Vince Edwards

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For Vincent Edwards the 1970s English singer, see J. Vincent Edwards.
Vince Edwards
Vincent Edwards Ben Casey 1963.JPG
Edwards as Ben Casey, 1963
Born Vincent Edward Zoine
(1928-07-09)July 9, 1928
Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died March 11, 1996(1996-03-11) (aged 67)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Education Ohio State University
University of Hawaii
American Academy of Dramatic Arts [1]
Occupation Actor, director, singer
Years active 1947-1995
Spouse(s) Kathy Kersh (1965-1965) (divorced) 1 child
Linda Foster (1967-1972) (divorced) 2 children
Cassandra Edwards (1980 -?) (divorced)
Janet Friedman (1994-1996) (his death)

Vince Edwards (born Vincent Edward Zoine; July 9, 1928[2] – March 11, 1996) was an American actor, director, and singer. He was best known for his TV role as doctor Ben Casey and as Major Cliff Bricker in the 1968 war film The Devil's Brigade.

Early life[edit]

Edwards was born in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York City, New York, to Julia and Vincento Zoine, an Italian-American bricklayer.[1] He and his twin brother, Anthony, were the youngest of seven children.[2] He also studied aviation mechanics at East New York Vocational High School, graduating in June, 1945. He worked as a lifeguard at Coney Island and swam for the Flatbush Boys Club. He was a standout on his high school swim team, also playing on the school's baseball and track teams. He went on to study at Ohio State University on an athletic scholarship. He was part of the university's swim team that won the United States National Championships. After two years at Ohio State, he transferred to the University of Hawaii where he spent much time training as a swimmer for the Olympics. He was also involved in theater productions.[1]


Edwards studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts; his classmates included Anne Bancroft, John Cassavetes, and Grace Kelly.[3] In 1950, he was signed to a contract by Paramount Pictures, making his film debut as "Vincent Edwards" in 1951's Mister Universe and then played the lead actor the following year in Hiawatha. Although he had major or lead roles in several films, including the film noirs The Killing (1956) and Murder by Contract (1958), it was not until he was featured in the title character on the highly successful Ben Casey television series that he achieved a level of stardom. The medical drama show, which he occasionally directed, ran from 1961 to 1966. As a result of the show's and his own popularity, Edwards also released several music albums and appeared in the all-star war film The Victors in 1963. He was represented by one of Hollywood's first "super agents", Abby Greshler of Diamond Artists in Hollywood.

Vince Edwards as Ben Casey with guest star Sammy Davis, Jr. from the television program Ben Casey. (1963)

Edwards referred to rival actor Richard Chamberlain, who also played a television role as a medical doctor, as "a hack" and said that he "couldn't act his way out of a paper bag".[citation needed] During a heated confrontation between the two actors in Central Park in New York City in 1964, Edwards threw his ice cream cone onto Chamberlain's suit. The two never spoke again.

When the Ben Casey television series ended, Edwards returned to acting in motion pictures with a major role in the 1968 war drama The Devil's Brigade, together with films such as Hammerhead (1968), The Desperados (1969), and The Mad Bomber (1973). In 1983, he played the main protagonist, Hawk, in the sci-fi film Space Raiders. He continued to act in film as well as in guest spots on television, including roles in The Rhinemann Exchange (1977), Evening in Byzantium (1978), and the pilot episode of Knight Rider, Knight Of The Phoenix in 1982. He directed a number of episodes in a variety of television series including the original Battlestar Galactica. Some twenty-two years after the series ended, Edwards returned to television as Dr. Ben Casey in 1988. He made his last film, The Fear, in 1995. After the filming he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.


Edwards died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, California, on March 11, 1996; he was buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.[4]

Selected Filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c William Grimes (1996-03-13). "Vince Edwards, 67, the Doctor In the Hit TV Series 'Ben Casey'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  2. ^ a b Vince Edwards profile at
  3. ^ Davidson, Bill (May 12, 1962). "TV's Surly Medico" (Saturday Evening Post). 
  4. ^ Edwards' gravesite at FindAGrave.

External links[edit]