A native New Yorker, Byrnes was born Edward Byrne Breitenberger in 1932. He changed his name to "Byrnes" as a teenager to honor his grandfather, Edward Byrne, giving him the familiar Edd Byrnes name. In his early 20s, Byrnes began acting in plays at the Litchfield Community Playhouse in Connecticut, sparking an interest in acting and launching a career in the field. After about a year of performances on stage, Byrnes moved to Hollywood to pursue acting work full time.
By the mid '50s,