Fielden Edward Faulkner II was born on Leap Year (February 29), 1932, in Lexington, Kentucky, where his father owned and operated a prominent building supply company. His mother was a retired piano and music teacher. He was the second of two children; his sister (now deceased) was nearly 19 years his senior when he was born.As a youth he was very creative with woodworking as well as mechanical drawing and other artistic skills. His affinity for performing began to appear when he became fascinated with the art of magic at the age of eleven. He enjoyed showing his skills at this new hobby to friends and family and by the time he was nearly thirteen he was performing a full-fledged magic show for children's birthday parties, service clubs and other gatherings. He eventually used the services of a small local talent agent who immediately increased the fees for his act, which he continued to do through college.He matriculated through the Lexington public school system and when he entered high school teamed up with a friend for a vaudeville-like comedy song-and-dance routine, billed as "Faulkner & Seeley -- The Sunshine Twins." They performed at numerous high school events and service organizations in Lexington for two years.During his high school junior year, he became very aware of a tall, slender, extremely pretty brunette classmate named Barbara Baldwin who had transferred from her high school in western Kentucky. Fortunately for Ed, they were cast as Emily and George, the leads in their senior class play "Our Town." Ed and Barbara were married in real life after they graduated from the University of Kentucky in June 1954.Prior to earning a B.S. degree in the Business College at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, he attended the University of Virginia for two years, majoring in Civil Engineering. While attending the University of Kentucky, his acting abilities were further stimulated by three leading roles in the University's outstanding Guignol Theater: "The Dover Road," "Born Yesterday" (as Harry Brock) and "Detective Story" (as the detective); in the latter, Barbara portrayed the detective's wife. No thoughts of becoming a professional actor occurred to him since service in the United States Air Force was required after being commissioned as a second lieutenant on completion of Reserve Officer Training Corp at U.K. and he was awarded his wings as a single engine jet fighter pilot.After two years of service in the military Ed returned to civilian life to fulfill his family obligation of managing the building supply business (because of age and serious health problems, his father could no longer actively participate in the business). After his father's 1957 death, Ed discovered that two former employees had compromised the business into a financial situation that could not be remedied, and dissolution of the company was the best option of those available. It was at this juncture that the idea of becoming a professional actor became an option. After several discussions with the professor of the Drama Department at the University of Kentucky about the feasibility of going to Hollywood, he was encouraged to "give it a go." In the spring of 1958 and with the full support of his wife, Barbara, they and their daughter moved to Beverly Hills to test the unknown waters of Hollywood.Through friends, Ed was fortunate to be introduced to Andrew V. McLaglen, son of the well-known character actor and Academy Award winner Victor McLaglen. At that time, Andrew was a CBS staff director, helming such notable western TV series such as "Have Gun - Will Travel" (1957), "Gunsmoke" (1955) and "Rawhide." McLaglen was aware of "Have Gun - Will Travel" (1957)" star Richard Boone's interest in cultivating young unknown actors, and introduced Ed to the star. Faulkner was 6'3", 185 pounds and had knowledge of horsemanship, all plusses in those days when Westerns dominated the TV landscape; Boone became a coach and mentor (along with McLaglen) and Ed
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