Eric Fleming (July 4, 1925 - September 28, 1966) was an American actor, known primarily for his role as Gil Favor in the long running CBS series Rawhide.
Fleming was born in Santa Paula, California as Edward Heddy Jr. His parents divorced when he was 10, and Fleming had an unhappy childhood. He dropped out of school and worked at various jobs until he joined the U. S. Navy in World War II. He served as a SeaBee in a naval construction battalion.
Following his discharge, Fleming became interested in acting. He appeared on stage in Chicago and in a number of successful Broadway plays. He began acting in television shows about the same time. Fleming then moved to Hollywood and starred in several low budget films, including the cult classic Queen of Outer Space, co-starring Zsa Zsa Gabor.. In 1958, he landed the starring role as the trail boss in Rawhide. The top rated western ran from 1959 to 1966.
When Rawhide's run ended, Fleming was signed to star in High Jungle, an MGM adventure film shot in Peru. On September 28, 1966, while filming a dangerous scene, his dugout canoe overturned in the Huallaga River. Actor Nico Minardos managed to swim to safety, but Fleming was swept away by the current and drowned. He was 41 years old. Fleming had planned to marry his long time companion, Lynn Garber, when the film was completed.
Birth: Jul. 4, 1925
Death: Sep. 28, 1966
American motion picture and television actor of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. In 1959 Eric Fleming was cast as trail boss 'Gil Favor' on "Rawhide," one of the most popular TV Western series of the era. Fleming left Rawhide in 1966 to seek out film work. After playing in the Doris Day comedy "The Glass Bottom Boat," he headed to Peru to film the pilot episode of a TV adventure series, "High Jungle." While filming a canoeing scene in the Hullaga River, Fleming fell into the surging rapids and drowned; his mutilated body was not recovered until four days later. He died at the age of 41, just two days before he was to be married.
Cause of death: Drowned
University of Peru