“Peter Aloysha Aarons III… was born December 12th, 1939 on his family’s estate deep in the Russian countryside. He lived there until he was five, when he and his mother were taken by the Nazis. False documents were produced, officers were bought off, and they were released and sent to Switzerland, which had recently re-opened its borders. When they were well enough to travel they were brought to America by Peter’s father and grandmother, and settled in Los Angeles.
Peter, (Aloysha to his family) showed great promise as a pianist, and even before he could speak English he was taking lessons. He was athletic as a child and became proficient in Karate, swimming, diving, tennis and distance running, as well as equestrian arts.
He finished high school in three years and went on to the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was on the swimming and diving team, and active in ROTC and orchestra. He obtained double Bachelor’s Degrees in Acting and Piano Composition in 1961, and double Master’s Degrees in Piano and Theater Arts in 1963.
He served one tour of active duty in the Army, serving as a translator and doing classified work overseas before receiving a medical discharge and being sent home.
He worked as an actor and concert pianist until 1971, when he took leave to attend Julliard School of Music. He graduated in 1973 with a Doctorate in Piano.
He has won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for his work as Nathan Strauss, an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor, for his portrayal of Sergei Rachmaninoff, An Academy Award for Best Original Song in the 1997 motion picture, All That and More, and many music and legitimate theater awards. He is ranked as one of the top five pianists of the 20th Century, and in the ten best of all time. He is also considered the world’s leading interpreter of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s work.
He married Megan Stine on May 25, 1981. They were childless and divorced in 1986. He married Philippa Kate Tyler on July 3, 1992.
Active in movies, on stage and on the concert stage, as well as teaching classes both at UCLA and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Peter Aarons lives with his wife and family on the estate he inherited from his grandmother in the Santa Monica Mountains above Los Angeles.”
-Excerpted from THE WORLD’S GREATS ON THE EIGHTY-EIGHTS
by JS Hanill, Shorthorse Press, 1998