The mysterious death of Eric Fleming Oct 16, 2005 0:04:26 GMT -5
Post by Athenais on Oct 16, 2005 0:04:26 GMT -5
Best known as the star of the television series Rawhide, Fleming was born on the Fourth of July, 1925 in Santa Paula, California. At age 8 he ran away from home to escape the brutal abuse of his father. He lived with gangs in Chicago for 3 years until being returned home to live with his mother.
During WWII Fleming served with the Navy Seabees. In 1942 an accident required him to have extensive plastic surgery to reconstruct his face. He claimed to have been an ugly child before this twist of fate changed his looks.
Fleming had a variey of occupations through his early years but on leaving the Navy he decided to become an actor. He landed many roles on stage and screen, including a lead in the play No Time For Sergeants which starred Andy Griffith and Don Knotts.
Eric was a natural in the role of Gil Favor on Rawhide, but he was constantly at odds with CBS. Rumor has it that he was fired from the show because he accepted a part in the Doris Day film, The Glass Bottom Boat.
Never comfortable with the Hollywood lifestyle, Eric was planning to retire from acting, but his final project ended not only his career, but his life.
On Sept. 28, 1966 Fleming was on location in Peru for the television movie, High Jungle. The crew was filming dangerous stunt scenes on the Huallaga River when Eric's canoe was capsized. His co-star managed to swim to shore but Eric was swept away in the raging currents.
Fleming died just two days before his wedding to girlfriend Lynne Garber. There are conflicting accounts as to whether his body was ever recovered. He was reportedly found downstream 3 days later, and his body donated for medical research in accordance with his will.
Please read a more detailed biography and account of his strange drowning on these pages: