Peter Gallagher


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In Style, December, 1997 v4 p107(1)


By: Mark Morrison

COPYRIGHT 1997 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

"God is in the details," says Peter Gallagher, quoting Ludwig Mies van derRohe. So what do a world-famous German modernist architect and a 42-year-old American actor have in common? To start with, a respect for clean lines and lasting quality -- and a passion for style and substance that's reflected in Gallagher's work. After a flashy start in The Idolmaker in 1980, he's shown his mettle in films such as Sex, Lies and Videotape, The Player, While You Were Sleeping and To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. Not to mention a Tony-nominated turn in the 1992 Broadway revival of Guys & Dolls. Now he's playing Bill Murray's brother in the comedy The Man Who Knew Too Little. Married since 1983 to producer Paula Harwood, Gallagher shuttles his family (7-year-old son Jamey and 4-year-old daughter Kathryn) between homes in Connecticut and New York. It's a busy life that has taught him to shop simple and travel light.

What's the appeal of simplicity?

I like things you still like a year later. My '71 Mercedes 280se--every time I look at that car I'm impressed. The design endures. I like Donna Karan clothes because they don't have too many bells and whistles. Armani too.

Has any star influenced your taste?

When I was a kid, I loved The Dean Martin Show; I'd copy him singing "Everybody Loves Somebody." I thought he was elegant and carefree. I just loved watching him in a tuxedo doing that whole swinger thing.

Was it hard to be cool growing up in Armonk, New York?

I had fat lips, glasses and big eyebrows. If I'd had a designer bag I would've put it over my head

Has anyone ever told you to change your looks?

For my first movie, The Idolmaker, [director] Taylor Hackford wanted me to wax my chest. I'd never even heard of waxing before. So I went into this place, and the woman applied a strip down my middle and said, "Now you know what women go through." And she ripped the strip off, and I almost went into cardiac arrest. Afterward, I sat in my car and wept.

A few years ago you took up Irish citizenship as well as American. What do you make of Irish style?

I love tweeds, wools--durable things that will age with you. Dublin is one of the most cosmopolitan European cities now. And there's actually a growing Irish cuisine, which was once unthinkable. There used to be a joke that a seven-course Irish meal was a six-pack and a potato.

What are your wardrobe musts?

A great navy blue suit with a polo shirt underneath. Add khakis, and you're covered.

Who makes the best khakis?

I had an amazing pair of Replays that reminded me of an army pair I found in the attic as a kid. Polos are pretty great. Banana Republic's not bad. What I like is that the more you wash khakis, the better they get. I'm kind of off jeans. Khakis are more versatile.

So how do you groom those bushy brows?

My sister was the first to pluck them. I was going to a high school prom. She said, "You can't go out like that," got me in a headlock and pulled out a tweezerful. Now the makeup artists do it. Or my wife will say, "Peter, you really should comb the eyebrows." But it's important not to look generic. You are who you are.

Last Updated Saturday, May 12, 2001

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