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Eric Fleming (July 4, 1925September 28, 1966) was an Americanmarker actor, known primarily for his role as Gil Favor in the long running CBS television series Rawhide.

Early life

Fleming was born in Santa Paulamarker, Californiamarker, as Edward Heddy, Jr. His parents divorced when he was ten years of age, and Fleming had an unhappy childhood. He dropped out of school and worked at various jobs until he joined the United States Navy during 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 Chicagomarker and in a number of successful Broadwaymarker plays. He began acting in television shows about the same time. Fleming then moved to Hollywoodmarker and starred in several low-budget films, including the cult classic Queen of Outer Space, with costar Zsa Zsa Gabor. In 1958, he landed the starring role as the trail boss in Rawhide. The top rated western, with costars Clint Eastwood, Sheb Wooley, and Paul Brinegar, ran from 1959 to 1966.

Death

When Rawhide ended, Fleming was signed to star in High Jungle, an MGM adventure film shot in Perumarker. While he was filming a particularly dangerous scene, Fleming's dugout canoe overturned in the Huallaga Rivermarker. Actor Nico Minardos managed to swim to safety, but Fleming was swept away by the current and devoured by piranhas. He was forty-one. He had planned to marry his long-time companion, Lynn Garber, when the film was completed.

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