Eric Fleming was an American actor known primarily for his role as Gil Favor in the CBS television series Rawhide.
He was born as Edward Heddy Jr. on July 4, 1925, in Santa Paula, California, and died on September 28, 1966, at the age of 41 in Tingo María, Peru.
Fleming’s acting career began in the early 1950s with live performances on various dramatic series, and he appeared in several low-budget films before landing his role in Rawhide.
He also 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.
Eric Fleming upbringing
Fleming was the only child of Mildred and Edward Heddy.
He had a difficult childhood, with an abusive father who physically abused him due to his clubfoot.
At the age of eight, he left home after an unsuccessful attempt to murder his own father and moved to Chicago where he was involved in various odd jobs.
Fleming was sometimes involved in working for criminals in order to support himself.
Three years later, he returned to his recently divorced mother and received a little education during the Great Depression era.
During the Depression, Fleming dropped out of school and worked at various jobs until he joined the Merchant Marine.
He then served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific in WW II, where he was a Master Carpenter in the Seabees.
After the war, 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.
Eric Fleming cause of death
Fleming died on September 28, 1966, at age 41, while filming the made-for-TV movie, High Jungle, in Peru.
Fleming and his co-star Nico Minardos were in a dugout canoe that overturned in the Huallaga River.
Minardos managed to swim to safety, but Fleming was swept away by the current and drowned.
His body was found by natives in the area several days later. There are no indications that his death was caused by anything other than the accident.
Eric Fleming career
Fleming’s acting debut came in a road company production of Happy Birthday, and he appeared on stage in Chicago and in a number of successful Broadway plays, including the musical Plain and Fancy.
His television career began in the early 1950s with live performances on Hallmark Summer Theatre, The Web, Suspense, Kraft Television Theatre and many other dramatic series.
Fleming starred in Paramount’s film Conquest of Space in 1954, followed by Queen of Outer Space for Allied Artists.
In 1958, Fleming became the star of CBS-TV’s Rawhide, which ran for eight seasons.
He left the show in 1965, and there are conflicting reports about whether he was fired or left on his own accord.
Fleming 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, he dove 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.