William Fawcett was born William Fawcett Thompson in High Forest, Minnesota on September 8, 1894. He served in World War I as an ambulance driver in France and received the prestigious LÉgion d'honneur from the French government for his actions. Fawcett's father encouraged him to become a Methodist preacher but Fawcett chose to become an actor, starting out in church dramas before joining up with theaters and stock companies. By 1936, Fawcett had received a Ph.D. in Elizabethan drama from the University of Nebraska and was a professor of theater arts at Michigan State University. He left for Hollywood in 1942, received his first movie role as Judge Smith in Stars Over Texas in 1946 and then continued to pick up mostly supporting roles throughout the 40s and 50s. His most famous role was the old and cantankerous ranch hand Pete Wilkey in NBC's Fury which ran from 1955 to 1960. William Fawcett died on January 25, 1974 of cardiovascular disease in Sherman Oaks, California after almost three decades acting in movies and on television.