Date of Birth
24 September 1923, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
Date of Death
3 March 2001, Port Jefferson, New York, USA (respiratory failure)
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he studied at Louisiana State University and the Carnegie Institute Of Technology. During WWII, he served in the Navy. His career was started in New York, acting in regional and Off-Broadway Theatre until his Broadway debut in the musical, "Candide" in 1956. Edmonds stage role in "The Importance of Being Earnest" and his work on the accompanying album led him to television roles. He is survived by his brother, Walter, Jr. of Baton Rouge. His only sister Alma Edmonds Fritchie passed in 2006.
His family home, a sprawling southern plantation called "Longwood", near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is located near an estate called "Oak Alley", which was featured in the Tom Cruise film Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994). Coincidentally, Cruise was one of his favorite actors. Longwood was also the guest home of Clark Gable and Yvonne DeCarlo for their stay in Louisiana while filming Band of Angels.
One of his most treasured possessions was a scratchy LP featuring several performances by legendary stage actress and writer Ruth Draper. He often quoted from her hilarious "The Italian Lesson" and dubbed his closest friends with names of characters from that one-act play.
Named his Long Island home The Rookery, which means a place where birds roost, because many wild birds made their homes in the trees there.
His life story was told in a touching biography, "Big Lou", by Craig Hamrick, created with extensive input from the actor. Though he had never hidden his sexuality, it was in this book, in his 70s, that Edmonds officially came out and candidly discussed details of his life as a gay man.
Worked on stage, TV, and screen with an amazing range of pop culture icons, including: Citizen Kane (1941)'s Ruth Warrick (she played his wife on "All My Children" (1970)); Jan Miner (best remembered by many as "Madge", the wisecracking manicurist in a series of TV commercials; he worked with her off-Broadway in the 1960s); game show icon Brett Somers (the star of "Match Game 73" (1973) was on Broadway with him in a short-lived romp that also featured Alice Ghostley); TV superstar Carol Burnett played his frumpy daughter, "Verla", on "All My Children" (1970) and Lucky Vanous (a muscled hunk best known for a classic shirtless Diet Coke commercial) played her fiancÚ; in the 1966 movie Come Spy with Me (1967), former teen heart-throb Troy Donahue drowned Louis' evil assassin character. Other popculturey costars included Charlton Heston, Susan Lucci, Zasu Pitts, Denise Nickerson and Dick Cavett.
Remembered for his tireless efforts to the AIDS cause. It became a cause close to his heart with the related death of his sister's son Michael. Alma and Louis worked for years to reduce the stigma of and bring attention to this tragic disease