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Edward "Eddie" Egan (January 3, 1930 – November 4, 1995) was an American detective and film and television actor.

Eddie Egan
Mike Connors Eddie Egan Mannix 1972.JPG
Egan (right) with Mike Connors in the Mannix episode "The Open Web", 1972
Edward R. Egan

(1930-01-03)January 3, 1930
DiedNovember 4, 1995(1995-11-04) (aged 65)
OccupationPolice detective, actor


Edward R. Egan was born in Queens, New York on January 3, 1930 to Irish-American parents.[1] Raised by his grandmother after being orphaned at age 12, he joined the United States Marine Corps in 1947.[1] After his discharge, he played baseball for the New York Yankees' Triple-A club in 1950, but he was recalled to active duty for the Korean War.[1] After his second discharge, he joined the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in 1955.[1]

His career with the NYPD spanned 15 years, and he was reported to have been responsible for more than 8,000 arrests.[1] Among his exploits, Egan (along with his partner Sonny Grosso and other NYPD detectives) broke up an organized crime ring in 1961 seizing 112 pounds of heroin, a record amount at the time. The investigation was chronicled in a 1969 book, The French Connection, by Robin Moore.

The book was adapted to a motion picture, The French Connection, released in 1971. The movie was highly fictionalized and very successful. The character based on Egan, Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle, was played by Gene Hackman who won an Academy Award for his performance (the film also won Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Editing). The character was called "Popeye" because that was Egan's nickname in real life. Egan played a role in the movie as Hackman's supervisor, Simonson. Egan and Grosso were also technical advisors.

Soon after the film was released, Egan asked to retire from the NYPD.[1] On his retirement day in November 1971, he was fired for failing to make court appearances in conjunction with his cases and for failing to turn in contraband weapons and narcotics, losing him his pension benefits.[2] He won an appeal and his pension was reinstated.[1]

In 1973 another film, called Badge 373, with Robert Duvall playing the role of Egan, was released detailing Egan's career. Hackman reprised his role as Popeye Doyle in a sequel French Connection II in 1975, which depicts a fictionalized story. In 1986, a network television series Popeye Doyle was planned based on the fictionalized character from the two films with Ed O'Neill playing the title character.[3] While the series was never produced, the pilot was broadcast as an NBC-TV Movie, and has been shown in syndication.

After retiring from the NYPD, Egan became a full-time actor, usually playing law enforcement figures. He portrayed the head of the NYPD's Son of Sam task force in the 1985 movie Out of the Darkness,[4] and throughout his career he played roles in more than 20 movies and television series.[5] He moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1984.[6]


Egan died of colon cancer at the University of Miami Cancer Center, at the age of 65. He was engaged to Cheryl Kyle-Little at the time.[1]



Year Title Role Notes
1971 The French Connection Walt Simonson
1972 Prime Cut Jake
1973 Badge 373 Lt. Scanlon
1974 Let's Go for Broke Himself
1987 Cold Steel Lt. Hill


Year Title Role Notes
1972 Mannix Lt. Paul Haber 1 episode
1972 Night of Terror Lt. Costin TV Movie
1973 McCloud Al Barber 1 episode
1975–1976 Joe Forrester Sgt. Bernie Vincent 22 episodes
1975–1977 Police Story Malone
Sgt. Harry Volmer
Sean McLiam
Capt. R. E. Mead
Lt. Holtzman
Ron Butler
6 episodes
1977 Baretta Thompson 1 episode
1975–1977 Police Woman Captain / Jack Ballard / Brock 3 episodes
1978 To Kill a Cop Chief Ed Palmer TV Movie
1979 David Cassidy: Man Undercover Detective Riggs 1 episode
1979–1980 Eischied Chief Inspector Ed Parks 12 episodes
1983 T. J. Hooker Max Silver 1 episode
1984 Murder Me, Murder You Hennessey TV Movie
1985 Out of the Darkness TV movie
1987 Houston Knights 1 episode


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Herszenhorn, David M. (November 6, 1995). "Edward R. Egan, Police Officer Who Inspired Movie, Dies at 65". The New York Times.
  2. ^ The French Connection at the American Film Institute Catalog
  3. ^ Cerone, Daniel (January 13, 1991). "Profile: 'Al Bundy' Gets Serious: Actor Ed O'Neill Sheds 'Married' Character for ABC Dramatic Movie". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (October 11, 1985). "'Out of the Darkness,' on Son of Sam Case". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Eddie Egan on IMDb
  6. ^ "Eddie Egan, Cop, Inspired 'French Connection' Film". South Coast Today. Associated Press. November 6, 1995.

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