Singer-actor-comedian Paul Gilbert had already had an adventurous life before he ever made it to Hollywood.
Born into a vaudevillian family, he trained with South American aerialists and traveled with the circus until a dramatic 65-foot fall ended his high-flying career, according to a 1954 article in Time magazine. He was an accomplished singer and dancer, talents frequently on display during the next few decades of TV and film work.
Gilbert, who served in the U.S. military as a fighter pilot and started on the nightclub circuit as an entertainer, made his series debut in 1954 in a half-hour show called "The Duke," a fish-out-of-water comedy that ran for 13 episodes on NBC. His other TV appearances included "The NBC Comedy Hour," "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Lux Video Theater" along with "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," "The Dean Martin Comedy Hour" and "The Ed Sullivan Show."
Gilbert and his fourth wife, actress Barbara Crane, adopted Jonathan and Melissa Gilbert, who became part of the cast of '70s hit drama, "Little House on the Prairie."
He died of a stroke in 1975.