An Oklahoma native, Erdman was the consummate secondary player. His venues ranged from the original Twilight Zone, where he played a man with a timepiece that could freeze the world, to Fred Zinneman’s The Men, where he played an easy-going paralyzed veteran who helps Marlon Brando adjust to life as a paraplegic.
Other notable roles by Erdman included his stint as an alcoholic ex-Marine in Cry Danger, and Billy Wilder’s Stalag 17, where he played a barracks chief.
Erdman moved to Los Angeles in 1941, enrolling in Hollywood High School. He was offered a Warner Bros. contract and appeared in Mr. Skeffington and later as Scooper Nolan in Janie (1944). He made 30 films at Warners, including an appearance in The Time of Your Life