Frederick Coffin was born January 16, 1943 to actress Winnie Collins, one of five siblings. Educated at Western Reserve Academy, in Hudson, Ohio, Coffin was both an excellent athlete and student. It was at WRA that he first began theater studies; he graduated in 1961 with a BA in theater. He enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1962 intending to play football, but changed his focus to acting after deciding to perform in a musical. He graduated from the U of M with a Masters in Theater.
He died on July 31, 2003 in Los Angeles of lung cancer, survived by wife Barbara Monte-Britton, whom he married in 1977, and by his three brothers.