VETERAN CHARACTER ACTOR DEAD AT 88
William Windom, the recognizable character actor who had a career on the small screen spanning seven decades, passed away on Thursday of congestive heart failure at his home near San Francisco. He was 88.
Born on September 28, 1923 in New York City and schooled at Williams College, Fordham and Columbia, Windom made his debut with the American Repertory Theatre in 1946 in productions of Henry VIII, What Every Woman Knows, John Gabriel Borkman and Androcles and the Lion. The following year, he remained on Broadway with roles in Yellow Jack and as the White Rabbit in a production of Alice in Wonderland. Windom segued onto television with early guest starring roles in series like The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, Masterpiece Playhouse and Robert Montgomery Presents. Following guest shots in several 1960s series including The Twilight Zone, Checkmate, Cheyenne, Ben Casey, The Lucy Show, The Donna Reed Show and Star Trek, Windom headlined sitcom The Farmer’s Daughter from 1963-66. Multiple TV appearances followed through the 1970s, including a one season stint on 1969-70 comedy My World and Welcome To It, which resulted in an Emmy for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series.
Windom, in total, appeared as a guest star in what could be more TV series than anyone else in the history of television, and racked up his third and fourth regularly scheduled sitcoms in short-lived Brothers and Sisters (which stemmed from the success of Animal House) in 1979 and the first Parenthood, based on the Ron Howard theatrical, in 1990. He also appeared on a recurring basis on detective drama Murder, She Wrote, and had a supporting role in 1962 theatrical classic To Kill a Mockingbird.
Windom is survived by his fifth wife, Patricia Veronica Tunder, and four children. A memorial will be held on Saturday, September 15 at Theatre West (3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West in Los Angeles) at 2 p.m.