[Peter Coe portrait]

1943 portrait courtesy of
Peter Coe's son, Peter Knego see his memories of his father

Peter Coe

Born Petar Knego in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia on November 11, 1918
(Armistice Day -- the day Yugoslavia was created).
Died June 9, 1993.

See Internet Movie Database Filmography

Visit the "Peter Coe as Ilzor Zandaab" page on "The Official Site of Kharis the Mummy" The Hill of the Seven Jackals!

See all Peter Coe products for sale at Amazon.com

A Few Favorite Memories of Peter Coe

Peter Knego Remembers His Father, Peter Coe

Webmonster's note: In May, 2000, I received the first of several e-mail notes from Peter Coe's son, noted ship historian and record producer Peter Knego, who has done the lion's share of the work to make this a Web tribute worthy of his father's memory. The following notes are from our correspondence. Comments in italics (like these) are mine; highlights are hyperlinks.

I just came across your site. If you need any information on Peter Coe, please let me know. He was my father and I have many stills I can scan as well as information on his DOB, films, etc.
Best regards, Peter Knego
Of course I answered YES to Peter's offer, and he subsequently provided the photo above and the career data below:
Thanks so much for the very enthusiastic message regarding my father! I know he would have appreciated it very much, although for many years he yearned to be remembered for his stage work. Later on, he became content with his Universal following, and even let me escort him to the annual reunions for the Universal contract players ("Jivin' Jacks and Jills")....

My father was born in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, on November 11, 1918 (Armistice Day). He died on June 9, 1993 following complications from kidney disease. Even in failing health, he was lucid, charming, and even a bit lascivious (with his nurses, that is)! Aside from his film and stage work, he has left quite a legacy. He was married eight times and fathered six children (that I am aware of). His close friendships ranged from Robert Mitchum, William Campbell, and Brian Keith to Ed Wood. Far from the perfect father, he was a beloved friend and an inspiration in many ways. I would be happy to do my part in furthering his memory.

When I asked Peter Knego if I could include some of his personal memories of his father on this page, along with the career data and images he was providing, he replied:

If you think any of my comments about my father are suitable, please feel free to use them on the site. If I say anything that I think might not come across well, I will make note of it at the time and ask that you please not post it.

There was a good deal of darkness and drama to my father's life and career, and while living through it at times may have been trying, it is all of the elements that made him such an interesting man. My early years with him were not filled with happy memories (although my brothers had it worse). But, by the mid-1970's, we became good friends, drawn together by my fascination with old Hollywood and a mutual love of ocean liners (I know the latter sounds strange, but we would drive to San Pedro at my request and spend wonderful afternoons visiting cruise ships. I would wander about taking photos with my instamatic camera while my father would entertain passengers and crew at the ship's bar with his amazing stories).

He certainly encouraged and embraced my artistic tendencies and challenged me to aspire. When I decided I wanted to become an actor, he coached me on my diction and posture and rehearsed Shakespearean verse with me.

He would be the first to claim that his film work was not his best he was a man of the stage, although I am afraid that doesn't account for much when the "man" or body is gone.

He and Ed Wood (and that whole group) were very close. In the early 60's, while my mother was at work (she was a well-known high fashion model [Roselle Calvert]), my father would spend many days at poolside in our San Fernando Valley home with these people. It was about this time that he began working less. I have vague memories of Ed Wood (sometimes in drag), but I do remember Paul Marco (he played the cop in "Plan 9") quite vividly. These are not the fondest memories I have of my father. When my mother divorced him in 1965, we were all elated, "freed from slavery," as it were.

More on the Ed Wood subject, which is probably one of the most interesting and sad aspects of my father's life (and likely one of great interest to your visitors). My dad was living in a rather modest apartment on Laurel Canyon in the mid to late 1970's. Our relationship was well into its renaissance, and we had become good friends, if not necessarily the exemplary father/son ideal. I had arranged to stay at his place (a rather cramped one bedroom apartment) one night. I was not particularly thrilled when I discovered Ed Wood and his wife there when I arrived. The three of them had been drinking heavily, but in his usual tradition, my dad managed to prepare us one of his legendary spaghetti dinners. I recall feeling very sorry for the brood, all of them Hollywood outcasts in some form or other. I do remember that Ed was very fond of my father's work, although I couldn't say my father was particularly keen on Ed's cinema contributions (many years later, he did argue that "Victor/Victoria" was based on "Glen or Glenda," wishing Ed were alive to reap the benefits).

There were some insinuations about Ed Wood's death in one of the books about him that I was disheartened to see. I do know that in the middle of the night, he stumbled into a glass coffee table, shattering it in a drunken stupor. At this point, I had had enough and called my mother and had her pick me up.

I believe the next day, my father called me in tears, desperately despondent about Ed's death. He begged me to accompany him to the funeral, so I did. I wrote about it in great (perhaps unkind) detail in a journal I kept at the time. I hope to find it one day, as the memories have been diluted with time.

Of course, when I learned of Ed Wood's cult status nearly 20 years later, I was quite taken aback. I do know this: my father was one of his last true friends and loved him dearly, enough to give him and his wife shelter when no one else would.

Martin Landau's portrayal of Bela Lugosi was haunting and very reminiscent of some of my father's sadder, latter day periods. Ironically, my father worked with Landau in several episodes of "Mission Impossible."

(Peter Coe is in three: "Recovery," "Operation 'Heart'," and "Nitro").

I believe at one time or another, they were relatively good friends. I know my mother knew Barbara Bain (Landau's wife and co-star of "MI").

I hope this has been of interest. It is a bit "dark," but then life has its share of darkness. There are many happy memories of my father, too. If you are interested in more, I would certainly enjoy imparting them at another time....

All good wishes,
Peter

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Last revised August 20, 2005 by George "E-gor" Chastain.

Maintained by George "E-gor" Chastain (E-mail: chastain@mail.wvnet.edu)