Planet of the Apes Wiki

Pete Burke was an astronaut major from ANSA who was cast onto the ape planet with Virdon. A third astronaut, Jones, was killed in the initial crash. Burke was more adaptable to the idea of life on this planet than Virdon, but also had the hotter temper of the two. He would sooner fight with an ape than negotiate, as he believed they could not be trusted. He was cynical of Virdon's faith that he could find a way back home but didn't disobey his commanding officer's orders.

He was born in Jersey City and had two sisters and a dog, but he preferred to have one sister and two dogs,[1] and attended P.S. 103. He later met and became friends with another trainee astronaut, Verina, dated a girl called Susan, learned the Japanese art of kendo and knife-fighting, and became proficient in just about every field of engineering, medicine and technology.[2]


  • Date approximated based upon the age of the actor at the time of filming corresponding to the Planet of the Apes timeline.
  • Burke's rank and middle initial were revealed in The Interrogation.
  • Galen later told us (in the 1981 TV movie inserts) that, with Virdon, he left the planet in a ship "just as suddenly as they'd arrived".
  • Pete, an astronaut on a date, was recalled by Landon in the 2011 novel Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes.


  • In the earliest script treatments, he was called "Stan Kovak", a doctor. He was then going to be called "Ed Rowak".


  • Fan-Produced Audio Drama
    • Values (voiced by Thomas Himinez)

The Planet of the Apes UK Stage Show, first performed in 1976, featured two astronaut characters based on Virdon and Burke. The character variously named 'Brad', 'Danny', 'Bob' or 'Brad Taylor' most closely resembled Burke, and was played by John Haden and Rory Lister in 1976 and voiced by Mathew Weller in 2013.


  1. According to the script of an unfilmed episode Hostage
  2. The astronauts demonstrated a remarkable breadth of knowlege throughout their adventures on-screen and in spin-off media, as detailed in Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Chronology by Rich Handley

Burke in Brown & Watson's 'Planet Of The Apes Annual'; illustration (probably) by John Bolton Burke in Editorial Mo.Pa.Sa's 'El Planeta De Los Simios'; illustration by Sergio Alejandro Mulko Burke in Neil Foster & Michael Whitty's 'Going Home'; illustration by Neil Foster Burke in Mike McColm's 'Return To Yesterday'; illustration by Mike McColm