His parents were killed together in a plane crash on October 15, 1953, after which he was raised by English friends. He was educated at Eton College and served for three years as a lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys in the Middle East and Germany. He holds both English and Austrian citizenship. He studied opera for about three years, was baritone going up to tenor, was good but not really good enough to be a professional, so he decided to become an actor. Until the time he came to the US, he sang in nightclubs and had a lot of performing experience before getting into acting at age 27. His first job was in the mini-series QB VII, starring Ben Gazzara and Lee Remick.