless!!

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