Anthony Charles Planck Edwards was born in Santa Barbara, California. He began his acting career on the stage when he was 12. He attended San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara and later graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in drama. He would act over 30 plays in 5 years before he went to London to attend the Royal Academy of Arts. He made his feature-film debut in the 1982 movie Fast Time At Ridgemont High. In 1994 he became the lead actor for the NBC hit medical drama ER, and remained a regular on the series for 8 seasons.