William Redfield

Active - 1939 - 1977  |   Born - Jan 26, 1927   |   Died - Jan 1, 1976   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Romance, Crime

Share on

The son of a Manhattan orchestra conductor and a former Ziegfeld Follies girl, little Billy Redfield made his Broadway bow at age 9 in Swing Your Lady. Billy launched his radio career around the same time, and made his earliest movie appearance in 1939. As adult actor William Redfield, he was one of the original founders of the influential Actors Studio. While his film assignments of the 1950s and 1960s were unremarkable (as Captain Owens in 1966's Fantastic Voyage, for example, he played third fiddle to the special effects and Raquel Welch's diving suit), he remained a much-in-demand stage performer, and also proved a delightful raconteur on such TV chatfests as The Tonight Show. His reminiscences of the ups and downs of the acting profession were candid and perceptive without ever descending into maliciousness; many of his best anecdotes were self-deprecatory, notably his oft-repeated tale about being saddled in the 1956 film The Proud and the Profane with some of the worst movie dialogue ever written. An ever-busy TV performer, Redfield played the title role in the 1953 DuMont Network series Jimmy Hughes, Rookie Cop, and the following year was seen as Bobby Logan in The Marriage, the first live network series to be regularly broadcast in color. A talented writer, Redfield co-created the popular Wally Cox TV sitcom Mister Peepers, penned the stage play A View with Alarm, and published the 1965 volume Letters From an Actor, a candid memoir of his experiences while playing Guildenstern in the John Gielgud-directed 1964 staging of Hamlet, which starred Richard Burton. Not long after making his final film appearance as pensive mental patient Harding in the Oscar-winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 49-year-old William Redfield died of leukemia.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography