How Edward G. Robinson Jr. Died of a Heart Attack at 40

Edward G. Robinson Jr. was an American actor and the son of the legendary Hollywood star Edward G. Robinson. He appeared in several films and TV shows in the 1950s and 1960s, but his career was overshadowed by his personal troubles and his father’s fame. He died of a heart attack at the age of 40 in 1974, only a year after his father passed away.

Early Life and Career

Edward G. Robinson Jr. was born on March 19, 1933, in Los Angeles, California. He was the fifth son of Edward G. Robinson and his wife Gladys Lloyd, who were both Romanian Jewish immigrants. His father was one of the most popular and respected actors of his time, known for his roles as gangsters and tough guys in films like Little Caesar and Key Largo.

Robinson Jr. followed his father’s footsteps and pursued an acting career. He made his film debut in 1952 in Invasion U.S.A., a Cold War thriller. He also appeared in some notable films such as Some Like It Hot (1959), where he played the killer of George Raft’s character, and The Ten Commandments (1956), where he played Dathan, the adversary of Moses. He also had roles in TV shows like Wagon Train, Laramie, Gunsmoke, and Markham.

However, Robinson Jr. never achieved the same level of success or recognition as his father. He often struggled to find good roles and was typecast as a villain or a minor character. He also faced competition from other young actors who were more popular and charismatic, such as Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Paul Newman.

Personal Life and Problems

Robinson Jr. had a turbulent personal life that was marked by alcoholism, drug abuse, legal troubles, and failed marriages. He married three times and had two children, Francesca and Shawn. His first wife was Frances Chisholm, whom he married in 1952 and divorced in 1955. His second wife was Ruth Elaine Menold Conte, whom he married in 1963 and divorced in 1965. His third and last wife was Nan Elizabeth Morris, whom he married in 1970 and stayed with until his death.

Robinson Jr. was arrested several times for drunk driving, assault, and disorderly conduct. He also had a paternity suit filed against him by a secretary named Lucille Kass, who claimed that he was the father of her daughter, born in 1966. A court ruled that he was indeed the biological father and ordered him to pay child support.

Robinson Jr. also had a strained relationship with his father, who disapproved of his lifestyle and career choices. He wrote an autobiography in 1958, titled My Father, My Son, where he revealed his resentment and admiration for his father. He also accused his father of being a Communist sympathizer and a bad parent. His father denied these allegations and tried to reconcile with his son, but their bond remained fragile.

Death and Legacy

Robinson Jr.’s health deteriorated in the early 1970s due to his long battle with alcoholism. He suffered from cirrhosis of the liver and heart problems. On February 26, 1974, he was found unconscious by his wife, Nan, in their West Hollywood home. His death came only a year after his father died of cancer at age 79.

Robinson Jr. was buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, next to his father. He left behind a mixed legacy as an actor and a troubled son. He was never nominated for any major awards, but he received some praise for his performances in films like Some Like It Hot and The Ten Commandments. He was also portrayed by Evan Williams in the 2022 Netflix film Blonde, a biopic of Marilyn Monroe, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Robinson Jr.’s life and death were tragic examples of how fame and fortune can sometimes come with a heavy price. He was a talented actor who could have achieved more, but he was overshadowed by his father and his own demons. He died of a heart attack at 40, leaving behind a legacy of unfulfilled potential and wasted talent.