Edward Binns, 74; Actor Played Tough-Guy Roles

Edward Binns, a sturdy, gravel-voiced character actor who portrayed police, spies and an assortment of other tough guys in a career that ranged from classical drama to episodic television, is dead.

Binns died Tuesday of a heart attack at his home in Warren, Conn., his wife, actress Elizabeth Franz, told the Associated Press.

Binns, also known professionally as Ed Binns, was 74.

Born in Philadelphia, he graduated from Pennsylvania State University before beginning a dramatic career. In 1947, he portrayed an Army officer in “Command Decision” on Broadway


He moved to television in the early 1950s as one of the tough police officers in the early anthology “Police Story.” The series, unrelated to the series of the same name of the 1970s written by Joseph Wambaugh, was based on actual cases. Actors were chosen who physically resembled the police officers involved.

In 1959, Binns was chosen to star in “Brenner,” another police drama filmed in New York City in which two generations of police officers learned from and fought with each other. Binns as the father was the hardened career officer, and his son, played by James Broderick, was the rookie. The shows continued in syndication through 1964.

Others of Binns’ hundreds of television credits included sustaining roles in “It Takes a Thief” (as spy agent Wallie Powers) and “The Nurses” (as Dr. Anson Kiley.)

In films he normally was seen as ordinary, working-class characters, epitomized best by his work in “Twelve Angry Men,” the 1957 picture made of Reginald Rose’s drama about a lone holdout among jurors debating a murder verdict.


His other pictures included “Teresa,” “Compulsion,” “North by Northwest,” “Patton” and “The Verdict.”