PETER J. BELLANCA
When the firm’s founder, James V. Bellanca, Sr., died, Peter was only 32 years old, five years earlier he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given six months to live.
Given his circumstances, most men would have sought a merger or an exit strategy. Peter Bellanca wasn’t most men.
Peter never stepped back from anything. He knew only one direction. Forward! James Bellanca guided the firm through its first 30 years. Peter would guide it for the next 33 years, until his death in 1998, 39 years after having been given only six months to live.
Peter carried on his father’s tradition in corporate and labor law. He presided over the growth of the firm to what it has become today. He was truly his father’s son and he became mentor to not only his two brothers but also to all who worked with him.
About 15 years before he died Peter began to explore his other passion. Acting. He studied under the great Uta Hagen in New York City. He went on to act in, produce and direct productions at Detroit’s Attic Theater, the Gem Theater, The Ann Arbor Theater and the Purple Rose in Chelsea, where he befriended Jeff Daniels.
His skill as a lawyer was that he could walk into any room, walk into any situation, listen to any problem and in very short order, cut through all of the distractions and all of the red herrings and come to the right conclusion. When one is able to do that, the next step is simply to find the right path to reach the desired result.
So it is no surprise that he took to acting and directing as well as he did because there is little difference. You study a character. You study a script. You see the conclusion and now you pave the way to that conclusion with your acting or your direction.
When he died his obituary appeared in the Detroit papers as well as Ann Arbor extoling his virtues not only as a lawyer but as an actor. Click here to view a summary of his life, prepared by his family at the time of his death.