Jeffrey Hunter (born in Louisiana as Henry Herman McKinnies Jr.) was an only child. His parents met at the University of Arkansas, and when he was almost four his family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In his teens he acted in productions of the North Shore Childrens Theater, and from 1942 to 1944 performed in summer stock with the local Port Players, along with Eileen Heckart, Charlotte Rae and Morton DaCosta, and was a radio actor at WTMJ, getting his first professional paycheck in 1945 for the wartime series Those Who Serve. After graduation from Whitefish Bay High School, where he was co-captain of the football team, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and underwent training at Great Lakes Naval Station, Illinois, in 1945-1946. On the eve of his transfer to duty in Japan, however, he took ill and received a medical discharge from the service. He attended Northwestern University in Illinois and graduated with a bachelors degree in 1949, where he acquired more stage experience in Sheridans The Rivals and Ruth Gordons Years Ago. He also did summer stock with Northwestern students at Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, in 1948, worked on two Northwestern Radio Playshop broadcasts, was president of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, and was active in the campus film society with David Bradley, later acting in Bradleys production of Julius Caesar (1950) in 1949. Hunter went to graduate school at the University of Califiornia, Los Angeles, where he studied radio and drama. He was in the cast of a UCLA production of All My Sons in May 1950, and on opening night talent scouts for Paramount and 20th Century-Fox in the audience zeroed in on the tall, blue-eyed and impossibly good-looking Hunter.