Veteran character actor, usually cast as Runyonesque types.
When he aged out of "juvenile delinquent" roles, he carved out a new career as a comic heavy, often in Disney films.
Got a foot in the door playing juvenile delinquents in low-budget "teenpix" in the 1950s right after the James Dean rebel phase kicked in. Was typecast as the leader of a street gang in his first film, Robert Altman's The Delinquents (1957), seeing as how he actually was somewhat of a juvenile delinquent, having done a year's probation at age 15. This role was followed with another gang member appearance in Jerry Lewis' The Delicate Delinquent (1957).
Profiled in "Names You Never Remember, With Faces You Never Forget" by Justin Humphreys (BearManor Media).
He and fellow actor Dickie Jones were arrested in Kansas City for "vagrancy" while shooting The Cool and the Crazy (1958) on location in that city. The pair were standing on the sidewalk between takes, in full "JD" getup, when they were noticed by police who thought they actually were teenage gang members and hauled them in. It took several hours for the film company to straighten things out and get the two released from jail.
Became a lifelong friend of Bobby Darin following his appearance in Darin's Pressure Point (1962) and later appeared in Darin's NBC television variety series (The Bobby Darin Show (1973)) as a regular. He was one of the last people to see Darin before his death from heart disease in 1973.