William Devane

Active - 1967 - 2015  |   Born - Sep 5, 1937 in Albany, New York, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Thriller, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

AADA alumnus William Devane first came to the attention of critics while working with the New York Shakespeare Festival. In the angry off-Broadway satire MacBird (1967), Devane played the first of many sharkish young men on the make. His entree into films came by way of the 16-millimeter In Country (1969), after which he alternated between icewater villainy (Hitchcock's Family Plot [1976]) and unexpected heroics (Rolling Thunder [1977]). Much of Devane's best work was seen on television: his marked resemblance to the Kennedy clan has served him well as JFK in TV's The Missiles of October (1974) and the Teddy-like patriarch in the 1995 series The Monroes; and he brought just the right blend of aggression, indignation and confusion to his portrayal of blacklisted TV personality John Henry Faulk in Fear on Trial (1977). Devane has also starred as Sgt. Mike Warden on the TV-series version of From Here to Eternity (1979) and duplicitous state senator Gregory Sumner in Knot's Landing . In the following decades, Devane would continue to appear on both the large and small screens, most notably on What About Brian? and 24, as well as movies like Payback and Space Cowboys.

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  • Began acting in neighborhood theater in Albany during his high-school years.
  • Gained attention in the 1967 Off-Broadway play MacBird, playing a character inspired by Robert Kennedy.
  • Received Emmy nomination for portraying John F. Kennedy in 1974's The Missiles of October; also played Jacqueline Kennedy's father, "Black Jack" Bouvier, in 1991 TV-movie A Woman Named Jackie.
  • Claimed identification with JFK role cost him parts in the films The Deer Hunter (1978) and Apocalypse Now (1979).
  • Starred in Alfred Hitchcock's final film, Family Plot (1976).
  • Joined Knots Landing in its fifth year and stayed for the remaining 10 seasons.
  • Has a polo facility on his 140-acre ranch.
  • Owns the California restaurant Devane's along with his son.