His father was an Irish immigrant.
Enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army on 9 May 1942 during World War II.
Toured veteran's hospitals in Europe and Africa, 1947-49, with the American Theatre Wing productions of 'The Milky Way' and 'Brigadoon'.
Acted in classical roles on and off Broadway from 1946. Most acclaimed in the role of the father in Peter Shaffer's production of 'Equus'. TV appearances from 1945, in films from 1958.
His father was an insurance salesman and a poet, who transmitted his love of Shakespeare to his son.
He made guest appearances on both of the longest running prime time dramas in US television history: Gunsmoke (1955) and Law & Order (1990).