Handsome, strapping, wavy-haired, New Jersey-born Bill Edwards started out to be an artist but sidetracked somewhat successfully into acting during WWII. Born on September 14, 1918, he was raised in Wyoming country and rode on the rodeo circuit for a couple of years until a number of broken bones forced him to rethink his life's direction. He traveled to New York to pursue art and studied at the Art Students League. To supplement his tuition he worked as a 6'5", 215 lb. Conover model. A talent agent saw his pictures and encouraged him to try acting.
Despite his complete lack of experience, Warner Brothers saw promise in Bill's blond-haired, blue-eyed good looks and solid-oak build and placed him under contract in 1942. For the first two years he appeared in a number of unbilled parts as reporter and military types in such films as "Murder in the Big House", "Yankee Doodle Dandy", "Escape from Crime", "Air Force" and "Princess O'Rourke". Unable to rise above these small parts, he moved to Paramount where he earned his first featured part as Forrest Noble, the mayor's son who is engaged to Ella Raines in the Preston Sturges classic "Hail the Conquering Hero". He then went on play Diana Lynn's hunky love interest in "Our Hearts Were Young and Gay" and its sequel "Our Hearts Were Growing Up" but couldn't do better than being billed sixth and eighth in the films "Miss Susie Slagle's" with Veronica Lake and "The Virginian" with Joel McCrea, respectively.
Freelancing by 1947, Bill found himself cast in primarily "Poverty Row" programmers. He was billed third behind Jane Withers and Robert Lowery in the Pine Thomas production "Danger Street" and made use of his cowboy-raised upbringing with the westerns, again third billed in "Home in San Antone" starring Roy Acuff, "Panorama from a Moving Train on White Pass & Yukon Railway, Alaska" starring Kirby Grant and "Border Outlaws" starring cowboy singer Spade Cooley. He received his one and only star status in the western "The Fighting Stallion" for the Jack Schwarz Productions.
It would have seemed Bill could have continued on as a cowboy star but his acting proved wooden and following a few more years in films and TV guest spots ("Bonanza," "Dragnet," etc.), abandoned his career and returned to his first joy -- art. He later became a familiar name in California as an exhibited oil and acrylic painter of the Old West and as an illustrator. A well-known scuba diver and instructor in the Southern California area, he at one time owned a diving and scuba gear shop. Bill also returned to occasional acting in the 1970s and 1980s, notably the film "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and the TV movies "Pearl" and "Gidget's Summer Reunion".
Long married to Hazel Allen in 1946, the couple had one daughter, Linda. They divorced in the mid 1970s after nearly 30 years of marriage and Bill married Beryl Hunter in the ensuing years. Following their divorce, he remarried first wife Hazel, who survived him. Bill suffered from a disease that attacked his muscular system in his final years and he died of pneumonia in Southern California in 1999 at age 81.
Name: Bill Edwards
Known for: Hail the Conquering Hero
BirthDay: 14, Sep ,1918