One of show-businesses busiest grandfatherly figures, actor Bill Erwin has been appearing in film and television since the early '40s, and as of 2003, he's shown no signs of slowing. His consistently reliable performances in such high-profile efforts as Somewhere in Time (1980), Home Alone (1990), and Forces of Nature (1999) have found Erwin enduring to become one of the most in-demand supporting players around. A Honey Grove, TX, native who earned his bachelor's in journalism at the University of Texas in Austin in 1935, Erwin went on to California to complete his Masters of Theater Arts at the Pasadena Playhouse in 1941. Though a stint in World War II would momentarily put his acting career on hold, Erwin returned stateside to make his film debut in, appropriately enough, the 1941 Phil Silvers comedy You're in the Army Now. Throughout the years, Erwin has appeared in numerous stage productions on both coasts, and repeat performances on such television classics as Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Growing Pains, and Seinfeld have ensured Erwin's popularity with many generations of television viewers. His role in Seinfeld earned him an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1993. From high-profile releases like Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) to edgy, low-budget sci-fi movies like Menno's Mind (1996), Erwin has done it all, and equally well. Outside of his film work, Erwin spends his time writing and illustrating cartoons in his North Hollywood home.
Biography by Jason Buchanan
- First job in showbiz was at the age of 4 or 5, modeling children's underwear.
- Was Edgar Bergen's stage manager for the ventriloquist's 1941 tour.
- Served as a captain in the Army Air Force during WWII.
- Was a self-taught cartoonist who had his work published in The New Yorker.
- Best known for his roles on Seinfeld and in the romantic-fantasy film Somewhere in Time.
- Won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award in 1983 for his performance in Old Friends at the Actors Forum.
- Wrote, produced and starred in the one-man show Twisted Twain.