William Bishop

Active - 1943 - 1986  |   Born - Jul 16, 1917   |   Died - Oct 3, 1959   |   Genres - Western, Action, Drama, Crime, Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

American leading man William Bishop studied law at the University of West Virginia before settling upon an acting career. He came to Hollywood at the tail end of the "victory casting" period, when the major studios were hiring any and all handsome young actors to fill the gap until the major male stars like Gable and Fonda came back from the war. Under contract to MGM, Bishop was seen in sizeable but non-descript supporting roles in such films as A Guy Named Joe (1943) and Song of the Thin Man (1947). In the 1950s, the muscular, jut-jawed Bishop specialized in westerns like The Texas Rangers (1952), Redhead from Wyoming (1953) and Phantom Stagecoach (1954). His best showing during this period was as Carter Doone in Columbia's Technicolor costumer Lorna Doone (1952). For 39 weeks in 1954, Bishop costarred with Michael O'Shea and James Dunn in It's a Great Life, a TV sitcom about two ex-GIs living together in a small apartment. William Bishop died of cancer in his Malibu home at the age of 42; he had just completed work on his last film, The Oregon Trail (1959), in which he was billed just below star Fred MacMurray.

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