Tony Bill

Active - 1963 - 2017  |   Born - Aug 23, 1940 in San Diego, California  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Comedy Drama, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A former English and Art major at Notre Dame University, Tony Bill was fortunate enough to work with Frank Sinatra in his first film, Come Blow Your Horn. "Old Blue Eyes" took a liking to Bill, securing him parts in the subsequent Sinatra vehicles None but the Brave (1965) and Marriage on the Rocks (1968), and helping to open several professional doors for the young actor. After this promising start, Bill settled into a string of colorless juvenile roles. Feeling that his acting career wasn't going anyplace in particular, he formed a production company with Michael and Julia Phillips, turning out two "trendy" feature films, Deadhead Miles (1972) and Steelyard Blues (1973). Scoring a significant success with the Oscar-winning The Sting (1973), Bill parted company with the Phillipses, soloing as producer of Hearts of the West (1975), Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976), and Boulevard Nights (1979). In 1980, he decided to give directing a try, and the result was the engaging teen-angst drama My Bodyguard (1980). Additional directorial credits include the theatrical features Five Corners (1988), Crazy People (1990), and A Home of Our Own (1993), and the made-for-TV movies Love Thy Neighbor (1984), One Christmas (1988), and Next Door (1994). Despite his executive responsibilities, Tony Bill has kept a hand in acting, most amusingly in the semi-autobiographical role of Warner Bros. executive Terry Hawthorne in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985). Increasingly active behind the camera as the 1980s gave way to the 1990s, Bill would stick almost exclusively to television following Next Door as he alternated between series work (Chicago Hope and Felicity) and made for television features (Beyond the Call, Iliver Twist, and A Chance of Snow). Of course once an actor always an actor, and when given the opportunity to appear before the camera in such efforts as Barb Wire, The Fixer, and Lying in Wait, Bill was always keen to perform. Subsequent directorial work on such television series' as UC: Undercover, Monk, and Keen Eddy found Bill's career receiving something of a second wind as the new millennium blew in, and in the wake of his success with the Emmy-nominated made for television feature Harlan County War the longtime filmmaker would take to the skies to call the shots for some of the hottest young stars of the day in the 2006 World War I adventure Flyboys. A historical war film documenting the cloud-cutting adventures of America's very first fighter pilots, Flyboys featured hot young actors James Franco, Martin Henderson, and David Ellison performing alongside such experienced screen veterans as Jean Reno and Tchéky Karyo.

Movie Highlights

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