Edward Binns

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Edward Binns
Binns in 1959
Born(1916-09-12)September 12, 1916
DiedDecember 4, 1990(1990-12-04) (aged 74)
Years active1948–1988
  • Marcia Legere
    (m. 1956; div. 1984)
  • (m. 1984)

Edward Binns (September 12, 1916 – December 4, 1990) was an American actor. He had a wide-spanning career in film and television, often portraying competent, hard working and purposeful characters in his various roles. He is best known for his work in such acclaimed films as 12 Angry Men (1957), North by Northwest (1959), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Fail Safe (1964), The Americanization of Emily (1964), Patton (1970) and The Verdict (1982).

Early life[edit]

Binns was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Esther (née Bracken) and Edward Thomas Binns.[1] His family were Quakers.[2] He graduated from the Pennsylvania State University[3] in 1937.[4]



Binns's theatrical career began shortly after his 1937 college graduation, when he participated in a repertory theatre in Cleveland. He followed that with a year as actor and director of the Pan-American Theatre in Mexico City. Next, he went to the University of Pennsylvania as an instructor, directing stock theater companies.[4]

One of the first members of the newly formed Actors Studio, Binns began studying with Elia Kazan in late 1947.[5] His Broadway credits include Command Decision (1947), Caligula (1959) and Ghosts (1982).[6]

Military service[edit]

Beginning in 1942, Binns served in the Army Air Forces. After graduating from Officer Candidate School, he was an armament officer in the China-Burma-India Theater.[4]


After appearing in a number of Broadway plays, Binns began appearing in films in the early 1950s. Some of his roles included playing Juror No. 6 in Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men (1957) and Lieutenant General Walter Bedell Smith in the Academy Award-winning film Patton (1970) starring George C. Scott.

Binns was featured as a police detective in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959) and played a key role as bomber pilot Colonel Grady in Fail-Safe (1964). His other films include Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), The Americanization of Emily (1964), The Plainsman (1966), Night Moves (1975) and The Verdict (1982).


Binns starred as Lieutenant Roy Brenner in Brenner, a crime drama on CBS (1959–1962).[7]

He also appeared in "more than 500 television programs, live, taped and film",[3] including NBC's legal drama Justice, Rod Cameron's syndicated State Trooper, the syndicated adventure series Whirlybirds, the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, The Dakotas, the ABC rodeo drama, Stoney Burke, Gunsmoke (in 1957 as “Bill Strapp”, a heartless killer in S3E6’s “Jesse”) and ABC's war drama 12 O'Clock High. He was cast in CBS's Richard Diamond, Private Detective (as Larrabee in the 1958 episode "Pension Plan"), The Investigators and Thriller.

Binns appeared as Colonel Robert Baldwin with June Allyson as his screen wife in the 1961 episode "Without Fear" of Allyson's CBS anthology series, The DuPont Show with June Allyson. Also that year he made two guest appearances on Perry Mason, first as Lloyd Castle in "The Case of the Angry Dead Man", then as Charles Griffin in "The Case of the Malicious Mariner", and in an episode of The Asphalt Jungle. He had a supporting rôle in The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series) as General Walters, in The Long Morrow and a leading part in the 1960 episode, I Shot an Arrow into the Air. He portrayed a marine biologist obsessed with a whale in the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea episode "The Ghost of Moby Dick".

Binns appeared in two episodes of ABC's The Untouchables as gunman Steve Ballard and in a later episode as a doctor and also in an episode of Combat!.

He was a cast member of CBS's The Nurses from 1962 through 1964. He appeared in an episode of the ABC espionage drama Blue Light early in 1966, and in ABC's It Takes a Thief (1969–1970) with Robert Wagner. Binns also appeared in one episode of the ABC series A Man Called Shenandoah, with Robert Horton, as General Korshak on CBS's M*A*S*H, in an episode of NBC's The Brian Keith Show, an episode of The Rockford Files, and in three episodes of ABC's The Fugitive. He appeared in the season 5 finale (Jury of One) of Hawaii Five-O in 1973.

Personal life[edit]

Binns married journalist Marcia Legere in December 1956. They had one daughter and divorced in 1984.[4] At the time of his death, he was married to actress Elizabeth Franz.[8]


Binns died of a heart attack at the age of 74 while traveling from New York City to his home in Connecticut. His ashes were scattered at his residence.[9]

Partial filmography[edit]

Virginia Gregg and Binns in Portland Exposé (1957)
Binns (right) in Fail-Safe (1964)


  1. ^ Aaker, Everett (2006). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. pp. 54–56. ISBN 978-0-7864-2476-4.
  2. ^ Waynesboro, Felicia. "Edward Binns". Supporting TV Cast. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Life of Free-Lance TV Actor Precarious, Almost Impossible". The Lincoln Star. Associated Press. November 24, 1963. p. 27. Retrieved September 30, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ a b c d "2 Veteran Actors Form TV Dad-Son Police Team". The Daily Reporter. Dover, Ohio. July 11, 1959. p. 16. Retrieved September 30, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Lewis, Robert (1996) [1984]. "Actors Studio, 1947". Slings and Arrows: Theater in My Life. New York: Applause Books. p. 183. ISBN 978-1-5578-3244-3. At the end of the summer, on Gadget's return from Hollywood, we settled the roster of actors for our two classes in what we called the Actors Studio – using the word 'studio' as we had when we named our workshop in the Group, the Group Theatre Studio. Kazan's people met twice a week and included, among others, Julie Harris, Jocelyn Brando, Cloris Leachman, James Whitmore, Joan Copeland, Steven Hill, Lou Gilbert, Rudy Bond, Anne Hegira, Peg Hillias, Lenka Peterson, Edward Binns, and Tom Avera.
  6. ^ "Edward Binns". Playbill Vault. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  7. ^ Terrace, Vincent (January 10, 2014) [2011]. Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). McFarland. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-7864-8641-0. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  8. ^ "Actor Edward Binns, 74". Chicago Tribune. New York Times News Service. December 7, 1990. p. C25. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  9. ^ "Deaths: Edward Binns". Daily Sitka Sentinel. Associated Press. December 6, 1990. p. 2. Retrieved September 30, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.

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