Edwards as Ben Casey, 1963.
|Born||Vincent Edward Zoino
July 9, 1928
Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||March 11, 1996
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, director, singer|
|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 (July 9, 1928 – 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.
Edwards was born Vincent Edward Zoino in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York City, New York, to Julia and Vincento Zoino, a bricklayer, immigrants from Italy. He and his twin brother, Anthony, were the youngest of seven children. He was a standout on his high school swim team and 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. He also studied aviation mechanics at East New York High School, worked as a lifeguard at Coney Island and swam for the Flatbush Boys Club.
Edwards studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and in 1950, he was signed to a contract by Paramount Pictures, making his film debut as "Vince 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", Abbey Greshler of Diamond Artists in Hollywood.
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". 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 villainous roles in 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.
- Hiawatha (1952)
- Rogue Cop (1954)
- The Night Holds Terror (1955)
- The Killing (1956)
- Hit and Run (1957)
- The Hired Gun (1957)
- Island Women (1958)
- Murder by Contract (1958)
- City of Fear (1959)
- The Scavengers (1959)
- Too Late Blues (1961)
- The Victors (1963)
- The Devil's Brigade (1968)
- Hammerhead (1968)
- The Desperados (1969)
- Sole Survivor (1970)
- The Mad Bomber (1973)
- Evening in Byzantium (1978)
- The Seduction (1982)
- Space Raiders (1983)
- Deal of the Century (1983)
- Return to Horror High (1987)
- The Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission (1987)
- Cellar Dweller (1988)
- The Fear (1995)
- Vince Edwards profile at FilmReference.com
- 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.
- Edwards' gravesite at FindAGrave.
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