Actor John O’Hurley has entertained and inspired thousands, blazing his way into American pop culture on both television and film, most notably portraying the wildly eccentric character, “J. Peterman,” on the popular television comedy, seinfeld, for which he won a Screen Actor’s Guild Award. He has starred in more than 50 television shows and two dozen films. He became one of America’s most popular game show hosts with classics such as To tell you the truth AND Family feud. He has starred on Broadway and around the country in such hits as Chicago AND Spamming. Mr. O’Hurley is also the host of the NBC Thanksgiving television tradition, National Dog Showenjoyed annually for thirteen years by 25 million viewers.
He extends his reach today into the business world as a private venture capitalist and is actually a part-owner of the real J. Peterman Company, his object seinfeld-a parody. Mr. O’Hurley recently teamed up with 30-year tech veteran Becky Wanta to launch his biometric authentication company. Called Q5id, it offers industry-leading, patented proof-of-identity services that allow individuals to take control and protect their identity by using multiple biometrics for secure, password-free logins that eliminate credential theft.
I checked with Mr. O’Hurley and he gave me a phone interview from his home in Los Angeles.
What is your best vacation ever?
I haven’t had it yet – my imagination is very fertile – there are things I haven’t seen yet – but I really enjoyed it – New Zealand, Australia, I had a great time. I did a film in Greece and I’m going back in October – it’s probably my favorite country. Outside of filming, I’m a big fan of going island-to-island. I played a billionaire in my last film – we used a boat and went to the island by boat, so it was my favorite thing to do in Greece. Greeks are the most welcoming people – they are proud to be Greek when they wake up at 6 am, all day long, until they go to bed at 4:30 am.
What is your favorite thing to do on vacation?
I like to golf and go private fishing. I bought a lake in Vermont – yes, you can buy a lake – I bought a lake and the property around it, and I fly fish there. It’s like In the Golden Pond. It’s pretty neat.
My fingerprints are still all over New England – I was born in Kittery, Maine and raised in West Hartford, Conn. I went to Kingswood-Oxford. Then to Providence College where I was on the Board of Trustees for nearly 10 years.
Favorite hotel and why?
Yes, we do, and it revolves around Pebble Beach – that area is the most compelling area anywhere in the country – so many avenues for incredible experiences – golfing or just sailing on the bay, or just hiking in the Big Sur desert. It is one of the seven wonders of the world. The Lodge at Pebble Beach and The Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur – it’s where God goes on vacation when no one is looking – although I’ve seen him fishing on my lake in Vermont.
Favorite hotel chain?
Four Seasons. We have enjoyed their experiences all over the country.
What is your favorite travel product from the Peterman catalog?
You know I like it? I love their 1901 men’s line – it’s an absolutely gorgeous men’s line, but I also love the black version of the long duster coat – for formal wear in New York City or riding . One of the classic niche pieces in Peterman’s collection – in canvas and also in black, which is absolutely elegant.
Where did you have your honeymoon?
We got engaged at 7th hole at Pebble Beach –– I will review the 7th soonth the hole where the ring was placed in the hole for her to discover. That’s quite a story. We played a game of leather with a hole – the ring was in the hole of a box – a 5.5 carat ring… I fell on my knees – I said, “That box was for you”, and she burst into tears. Married at Bacara in Santa Barbara. We honeymooned at Ventanas in Cabo and also at Fenway Park in Boston because I’m a die-hard Red Sox fan.
The first big brag trip you took after “making it” at your profession.
I think we took British Airways in first class and played in the Dunhill Cup – in the Pro-Am – in St. Andrews in Scotland. Stayed at a hotel The Old Course. spectacular. The oldest course in the world – where golf began.
We liked Virgin, but we are starting to enjoy these new small airlines – JetSuites (now called JSX) – a great small airline that flies from LA to Vegas, Phoenix, Denver – they have smaller planes regional – you can show up 5 minutes before the flight and leave immediately — it’s treated like a private airline. A nice bridge between the drudgery of commercial flying and private flying. It fits right in the middle. It is expanding quite rapidly.
What do you always have in your luggage?
I have a high powered massager that is portable – I give it away as a prize at my charity golf tournaments – no matter what it is, it takes the back pain away instantly.
What foods do you travel with?
No snacks, but I’m a wine whore, so I always have a glass of wine. I have a new show, Through the Grapevine – I will host – my unique tours and great international vineyards. We start filming this fall. We’ll be on PBS and download as well.
How do you stay fit on the road?
I bring my exercise bands which give me a great workout. I’ll use the hotel routine or walk for hours for cardio. I also cut calories on the road. Lots of soup.
Favorite luggage brand and why.
Yeti. It’s a handbag we love.
What kind of skin care do you use and what do you travel with?
TreCeuticals. It’s the best moisturizer I’ve ever found, especially from plane to plane when your skin is always drying out.
Can you say that for me, like Peterman: “Elaine, what we have here is a good old-fashioned fight.”
(He does this, quite hysterically). Go to Cameo.com and you’ll see tons of celebrities doing birthday calls for a fee—I’m one of the most popular people on the platform—people love J. Peterman’s monologues that are specific to people’s birthdays and anniversaries, and pep talks to people are sick in the hospital. motivating. I even had a guy call me that he had Erectile Dysfunction. Every day I get half a dozen – it’s a great side job. I took 20 a day during the pandemic. Every day I have several to do. But they are fun. Monologues are absurd.
Where is your next trip and why?
I’m going to Pebble Beach this weekend, then back and then a few more shows in San Diego for my show (“A Man With Standards”) – an autobiographical one-man show with music from The Great American Songbook. Then the filming closes, The Red Door, The Lemon Tree in Crete. A movie of getting back to your roots. Fun. Nostalgic and romantic.
Do you do sailing?
Yes – a little – usually on Regent Seven Seas Cruises. I have a standing offer from them to do my show on board. I was supposed to go to Regent this August but it didn’t work out. I love cruise lines. I like the Regent because it’s small and understated – I like the elegance – it’s the best of all the cruise lines I’ve seen. I love the suites – I spend the evenings on the balcony watching the world go by – it’s hypnotic to me. I usually get the owner’s pack if it’s available. I usually go for 10 days – that’s the length I like to make it worthwhile.
The best souvenir you ever bought.
I collect old golf clubs, antiques from the 1800’s – when people played with rudimentary clubs made by craftsmen – to fix a particular dilemma – the ranger would come in his horse drawn cart and you needed a special club to out of the “ruin”. .” Every time we go to St. Andrews I try to find a different antiquity. And I have quite a collection.
Bucket list destination?
Now it’s all about traveling with my son – I’d like to show him things and see it through his eyes again. He’s 15 – we’re traveling more in Europe now. And he’s a pilot – every weekend I drop him off at the airport for his training. He’s too young to drive a car, but he’s okay to fly a plane. This will be his life. Aviation.
For more on Debbie, follow her on Instagram at @DebbiKickham.