Attended UCLA film school after achieving fame as an actor, with the intention of learning filmmaking techniques so as to improve his work as an actor. He wrote about the experience in the October, 1950, issue of "Theatre Arts" magazine.
Brother-in-law of Sol Kaplan.
Daughters: actresses Vana O'Brien and Cathleen (Kate Heflin). Son: Tracy Heflin. Grandfather of actor Ben O'Brien and actress Eleanor O'Brien. Brother of actress Frances Heflin. Uncle of actresses Marta Heflin and Mady Kaplan.
During WWII, he served as a combat cameraman in the Ninth Air Force in Europe.
His father was a dentist.
His favorite pastime was sailing.
His first marriage lasted six months. His wife's identity is unknown, as it happened before he became famous.
Of French-Irish descent.
Starred as the title character in NBC Radio's "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe" (1947).
The heart attack that killed him happened while he was swimming. He managed to get to the pool's ladder, where he held on until found hours later, unconscious but still alive. He died 17 days later, never having regained consciousness.
Turned down the role of Elliot Ness on "The Untouchables" (1959) TV series.