Bill Bixby

Bill Bixby


1/22/1934, San Francisco, California, USA



Birth Name

Wilfred Bailey Bixby


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He was born Wilfred Bailey Bixby, a fourth-generation Californian, in San Francisco, California where his father, Wilfred Everett Bixby, was a store clerk and his mother Jane Bixby, was a department store owner. In 1946, his mother encouraged him to take ballroom dance lessons and from there, he…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Bill Bixby is seen in the 2008 movie The Incredible Hulk. As Bruce Banner switches TV channels, Bixby can be seen in a clip from The Courtship of Eddie's Father.

    • When Bill Bixby performed magic tricks for his series The Magician, he did so with one take of the camera. He didn't rely on multiple camera shots to cover any flaws in the trick.

    • When The Incredible Hulk first aired in 1978, Bill Bixby was concerned that his son Christopher would be frightened to see his father turning into a green creature. Therefore, Bixby wouldn't allow his son to watch the show.

    • Between 1963 and 1979, Bill Bixby appeared on the cover of TV Guide 6 times.

    • Bill Bixby is best remembered by the public for his starring roles as Tom Corbett in The Courtship of Eddie's Father and as Dr. David Banner in The Incredible Hulk.

    • Bill Bixby attended the same college with and was the classmate of Miss America 1955 and future actress, Lee Meriwether.

    • After Larry Hagman ultimately turned down the role of Dr. David Banner in The Incredible Hulk, the role was given to Bill Bixby. Hagman was already under contract with Lorimar at the time.

    • When offered the leading role for The Incredible Hulk, Bill Bixby didn't want to do the series, but changed his mind, after reading the script and was cast at the last minute.

    • Bill Bixby worked with his wife, Brenda Benet, on the following series: The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Magician, The Incredible Hulk and The Love Boat.

    • The cast of Blossom attended Bill Bixby's funeral, with the exception of series' star, Mayim Bialik, who was on vacation with her family.

    • Bill Bixby's co-star from The Courtship Of Eddie's Father, child actor Brandon Cruz has a son whom he christened Bixby in tribute to Bill Bixby.

    • Bill Bixby joined the Marine Corps five days after his eighteenth birthday. He served his time and was honorably discharged.

    • Bill Bixby spoke six different languages.

    • In his youth Bill Bixby was part of a group called Uncalled Four which was a quartet.

    • Bill Bixby had twelve different hobbies in his life. They were painting, magic, sailing, hiking, fishing, swimming, farming, jogging, golfing, photography, cooking, and carpentry.

    • Bill Bixby's grandfather Wilfred Everett was a renowned physician and surgeon. He graduated from the University of California-Davis.

    • Bill Bixby relied on acting for a living, but as a backup in case the acting didn't work out, he was a professional magician.

    • Bill Bixby was an accomplished artist.

    • When Bill Bixby was in college he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

    • Bill Bixby lost his only son to a rare illness in 1981, and that same year he lost his ex-wife Brenda Benet to suicide.

    • Bill Bixby was interred at the estate of Judith Kliban in Hana, Hawaii.

    • On October 3 1993 until his death in 1993, Bill Bixby was married to Judith Kliban, who he met in Hawai'i.

    • On December 18, 1991 Bill Bixby married Laura Jane Michaels. They divorced on June 25, 1992.

    • On July 4, 1971, Bill Bixby married Brenda Benet. They were married until September of 1979 when they divorced. They had one child.

    • Bill Bixby's parents insisted he attended the University of California-Berkeley, the same university where his parents went to.

    • Bill Bixby's father, Wilfred Everett Bixby II, died on June 4, 1971, just 4 weeks before he & Brenda Benet were married.

    • In 1971, Bill Bixby was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series - The Courtship of Eddie's Father.

    • Bill Bixby attended speech and drama classes at Lowell High School and graduated in 1952. He was also on the school's debating team.

    • Bill Bixby was offered the role on That Girl as Marlo Thomas's boyfriend, Don Hollinger, but turned it down.

    • At least 2 actors named him as their favorite actor: Mariette Hartley & Loni Anderson, both guest-starred with Bill Bixby on The Incredible Hulk.

    • Bill Bixby was the third actor (next to Michael Landon) to star in 3 series that ran for 3 years or more.

  • Quotes

    • Bill Bixby: As a viewer, I want to make the choice as to when to laugh. I don't want to be told. I want to get credit for some kind of intelligence.

    • Bill Bixby: In show business, you have to realize that everyone, in fact, is a freak--and that's something they don't tell you about when you go to acting school. People treat you differently because you happen to be a "celebrity."

    • Bill Bixby: Why did I choose acting? Because instinctively, it felt right. As a result, I find myself in a minority of people working at a job I dearly love. I get up in the morning and I get to go to work. I drive to work with a passion, that's a lovely state of affairs. I really, really love it.

    • Bill Bixby: I started in broad comedy, pure slapstick, then progressed from situation comedy to situation realty. When you do more serious stuff, you're 'taken seriously'. That makes me laugh because comedy is harder.

    • Bill Bixby: When I'm acting, I'm not lying. I'm only withholding the rest of myself that isn't pertinent.

    • Bill Bixby: I don't try to be funny. I guess you'd call me an improvisational actor. I don't realize I've been funny until after I've done it.

    • Bill Bixby: I learn about acting by watching real people. If I'm trying to interpret a new character I'll find someone who suits that character and I'll watch him.

    • Bill Bixby: (Sharing his thoughts regarding the controversial subject matter in Steambath) I've never had stage fright. Not even on Broadway. Not until I did Steambath.

    • Bill Bixby: (Referring to his personal philosophy of parenting) What's great is that Tom Corbett's ideas and attitudes are those of Bill Bixby.

    • Bill Bixby: (Commenting on his role in The Courtship of Eddie's Father) Now I can play myself. What's great is that Tom Corbett's ideas and attitudes are those of Bill Bixby.

    • Bill Bixby: One of the most important things about directing is that I am improving as an actor. I can now understand the problems of the director and I think this helps me to do a better job when I am in front of the camera.

    • Bill Bixby: (In a 1989 Entertainment Tonight interview) The opportunity of producing, directing and acting…that's just too exciting to me! That isn't work--it's play! [laughing] And I get paid for it! And I love it!!

    • Bill Bixby: (Referring to his success as an actor) I came up very slowly. I'm grateful I was not an overnight discovery.

    • Bill Bixby: (In a 1979 TV Guide interview) I don't go to parties. I'm not good at social events. If I go out, it means I go as Bill Bixby, the actor. That means they want to talk to Eddie's father or Tim O'Hara, or the Magician, or Dr. Banner. I've come to accept that. I used to hope someone would want to talk to me, to Bill, but I've learned it won't happen.

    • Bill Bixby: When you go to dramatic school, there's no course in how to handle success. An actor's ego has a hard time handling that. The world doesn't treat you normally.

    • Bill Bixby: Hollywood is the land of instant everything.

    • Bill Bixby: To me there's only one position you can take as an actor. That's to get into such a financial position you can afford to say no. Integrity is one thing, but you have to be able to afford good taste.

    • Bill Bixby: The Hulk is the personification of the enemy which lurks under the surface of us all. We have to control that enemy within ourselves, or we can't control the conduct of the world.

    • Bill Bixby: (Commenting on The Courtship of Eddie's Father) Comedy fathers usually turn out to be dummies, while mothers are portrayed as being great…And why are fathers always older men on television? Many of my friends are young fathers with young children. I want to play the contemporary father.

    • Bill Bixby: Everyone fantasizes. We all want to be something we're not. The Hulk is today's fantasy. There's a bit of the Hulk in everybody. That's why the show's become popular so quickly.

    • Bill Bixby: (Referring to his role as David Banner) My task is to make my character so believable that the audience readily accepts the Hulk when he appears.

    • Bill Bixby: The idea of having pride, the idea of manners, I think is very, very important. There's just too little of it in the world and I think there are certain dignities in life to which we should all aspire.

    • Bill Bixby: Situation comedies are old-fashioned - they stick to formulas. I resent their music which is old fashioned. I resent the use of a laugh track

    • Bill Bixby: The only way to grow is to risk failure. Be unique! Not a copy! I'd rather be copied.

    • Bill Bixby: A person has got to have the right to be wrong, to make mistakes. You must stick your neck out and try. There is no need to apologize if you try and fail. On the contrary, you can look anyone right in the eye.

    • Bill Bixby: Money doesn't mean anything because the value of it can be reduced instantly and it's gone. Possessions don't mean anything because they can be stolen. But time--there's nothing else of such value that I can see and there's never enough of it.

    • Bill Bixby: [Work] allowed me to put my energies some place and focus them some place and relieve myself for awhile of confronting the traumatic circumstances that were occurring in my life. So work has always been a friend to me.

    • Bill Bixby: TV's been good to me.(Hosting) 'Classics' is my way of paying my dues in TV.

    • Bill Bixby: Classics is fantasy, But it's not a kids show. Adults are supporting 'Classics' not just for their children but for themselves.

    • Bill Bixby: Childhood innocence is very important. My shows bring back fantasies that adults once had.

    • Bill Bixby: TV is a major force in our lives—a FORCE. It must be handled very carefully, both its censure and its artistic honesty.

    • Bill Bixby: The only reason I ask questions and get angry is because the decisions are placed in the wrong hands and passed around like a hot pototo. They say, 'Don't be too violent', but they won't tell you what 'too violent' is.

    • Bill Bixby: Do you realize if one-tenth of one-percent write out of possibly 40 million viewers—40,000 write—the weight that would carry? Is that too much to ask – that one tenth of one per cent be attentive to what they see? To take control of their own lives? Or do they want to remain children and give that control away.

    • Bill Bixby: Parents should watch what their children watch and not use TV as a babysitter. If a show is objectionable they should turn it OFF. They should write the president of the network and tell him they are never going to watch that program again and why.

    • Bill Bixby: (it's) very difficult to make a children's film. Violence is easy. You just show gore. But holding an audiences attention without gore—that's a challenge.

    • Bill Bixby: The male image has been so pulled down by situation comedy in the last 15 years, it is frightening. I don't like what has happened to the American male.

    • Bill Bixby: I genuinely mean what I'm about to say—that I believe that people who do not vote in this country have no right to complain about the government that we are now living under. By the same token, if you don't really vote in television, you're never going to have your way….write a letter to the president of the network. You won't get Eddie's Father back, but you'll get the kind of television that you want. They do read the mail

    • Bill Bixby: If you had a viewers lobby, the public could have much more control over which programs are shown. The lobby would express the viewers' opinion, not just the network.

    • Bill Bixby: Even if they are perfectly happy, it isn't healthy. When you stop trying to improve something, how can you hope to improve it?

    • Bill Bixby: The viewers, above all, should never stop 'beefing'. Television is, or should be, a medium that responds to public wishes and tastes. The only way the medium can progress is if the public keeps demanding it.

    • Bill Bixby: Viewers can't expect TV to keep developing unless they make their wants known. And let's face it. The best way to make your wants known in this world is by 'beefing'

    • Bill Bixby: I'll say one thing for television. It has taken children and educated them far beyond anything I was ever involved with as a child

    • Bill Bixby: Situation comedies are old-fashioned—they stick to formulas. I resent their music which is old fashioned. I resent the use of a laugh track. We use one—network policy [ABC]—I couldn't help it, although I resent it. As a viewer, I want to make the choice as to when to laugh. I don't want to be told. I want to get credit for some kind of intelligence. Sound effects are used in sit-coms to prime them up. They are all gimmickry designed to make the audience think that what they are seeing is fun. It's in the writing. They need more responsible writing. When it's lousy, they feel they need all these lousy inducements. It's a terrible thing to be running in fear.

    • Bill Bixby: Anytime the sponsors or networks aren't beefing, that's the time to start worrying. There are really two reasons: either they are perfectly happy with the way your show is going, which is highly unlikely, or they've already written you off and haven't gotten around to writing up your cancellation notice, yet.

    • Bill Bixby: I have learned that there is no way to succeed in anything unless you are willing to try--and trying means you run the risk of failure.

    • Bill Bixby: I'm a loner as a person, but then I always was, even as a child.