San Antonio EXPRESS
October 5, 1968
Though he has
succeeded in changing his “image,” Edd Byrnes still looks – on the surface –
almost exactly like the juvenile car jockey that he played in “77 Sunset Strip”
a decade ago.
In his latest
picture, “Any Gun Can Play,” the former “Kookie” plays the part of The Brawler,
a rough tough Western type who contends with other lawless characters for a
shipment of gold.
It’s one of
those “Italian Westerns,” though Byrnes says the bodies are not piled up like
cordwood as they are in some movies of this genre. He says its full of action,
however, and he likes to appear in pictures where the action is pretty
constant, as contrasted with some pictures that have only or two short fist
fights or gunfights, “in between a lot of dialogue.”
“Any Gun Can
Play,” which opened Thursday at the Majestic, is actually an Italian – Spanish
– German co-production, made on location in Spain and Italy with studio work
done in Germany. Byrnes’ co-stars are veteran ex-Texan Gilbert Roland and two
newcomers, George Hilton and Kareen O’Hara.
briefly in San Antonio one day this week in the course of a nationwide tour to
promote the new picture.
Asked if he
enjoyed such tours, he replied, “Oh, yes, it’s a nice way to get around the
country and find out what people are thinking. It’s fun when you can talk to
one person by himself, but it’s murder when you have to talk to 10 at once.”
Edd has been
married for six years to a former TV actress Asa Maynor, and they have a
six-year-old son named Logan. The lad came by his first name in an odd way.
“I wanted a
girl, so we didn’t have any names picked out.” Byrnes “So he was in the
hospital for three days without a name. Then I saw a nurse with a name plate –
Mrs. Logan – and I thought, well, that would be a good name for a baby. It’s
distinctive, and I wouldn’t want to saddle a baby with a “Junior” so he’d
always have to be living up to his father.”
Byrnes now has
two homes in Los Angeles and in Rome. Besides his high fees for making movies,
he admits that he makes $50,000 a year in residual rights from the “77 Sunset
why he didn’t retire on this steady income, “Oh I couldn’t live on that,” he
A native of
New York City, Byrnes still speaks with a faint tinge of Manhattan accent.
Byrnes is his real name, but he was christened Edward and was known as Ed until
he added the second “d” to make the name more colorful.
After a varied
career of more or less odd jobs, Byrnes became an actor and was cast in a movie
“Girl on the Run,” in which he played a psychopathic young killer pursued by a
detective Effrem Zimbalist Jr. Jack L. Warner liked the picture and said,
“Let’s build a TV series with those two.”
The result was
“77 Sunset Strip,” but Edd was cast as the opposite extreme from a killer – the
young parking lot attendant who doubled as a volunteer assistant to the private
denied a publicity writer’s dream that he used to get 6,000 fan letters a day
in his Kookie role. “The truth is,” he said, “that I used to sit up nights
writing fan letter to myself.”
Strip series ran its course, Edd has appeared in road companies of several
stage plays, the latest being “Star Spangles Girl,” and in several movies. In
“Yellowstone Kelly” with Clint Walker, he was “killed” by an Indian arrow.
“I had a steel
plate strapped on my chest where the arrow hit,” he recalled, “but it landed so
hard I was really shook up.” Before he recovered from the shock his death
throes were made even realistic when the director, off camera, grabbed his leg
so hard that it hurt. “I asked him to do it,” said Byrnes, a devotee of realism
in action movies. – G.A.