He played the role of Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man. His Oscar-nominated role as Toddy in Victor Victoria brought him massive fame.
His real name was Robert Preston Meservey, but he was told by movie studios to adopt a stage name.
He quit school at ahe 16 to join a traveling actors' company.
He married Catherine Craig in 1940 and they remained together until his death.
Julie Andrews and he were both in the film Victor Victoria.