William Windom is a versitile and talented actor who has appeared on stage, screen and television for over 50 years. Windom grew up in New York City and began his career there in 1947 with the American Repertory Theatre. He would continue performing on- and off-Broadway until 1961…more
While stationed in Frankfurt, West Germany, during the postwar Allied occupation, William enrolled in the new Biarritz American University in France, where he first acted on stage. He played the title role in Richard III. Late in his life he would state that this was the role of which he was most proud.
Windom is an avid sailer, and has won many sailing trophies. He is also a tournament Chess player.
Windom attended several colleges, both before and after serving in World War II. They include: Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts; The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina; University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky; Fordham University, Bronx, New York; and Columbia University, New York, New York.
William's kindergarten teacher was Margaret Hamilton, who would later become an actress, most famous for playing the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.
Windom has narrated recordings of the "Light's End" series of Sci-Fi books by Michael Vance.
Windom bought a small island in Windom, Minnesota, named for his great-grandfather, politician William Windom. The island, for which he paid $1.00, is a wildlife refuge.
Windom won the 1970 Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for the short-lived, My World and Welcome to It.
Windom was with New York's American Repertory Theatre from 1946 to 1961. During that time he appeared in 18 Broadway plays and 5 off-Broadway productions. Years later William staged two one-man-shows playing writer James Thurber and combat reporter Ernie Pyle.
William was named for his great grandfather, politician William Windom, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate as a Republican from Minnesota, and later served as Secretary of the Treasury.
William married Patricia Veronica Tunder on December 31, 1975. Four previous marriages ended in divorce. William has four children: Rachel, Heather Juliet, Hope, and Rebel Russell.
William appeared in many productions on Broadway, including "Henry VIII," "What Every Woman Knows," "Come Blow Your Horn" "Androcles and the Lion," "Yellow Jack" and "Alice in Wonderland."
William served in the U.S. Army's 508th parachute infantry in World War II.
William Windom: (on his great-grandfather, a polititian)He was considered a completely honest man in a rather corrupt era.
William Windom: (on the movie, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. ) That was fun. They would put Darryl Hannah up on a Platform 50 feet in the air and film over her shoulder to give her the perspective of height. I was down below so it looked like she was a giant. It wasn't a very good movie, but fun to do.
William Windom: (on Clint Eastwood) A real softy. He's nothing like his on-screen persona in real life. Just a great guy. I've played tennis with him on many occasions. Clint can't play very well, so I like playing against him. He used to have his own tennis tournament. Always like to play against him. He is great to work for. I just did one movie with him ["True Crime"]. Small part, played the bartender.
William Windom: (on working with an actress in To Kill a Mockingbird) The girl who played the little red-neck [the alleged rape victim Mayella Ewell] and I were working together at night in a play in L.A. We would do the film during the day and the play at night. She would change from a back-woods red-neck to an elegant socialite at night. It was a lot of fun.
William Windom: (on Gregory Peck during the filming of To Kill a Mockingbird) Peck cracked me up one day. We were sitting at tables side by side. We were supposed to leave him alone because he couldn't be distracted. This was a serious scene. Greg would sit at the table like this. (He props his elbows on the edge of the table with his forehead resting on his fists as if in prayer.) Now I have to do something to make the scene interesting because I'm just sitting there. The focus is on Greg. So I drape one leg over the arm of my chair, I pull my tie loose to one side and I chew on a pencil. Well this goes on for several days as we film the scene over and over. Finally Peck says to me out of the side of his mouth, (imitating Mr. Peck) "Hey Bill, do you think this would be too much?" At which point his elbow slips off the table like he has fallen asleep.
William Windom: (on doing research for his role in To Kill a Mockingbird) I went to a law school lecture in L.A. given by W.C. Fields Jr. He was a very serious attorney. The thing was, he looked and sounded just like his father. I swore if I ever got in trouble, I was going to hire him to defend me. No jury in the world would convict you with W.C. Fields as your lawyer!
William Windom: (on working with director John Hughes) I like John. He likes to keep the camera rolling after the take is over to see what you will do. Fun sets to work on.