Vince Edwards, 67, who starred as a brooding, brilliant young doctor in the "Ben Casey" television series that appeared on ABC from 1961 to 1966, died of pancreatic cancer March 11 at a hospital here. He lived in the coastal suburb of Marina Del Rey.
As the darkly handsome Dr. Casey, Mr. Edwards created a rare TV antihero: a dedicated but difficult physician who battled disease and the medical establishment.
Young Casey's mentor at County General Hospital was the wise neurosurgeon, Dr. David Zorba, played by Sam Jaffe.
The series, one of ABC's most popular, evoked the kind of realism and tension that decades later made NBC's "ER" a major hit. A Time magazine review of "Ben Casey" said it "accurately captures the feeling of sleepless intensity in a metropolitan hospital."
In a 1988 Associated Press interview, Mr. Edwards recalled how success came to the series -- and to him -- in a matter of weeks.
"My picture was on the cover of Look and Life magazines," he said. "I went from obscurity to fame. What a cultural shock that was. It just exploded. I was living in a room at a friend's house."
Fans could buy Ben Casey shirts, with their off-center row of buttons like on a physician's uniform. Mr. Edwards even had a best-selling album, "Vince Edwards Sings."
NBC had its own medical hit the same season with "Dr. Kildare," starring Richard Chamberlain. The shows and their heartthrob stars inspired a pop song: "Dr. Kildare! Dr. Casey! You Are Wanted for Consultation."
"Kildare" actually led "Casey" in the ratings the first year, but "Casey" overtook it in the second season and was ranked in the top 10 shows for the year.
Mr. Edwards was born Vincent Edward Zoino to Italian immigrant parents in Brooklyn, N.Y. At an early age, he aspired to the arts and theater but also found time to become a state swimming champion. He won a scholarship to Ohio State University and was on the National Championship team, but a budding Olympic career was cut short by an appendicitis operation.
After studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he became a contract player at Paramount Pictures. His credits included "Sailor Beware," "Hiawatha" and "Mr. Universe."
He appeared on the New York stage in the 1940s and on television during the 1950s. Among the TV productions in which he appeared were "Fireside Theatre," "The Untouchables" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." He was discovered by entertainer Bing Crosby, whose production company made "Ben Casey."
In addition to playing the title character in "Ben Casey," he directed a dozen episodes. He later directed episodes of TV shows such as "In the Heat of the Night," "Fantasy Island" and "Police Story."
He later launched a second career as a singer. During the 1960s, he recorded six albums and played sell-out shows in Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles.
His post-Casey acting work included another medical series, "Matt Lincoln," in which he played a hip psychiatrist running an inner-city telephone hot line for troubled teenagers. It lasted a single season, 1970-71. He also appeared in TV movies, including "Cover Girls," "The Courage and the Passion" and "Firehouse."
A syndicated TV movie, "The Return of Ben Casey," aired in 1988. The mature Casey, according to the story line, had gone to Vietnam as a surgeon, married and divorced.
Survivors include his wife, Janet, and three daughters from earlier marriages. BARBARA ANN HAWTHORNE Springfield Resident
Barbara Ann Hawthorne, 59, a resident of Springfield who had lived in the Washington area all her life, died of breast cancer March 5 at Alexandria Hospital.
Mrs. Hawthorne was born in Alexandria and graduated from Fairfax High School.
She was a 30-year member of Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield.
Survivors include her husband, John L. Hawthorne of Springfield; three children, Glenn S. Hawthorne of Chesapeake, Va., Tammy S. Hawthorne of Fairfax and J. Kevin Hawthorne of Baltimore; her mother, Eva M. Edwards of Alexandria; and two grandchildren.