Formerly a schoolteacher, Texas-born Noble Willingham has been essaying crusty character roles since 1969. Willingham's resumé includes a brace of location-filmed Peter Bogdanovich films, The Last Picture Show (1971) and Paper Moon (1973), and the role of Clay Stone in both of Billy Crystal's City Slickers comedies. Among his TV-movie credits is the part of President James Knox Polk in 1985's Dream West. A regular on several TV series (The Ann Jillian Show, Texas Wheelers, Cutter to Houston, AfterMASH, When the Whistle Blows), Willingham is best known to 1990s viewers as Mr. Binford (of Binford Tools) in Home Improvement and C. D. Parker in Walker, Texas Ranger. Noble Willingham's most recent film assignments include Ace Ventura, Pet Detective (1994) Up Close and Personal (1996) and Space Jam (1996).
In 2000, Willingham left Walker, Texas Ranger to run for Congress in Texas. After losing the election to his Democratic opponent, Max Sandlin, Willingham returned to acting with a supporting role in the Val Kilmer thriller Blind Horizon. Sadly, the part would be the actor's last. In early 2004, at the age of 72, Willingham passed away at home from natural causes.