Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The A-Team Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

From 1983 to 1987, a crack commando unit wanted for a crime they didn't commit made a living as hired mercenaries, protecting the little guy (and occasionally the country) from mobsters, all-around bad guys, and (in the 5th season) international intrigue. Hannibal Smith (George Peppard), Templeton "The Faceman" Peck (Dirk Benedict), H.M. Murdock (Dwight Schultz), and B.A. Baracus (Mr. T) made up this motley group of soldiers-for-hire on "The A-Team," whose unconventional and humorous style somehow always allowed them to come out on top, defeating both the evildoers and the military police officers who seemed perpetually on their trail. The show featured plenty of cartoonish gun violence and fistfights, but it often had the guys creating makeshift weapons out of items they would find in their surroundings, like a cabbage cannon, or that time they turned Amy Allen's (Melinda Culea) Renault Le Car into a light armored vehicle.

The series, a mid-season replacement on NBC in January 1983, made a high-profile debut complete with action figures, a novel series, a Colorforms set, and other merchandise. Its popularity waned over the years, leading to a complete revamp during the 5th and final season that included new cast members, a change of location, black ops missions for the U.S. government, and a time slot change (to Fridays). But since the show ended 34 years ago, some of the actors who made the show must-see Tuesday night TV have died. Here are the main recurring and regular cast actors from "The A-Team" who are no longer with us.

George Peppard played A-Team leader Hannibal Smith

By the time NBC executives dreamed up the premise of "The A-team," George Peppard was a well-established Hollywood star, having first gotten noticed by the moviegoing public in 1961's "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Not only did he star in more than 25 films and in three separate NBC TV series, including "Banacek" and "Doctors' Hospital" in the mid-1970s, but he also directed and produced works like "Five Days from Home." He even starred in the pilot for "Dynasty," playing the role that eventually went to John Forsythe.

The actor was said to be notoriously difficult, the Los Angeles Times pointed out, but he loved being on "The A-Team." Its stars have called it a conservative show that Hollywood wished to fail — also perhaps the last masculine one, as Dirk Benedict said. "I realized the role would give me the chance to do the sort of thing I've never been allowed to do in movies. I mean, I get to disguise myself as a Chinese person, a Skid Row drunk, a gay hairdresser — I wanted to change from leading man to character actor for years now but have never been given the chance before," Peppard told the L.A. Times.

Peppard was a well-known drinker and smoker and underwent surgery for lung cancer in 1992. While afterward his cancer was said to be in remission, he died of pneumonia in 1994 at the age of 65. He was survived by his fifth wife, Laura Taylor, three children, and three grandchildren.

John Ashley, narrator and producer, died in 1997

If you were a fan of "The A-Team," you might be wracking your brain right now trying to figure out who John Ashley was. Well, he didn't appear in the series (except for a cameo), but you definitely remember hearing him do that iconic voiceover in the show's opening credits with the distinctive theme song. He narrated episodes from 1983-1986 — but, like Peppard, he was also a bona fide movie star (and singer) before "The A-Team" came along. In fact, the Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that, with his name listed so prominently in the credits, fans wrote creator Stephen J. Cannell to find out if it was THAT John Ashley. 

The Sun-Sentinel called Ashley "a mainstay of drive-in double features" from the 1960s since he starred in more than 35 films like "Beach Party," "Beach Blanket Bingo," "Hot Rod Gang," "How To Make a Monster," and "Young Dillinger." In his later career, he made his mark on Hollywood by producing films like "Apocalypse Now" in 1979 before he went to work for Cannell and became an indelible, if mostly invisible, part of "The A-Team." He is also responsible for producing shows like "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Something is Out There," a short-lived TV miniseries-turned-series that had a few similarities to Fox's later show, "The X-Files."

Ashley had suffered a heart attack while doing "The Quest" as his first TV project for Cannell. On October 4, 1997, he had another one at age 62. He was survived by a wife and two sons (via Variety).

Lauce LeGault played antagonist Col. Decker

Like the others in this list, Lance LeGault was an accomplished actor before he ever appeared on "The A-Team." His career is tied to Elvis Presley; LeGault made his start as Presley's stunt double, ultimately starring in a dozen movies with the King, including "Girls! Girls! Girls!," "Kissin' Cousins," and "Viva Las Vegas" (via Elvis.com). However, if you were a fan of '70s and '80s television (and who wasn't?), you saw him in guest-starring in everything from "Battlestar Galactica" and "B.J. and the Bear," to "Tales of the Gold Monkey," "Airwolf," and "Simon & Simon." He had quite the distinctive voice: "Knight Rider" creator Glen A. Larson once called his voice "four octaves lower than God's," according to his family-provided obituaryHe also starred in movies like "Stripes" and "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation."

On "The A-Team," he played Col. Roderick Decker in a recurring role; the character had a beef against Hannibal Smith (and vice versa, due to Decker's penchant for blowing up Viet Cong hospitals), but was always the victim of Hannibal's unorthodox style. His last appearance on the series was on "Trial by Fire," one of the episodes that had the A-Team caught, put on trial, and sentenced to execution in advance of the Season 5 changes that resulted in its cancellation. 

In 2012, LeGault died at the age of 75 from heart failure. He was survived by his wife Teresa and four children.

Robert Vaughn played General Hunt Stockwell in the 5th season

The 5th season of "The A-Team" switched up the formula a bit, bringing the mercenaries to Langley, Virginia, where they started doing missions for one General Hunt Stockwell, who was played by Robert Vaughn: Eddie Velez as Frankie Santana and (briefly) Judith Ledford as Stockwell's assistant Carla also joined the cast. Stockwell offered the A-Team their pardons if they would work a certain number of jobs for him. And although he was ostensibly in charge, the members of the A-Team did occasionally trick him — and even rescued him once when he was kidnapped.

Vaughn might be best known for his role as Napoleon Solo from NBC's "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," which aired from 1964 to 1968. One of his earliest roles was as an uncredited extra in the 1956 film "The Ten Commandments"; three years later, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in "The Young Philadelphians." In 1978, he won the Outstanding Supporting Actor Emmy for "Washington: Behind Closed Doors" (via TV Guide). He was also in TV series like "The Magnificent Seven," and the movies "Bullitt," "Superman 3," and "Pootie Tang." His lifetime credits list has more than 200 roles on it, from "Law & Order" to 1995's "Escape from Witch Mountain" and the classic TV series "The Love Boat." 

Vaughn acted until his death on November 11, 2016, of acute leukemia. He was 83. The actor left behind his wife Linda, son Cassidy, and daughter Caitlin (via Deadline).

William Lucking was the first military colonel to chase the A-Team around

The first military man to get bested by Hannibal Smith on "the jazz" was Colonel Francis Lynch, who was played by theater, movie, and television actor William Lucking in the first and third seasons of "The A-Team" (and was mentioned more often than he was actually seen). Lynch apparently got shuffled off A-Team duty once Decker came into the picture, but in Season 3's "Showdown!," he is given the opportunity to redeem himself.

Lucking started his acting career in the late 1960s with roles on shows like "Ironside," "Mission: Impossible," and "The Partridge Family." He's probably best known for his role in the TV series "Sons of Anarchy" (he played Piney Winston from 2008-2011, until Season 4), but he also starred in movies like 1972's "The Magnificent Seven Ride," 2000's "Erin Brockovich," 2002's "Red Dragon," and 2012's "Contraband." His television career includes everything from "Switched at Birth" to "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Days of Our Lives." 

His last TV credits are from 2014, but he died on October 18, 2021, at the age of 80. His wife, Sigrid, told TMZ that he had suffered from a lifetime of injuries incurred during his stunt-heavy career. This included an 80-foot fall off a bridge during "Harold and Maude" and many broken bones over the years as a result of falling off horses during cowboy roles. "He just gave up. He was tired and in a lot of pain," his wife said, explaining that he had been in a wheelchair for the last year of his life and suffered from breathing and heart problems. 

He is survived by his second wife, daughters Marjet and Juliana, and granddaughters Quinlan and Lilian (via the Hollywood Reporter).

Jack Ging played three different A-Team antagonists

Character actor Jack Ging took on "The A-Team" in eight episodes between Seasons 1 and 4. His first turn in the NBC series was in Season 1's "A Small and Deadly War," which cast him as a rogue SWAT captain who uses his team as professional killers; he returned the following season to play another corrupt official — this time a Border Patrol officer funneling immigrants into Stateside sweatshops in "Bad Time at the Border."

Ging's longest-running stint in "The A-Team" came in Seasons 4 and 5 as General Harlan "Bull" Fulbright, who takes over the pursuit of the team from Lance LeGault's Colonel Decker. Fulbright had a reason to chase Hannibal's crew — he wanted to use them to find his daughter, who had been left behind in Vietnam. The scheme didn't work out too well for Fulbright, who dies in his final episode, but he did admit that he thought the A-Team was innocent.

A former Marine and college football star, Ging began acting in features and on television in the late 1950s, and found steady work as a guest and recurring player in series like "Perry Mason," "The Twilight Zone," and "Little House on the Prairie." His big-screen work included three supporting roles opposite Clint Eastwood — "Hang 'Em High," "Play Misty for Me," and "High Plains Drifter" — and in the children's favorite, "Where the Red Fern Grows," in 1974. Ging was exceptionally busy in the 1980s, playing recurring characters in both "Riptide" and "The A-Team" in addition to regular guest work on other series. He died at the age of 90 at his home in La Quinta, California on September 9, 2022.

Nathan Jung fought Bruce Lee and The A-Team

Tall and imposing, Nathan Jung was ideal for thugs and hired muscle like his two "A-Team" turns. He was a renegade Chinese military officer's henchman in Season 4's "Mind Games" and a brawny bad guy interrogated by the team in Season 5's "Point of No Return." "The A-Team" turns were indicative of the limited roles offered to Jung during his long career, as well as the professionalism with which he played them.

Jung began his screen career as Genghis Khan in the "Star Trek" episode, "The Savage Curtain," and continued in that action-oriented vein throughout the 1960s and 1970s, brawling his way through episodes of "Kung Fu" and "CHiPs." One of his lesser-known appearances was also one of his most significant: he co-starred in a 1969 episode of "Here Comes the Brides" with Bruce Lee, who was, at the time, struggling to parlay his stint in "The Green Hornet" into Hollywood stardom. Jung would later turn up in "Rapid Fire," one of a handful of starring roles for Lee's son, Brandon Lee.

Jung's feature film roles included "A Fistful of Yen," the "Enter the Dragon" spoof featured in "Kentucky Fried Movie," as well as Sam Raimi's "Darkman," and John Carpenter's "Big Trouble in Little China." He remained active throughout the '80s and '90s in shows like "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" and "Martial Law." One of Jung's final projects was a very funny 2016 short, "Nathan Jung v. Bruce Lee," which recounted his experience working with the martial arts legend. Jung died at the age of 74 on April 24, 2021.

Elvis sidekick Red West was also an A-Team bad guy

When his tenure as Elvis Presley's friend, bodyguard, and occasional songwriter ended in 1976 due to a conflict with the singer's father, Red West fell back on his second career as a character actor. West played four different secondary characters in "The A-Team" between Seasons 1 and 5: he was an underling to crooked warden Clifton James in Season 1's "Pros and Cons," a lumberyard owner opposed to a society of non-violent practitioners in Season 2's "Semi-Friendly Persuasion," and a duplicitous sheriff in Season 5's "Alive at Five." West, who began his screen career as a stuntman in Presley's films and shows like "The Wild, Wild West" and his friend Nick Adams' Western drama, "The Rebel," took his lumps from the A-Team like the pro that he was.

Though West was frequently cast as ornery types, he often played good guys as well, such as Sheriff Tanner in the original "Walking Tall" and its 1975 sequel, as well as an auto parts store owner in the cult favorite, "Road House." West, who also appeared in "Natural Born Killers" and "Cookie's Fortune," capped his long acting career with a critically praised leading turn as an elderly man who befriended a Senegalese immigrant in the 2008 indie feature, "Goodbye Solo." West died after experiencing an aortic aneurysm at the age of 81 on July 18, 2017.

Danny Wells was Hannibal's exasperated director

A reedy, streetwise presence in dozens, if not hundreds of television shows in the 1970s and 1980s, Canadian actor Danny Wells turned up in four episodes of "The A-Team" in essentially the same role. He was the film director for one of the many low-budget horror movies in which Hannibal works as a costumed character in Season 1's "One More Time" and in the Season 3 two-parter, "The Bend in the River." Between these assignments, Wells also played a tax accountant in Season 2's "Curtain Call."

Born Jack Westelman, Wells got his start in comedy clubs before making his television debut in a 1972 episode of "Love, American Style." Much of his on-screen work was in the comedy field, including several live-action Disney films ("Gus") and projects for Mel Brooks ("Life Stinks") and Gene Wilder ("The Woman in Red"), and a recurring role as Charlie the bartender in "The Jeffersons." However, Wells' best-known comic role was as Luigi in the live-action "Super Mario Bros. Super Show," which teamed him with wrestling great, Captain Lou Albano, as Mario.

Wells remained busy in the 1990s with a diverse array of projects, from Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" to voice acting for animated series like "Johnny Bravo" and "Batman: The Animated Series." A composer as well as an actor and comic (he wrote the music for the 1979 TV movie "Never Say Never"), Wells died of cancer at the age of 72 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Bill Dyer played background roles in 9 episodes

A perennial bit and supporting actor from the 1940s through the late '80s, Bill Dyer appeared in no less than nine episodes of "The A-Team" between Seasons 1 and 5. As with many of Dyer's credits, his "A-Team" turns are largely identified by what they did: a minister in Season 1's "A Nice Place to Visit," an engineer in the Season 2 two-parter, "When You Comin' Back, Range Rider," and Wino #2 in Season 4's "The Road to Hope." Dyer, who was also billed as William Dyer or William S. Dyer, Jr., worked anonymously throughout his career but also worked consistently for more than four decades.

Little biographical information exists for Dyer, but he appears to have made his first screen appearance in the 1944 film, "Follow the Boys," before maintaining a busy schedule of uncredited appearances in features and on television throughout the late '50s and early '60s. The celebrity memorial site, Find a Grave, claims that Dyer was associated with Joe DeRita, the comedian who joined The Three Stooges during their comeback years in the early '60s; Dyer appears in a number of Stooges films with DeRita, including "The Three Stooges in Orbit" and "The Outlaws is Coming."

Dyer continued to act in guest roles in the 1980s, including "Lou Grant," and the 1989 TV movie, "Man Against the Mob: The Chinatown Murders," with "The A-Team" star George Peppard. He died at the age of 82 on March 31, 2006.

Football star Jim Boeke played several A-Team thugs

Former professional football player Jim Boeke turned to acting in the late 1960s. At 6'5 and 225 pounds, Boeke was custom-built for bruisers, which he played in numerous films, including "North Dallas Forty," and TV shows including four episodes of "The A-Team" between Seasons 1 and 4. Boeke naturally held down the henchman roles in episodes like Season 1's "West Coast Turnaround" and Season 4's "Cowboy George," for which he's literally billed as "Henchman" for the episode's bad guy, L.Q. Jones.

Beginning in 1960, Boeke was an offensive and defensive tackle for three seasons with the Los Angeles Rams before moving to the Dallas Cowboys from 1964 to 1966. While with the Cowboys, he competed in the 1966 NFL Championship game, but moved to New Orleans that same year and capped his career with the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins before retiring in 1969. Boeke made his screen debut performing stunt work with another L.A. Ram, Urban Henry, in a 1963 episode of "The Ozzie and Harriet Show" and later played pro footballers in films like "Heaven Can Wait."

Boeke later in series like "M*A*S*H," and "The Dukes of Hazzard." A recurring role as Dauber's dad in "Coach" and in films like "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" and "Forrest Gump" were '90s-era highlights before his retirement from acting following the 2003 actioner "A Man Apart." Boeke died of acute leukemia at the age of 76 on September 26, 2014.