Eddie Hodges was the very first Winthrop Paroo
in the very first production of The Music Man,
in which he got to sing "Gary, Indiana"
(there he is above, lateral lisping with Robert Preston, on Broadway;
Ron Howard would take over for the movie version.)
Eddie was born Samuel Hodges in 1947,
in Hattiesburg, Mississippi,
but moved with his family to NYC in 1952,
where he began scooping up roles.
He made his professional debut with The Music Man in 1957.
In 1959, Eddie made his film debut with Frank Sinatra
in A Hole In The Head,
singing another great song,
he played opposite ex-boxer Archie Moore
in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,
also starring Tony Randall, Andy Devine, and Buster Keaton.
A young Eddie (in a great sweater vest!)
with astronaut John Glenn.
As a teenager,
Eddie appeared in smaller roles in the films
Advise and Consent, Summer Magic (below with Hayley Mills)
and The Happiest Millionaire,
guested on several television shows
(The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bonanza, Gunsmoke),
and he began recording!
In 1961, he had a hit with "I'm Going To Knock On Your Door".
He later wrote songs with various collaborators
and established his own music publishing company.
Flash forward to today:
Eddie now lives back in his home state of Mississippi,
having retired from his most recent career
as a mental health counselor.
He is presently 72 years old.