Gil Bellows worked steadily in film throughout the mid-'90s before he achieved TV fame on the whimsical Fox comedy Ally McBeal. Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Bellows left Canada to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Southern California. He then headed East, appearing in New York theater as well as on TV's Law & Order. Though he made his film debut in Frank Darabont's acclaimed prison drama The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and co-starred alongside Sarah Jessica Parker in Miami Rhapsody (1995), Bellows followed more in the direction of his first starring film, Love and a .45 (1994), appearing primarily in independent features. After a supporting role in The Substance of Fire (1996), Bellows starred in the British-Canadian adaptation of Bernard Malamud's The Assistant (1997) and the Canadian romantic comedy Dinner at Fred's (opposite indie queen Parker Posey), as well as the French supernatural romance Un Amour de Sorcière (1997). It was TV producer/writer David E. Kelley's innovative Ally McBeal, though, that made Bellows a well-known presence after the series debuted in 1997. As Ally/Calista Flockhart's ex-love-turned-law colleague, Bellows' Billy was a bastion of relative normalcy (at least until the third season) among the eccentric staff populating the series' fictional Boston law firm and stoking Ally's neuroses. Though Billy was supposed to last only one season, Bellows stayed for three, leaving in 2000. Bellows is married to actress Rya Kihlstedt and has one daughter.
Biography by Lucia Bozzola
- Was a founding member of the Seraphim Theater Company in New York, and acted in their off-Broadway production of True West.
- Made his movie debut in The First Season (1988), which was produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
- Made his TV debut in a 1991 episode of Law & Order.
- His role of Tommy Williams in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) was originally meant for Brad Pitt.
- Nominated for a Gemini Award for his performance in the 2005 miniseries Terminal City.
- Executive produced the HBO biopic Temple Grandin, which was nominated for 15 Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes.