March 12, 2013
When discussing the memorable characters on radio’s The Great Gildersleeve, there seems to always be interest in the character “Mr. Peavey,” portrayed by character actor Richard LeGrand. Mr. Peavey was proprietor of Peavey’s Drug Store in Gildy’s hometown of Summerfield. He was quiet and had a droll sense of humor. His trademark line; “well now, I wouldn’t say that,” was a catch-phrase used for many years. Peavey, the character, was introduced as a single-appearance role in August 1942, but was so popular, he soon became a regular. Peavey was portrayed as a homebody who was married to “Mrs. Peavey.” However, the actor who played Peavey was anything but a homebody.
Richard LeGrand was born in 1882 and was described as an adventurer who, as a teenager, went to sea as a deck-hand on a cargo ship. LeGrand visited many foreign lands but eventually settled stateside as a stagehand in a theater. When an actor failed to show up for a role, LeGrand filled in. He enjoyed the experience so much, he became an actor in the early days of traveling shows. In 1928, LeGrand landed his first role on radio as a character actor. Directors found he was quite adept at dialects and LeGrand later played Ole, the Swedish janitor, on Fibber McGee and Molly. But Peavey was arguably LeGrand’s most famous role and, in addition to radio, he was asked to play the character in three of the Great Gildersleeve films, including a very large part in the 1943 “Gildersleeve on Broadway” movie. Richard LeGrand died in 1963 at the age of 80.