Edd Byrnes

This article concerns the actor. For the actor/director, see Edward Burns.

Edd Byrnes (born Edward Byrne Breitenberger on July 30, 1933) is an American actor known for his starring roles in the television series 77 Sunset Strip.

Early life

Born Edward Byrne Breitenberger in New York City on 30 July 1933, Edd shared an impoverished and unhappy childhood with brother Vincent and sister Jo-Ann. When Edd was 13, his father died. Edd then dropped his last name in favor of "Byrnes" based on the name of his maternal grandfather, a New York City fireman.

Screen career

His most famous role was as Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson, III, on the ABC television detective series 77 Sunset Strip. He played a continuously hair-combing serial killer in the pilot, Girl on the Run, but he was so popular as a result that the producers brought back the following week as a regular cast member in a different role. Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. explained the situation to the audience:

Kookie's constant tending of his ducktail haircut led to many jokes and a hit song, "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb", which he recorded with Connie Stevens, and which reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Kookie character was an example of the hipster sidekick who talks jive talk and knows what is "the word on the street".

Byrnes was later hired to host the pilot version of Wheel of Fortune. He has appeared in many television programs and movies including three Spaghetti Westerns.

Byrnes also made a cameo appearance in an episode of Married… with Children, in which he appeared with the music group Anthrax whereupon Anthrax sang "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb".

In 1962 he married long-time girlfriend, Asa Maynor. Their son, Logan, was born on September 13, 1965. Edd and Asa's marriage ended in divorce in 1971. His son Logan Byrnes is a news anchor for FOX's affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut.

He ranked #5 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols" (23 January 2005 issue).

His fan mail soon reached an astonishing 15,000 letters a week, according to Picture Magazine in 1961.

Owing to the restrictions in his Warner Brothers contract, he was forced to turn down roles in Ocean's Eleven (1960), North to Alaska (1960) and Rio Bravo (1959).

He also played the role of Vince Fontaine in the 1978 smash movie Grease.

Byrnes wrote an autobiography in 1996 entitled "Kookie No More." He presently signs copies of his book, and his next schedule public appearance for fans is the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Aberdeen, Maryland in September 2008.

Later life

In recent years, Edd Byrnes (born Edward Byrne Breitenberger) threatened to sue actor Edward Burns if he did not change his name. This is ironic because unlike Edd Byrnes, that is Edward Burns' actual birth name.

Edd Byrnes has spent his recent years travelling, selling autographed pictures at car shows at various locations. However, recent reports cite that because of his rude and unprofessional behavior toward fans, car enthusiasts, and his charging above average rates for his autographed pictures, many car shows have banned Mr. Byrnes. In fact, the president of Kustom Kemps Of America vowed never to use Edd Byrnes again at any of his car shows because of Mr. Byrnes’s unacceptable behavior and high rates. Several sources state that on October 25th 2007 at the Blast With The Past car show in Denison, Texas, that Edd Byrnes started yelling obscenities at a little girl and her father for videotaping in his direction. Mr. Byrnes claimed that he “did not want people coming around recording him and his pictures for free, (without paying him) and then making movies about him”. It was reported that Edd Byrnes made the child cry. She had recently seen the movie Grease and had only wanted to meet him. Witnesses claim that Mr. Byrnes left a very bad impression on them. This in fact, was reported on both local news (CBS and NBC affiliates) KXII and KTEN, as well as the Herald Democrat Newspaper.


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