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Eric Fleming Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (6)  | Personal Quotes (1)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Santa Paula, California, USA
Died in Tingo Maria area, Peru  (drowned)
Birth NameEdward Heddy
Height 6' 3½" (1.92 m)

Mini Bio (1)

At the age of eight, Fleming hopped on a freight train to Chicago to escape his abusive father. Following hospitalization for gang fight injuries, he returned to California where he lived with his mother and worked at Paramount as a laborer. Fleming joined the Merchant Marine, and then he served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific in WW II, where he was a Master Carpenter in the Seabees.

From 1946 to 1957, Fleming appeared on stage in Chicago and New York with featured roles in numerous plays on Broadway including "My Three Angels," "Stalag 17," and "No Time For Sergeants." Fleming's television career began in the early 1950's with live performances on "Hallmark Summer Theatre," "The Web," "Suspense," "Kraft Television Theatre," and many other dramatic series. In 1954, he starred in Paramount's film "Conquest of Space," followed by "Queen of Outer Space" for Allied Artists. In 1958, Fleming became the star of CBS-TV's long-running western "Rawhide" as the trail boss Gil Favor. He remained with the top-rated show for seven of its eight seasons, and he had planned to retire to Hawaii where he had purchased a ranch.

He acted in "The Glass Bottom Boat" in 1965, and he was hired by MGM-TV to film the two-part adventure program "High Jungle" in Peru. During the shooting of location shots on the Huallaga River on September 28, 1966, Fleming dove (intentionally?) from a dug-out canoe after paddling it beyond the rapids. His body was lost in the turbulent water and was not recovered until three days later.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Sherry Hansley <johnmichael@cshore.com>

Trivia (6)

Drowned while filming a TV scene in Peru at age 41.
During Fleming's enlistment in the Seabees in 1942, his face was shattered when a 200-pound block of steel slipped from a hoist. A long convalescence and four plastic surgical procedures created the face familiar to Rawhide (1959) viewers.
Fleming was unmarried and had no children. He was to have married long-time companion Lynne Garber within two days of his death.
His mother's maiden name was Anderson.
His last completed movie role was The Glass Bottom Boat, in which he uncharacteristically engaged in pratfalls with leading lady Doris Day.
He drowned while filming a movie in Peru. In his will, he donated his body and his eyes to the medical center at the University of California at Los Angeles. But his handsome face was so mutilated by the underwater rocks that his eyes could not be used in research.

Personal Quotes (1)

[Citizen-News/Los Angeles, March 1, 1962] Most cattle today are like one large fillet. They are too pampered to appear on Rawhide (1959).

Salary (1)

Rawhide (1959) $200,000 (1st season)

See also

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