Peter Masterson, ‘Exorcist’ Actor and ‘Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ Scribe, Dies at 84

He was the father to actress Mary Stuart Masterson

Peter Masterson The Exorcist
Warner Bros.

Peter Masterson, an actor, director, producer and writer best known for co-writing the Tony-winning play “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” has died. He was 84.

Masterson, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease for 14 years, collapsed at his home in Kinderhook, New York, on Tuesday just before 6 p.m. and could not be revived, his daughter Mary Stuart Masterson told TheWrap.

“The best of me comes from the best of him,” Stuart Masterson told TheWrap. “He was an historian, a thinker, a tough son-of-a-gun (he never complained once about his plight with Parkinson’s), and kinder and funnier with a handful of words than it seemed possible. He was a world class sailor and raced in regatta around the world into his 70s.”

Masterson acted with his daughter in “The Stepford Wives” in 1975, appearing as father and daughter on screen. He also starred in “The Exorcist” as the clinic director Dr. Barringer, examining Linda Blair’s child character early in the film.

Born Carlos Bee Masterson Jr. on June 1, 1934, he also appeared in several TV roles and in the “In the Heat of the Night” early in his career before he stopped acting in 1989. In 1985, he directed Geraldine Page in an Oscar-winning role in “The Trip to Bountiful.” Some of his other titles include “Full Moon in Blue Water,” “Night Game” and “Blood Red.”

Masterson together with the writer Larry L. King wrote the book for the Broadway musical production of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” and he would then direct the production on Broadway along with Tommy Tune. Masterson’s wife, Carlin Glynn, starred in the Broadway production and won a Tony Award for Best Actress.


“He was the best damn actor’s director there was. He was inspired by Elia Kazan and Frank Capra, but I am inspired by him,” Stuart Masterson continued. “I’m sure gonna miss him.”

Masterson is survived by his wife, his children, Alexandra, Mary Stuart and Peter Carlos Bee Masterson, and six grandchildren.