Bixby, a fourth-generation Californian of English descent, was born on January 22, 1934 in San Francisco, California. His father, Wilfred Bailey Everett Bixby Jr., was a store clerk and his mother, Jane (née McFarland) Bixby, was a senior manager at I. Magnin & Company.
When Bixby was eight, his father enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II and traveled to the South Pacific. He attended Lowell High School where he developed his oratory and dramatic skills as a member of the Lowell Forensic Society.
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