Royal Edward Dano was the son of Josephine, nee O'Connor and Irish immigrant, and Caleb Edward Dano, a newspaper printer. He later studied at New York University and made his debut as a stage actor on Broadway. His screen debut was in the 1950 published and staged by Joseph Pevney thriller detective Christine Miller at the side of Alexis Smith and Gerald Mohr. In the following decades the gaunt actor often embodied weird or striking minor characters. Especially frequently he appeared in Western.