Born in Brooklyn, the son of Italian immigrant parents, Vince Edwards early aspired to the theater. He was a swimming champion in high school, attended Ohio State University on an athletic scholarship, and was on their National Championship swimming team. Olympics were on the horizon, but an appendicitis operation cut short his swimming career. He studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and then became a contract actor at Paramount Pictures in the early 1950s. In the 1960s he reached his popular peak as the brilliant but confrontational young Dr. Casey in the television series Ben Casey.