Show business got into Arthur Peterson's blood when, as a six-year-old, he rode on the front seat of a covered wagon during an Indian attack by the Mandan Indians in the Morton County Fair Summer Pageant in his hometown of Mandan, North Dakota. In the half-hour comedy series, "Soap," the World War II veteran takes on the role of the Major, who has never quite recovered from his war experiences.
He continued his acting, career in school plays and church pageants. As a senior in high school, Peterson appeared in "Beau Brummel" where he aged from thirty to seventy. Says Peterson, "I was a character actor playing roles ranging from eighteen to ninety years old until I reached forty, then I finally began playing roles my own age."
Peterson studied acting at the University of Minnesota. He appeared on hundreds of early radio dramas in Chicago and created the lead character in the original "Guiding Light" in 1937. It was also in Chicago that he made his film debut in "Call Northside 777."
In 1949, Peterson and his actress wife, Norma Ransom, created and starred in "That's O'Toole," ABC Television's first network television show which originated from Chicago.
His television credits over the years included roles in almost every major television series, including numerous guest appearances on "Bonanza," "Perry Mason" and "Gunsmoke." In 1976, he appeared in a United Way film in which he played Jack Lemmon's father.
In 1971, Peterson and his wife founded "Actors Alley," a 99-seat theatre in Sherman Oaks, California, where they stage several plays a year.
The Petersons had two children, Kristin Peterson, an opera singer, and Paul Peterson, a chiropractor. They are the grandparents of three grandchildren.
Born on November 18, the blue-eyed Peterson, a traditionalist, resided in Los Angeles in an 80-year-old home that has been remodeled twice and "still has gas jets in the attic."