He burst into our consciousness playing serial killer Jack Henry Abbott on stage in a performance the Washington Post called, “quite simply the most painful and moving theatrical experience you are likely to have all year.” He went on to star in the thriller, Manhunter, which introduced Dr. Hannibal Lecktor aka Lecter to movie audiences. His turn at tackling JFK came in The Rat Pack (1998), which begs the question: Who played Frank? The answer is Ray Liotta.
This HBO movie explores the lifestyle and relationships of the members of the Rat Pack and Sinatra’s courtship of John Kennedy. No stranger to the Kennedy family, he had played JFK’s father in the 1990 miniseries, The Kennedys of Massachusetts, but Petersen’s role was not central to this film. Entertainment Weekly called the movie “a re-creation of a time and spirit that our pop culture has so eagerly enshrined in instant legend, this clear-eyed, unsentimental movie is a small marvel of honesty and craft.”
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