Tony Bill

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Tony Bill
Frances Lee McCain Tony Bill 1977.JPG
Bill with Frances Lee McCain (1977)
Born Gerard Anthony Bill
(1940-08-23) August 23, 1940 (age 74)
San Diego, California, USA

Gerard Anthony "Tony" Bill (born August 23, 1940) is an American actor, producer, and director. He produced the 1973 movie The Sting, for which he shared the Academy Award for Best Picture with Michael Phillips and Julia Phillips.

Early life[edit]

Bill was born in San Diego, California and attended St. Augustine High School (San Diego). He majored in English and art at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, from which he graduated in 1962.


Bill began his career as an actor in the 1960s, first appearing on screen as Frank Sinatra's ingenuous younger brother in Come Blow Your Horn (1963). Thereafter, he was cast as Chris Herrod in the 1965 episode "An Elephant Is Like a Tree" of the NBC education drama series, Mr. Novak, starring James Franciscus.

Bill specialized in juveniles and young leads. In the mid-1960s he made two appearances in the BBC's Play of the Month anthology series, he took the lead in Lee Oswald Assassin and played Biff to Rod Steiger's Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman (both 1966).

Often his characters were likeable but none-too-bright. His acting credits include None but the Brave (1965), You're A Big Boy Now (1966), Never a Dull Moment (1968), Ice Station Zebra (1968), Shampoo (1975), The Little Dragons (1980), Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), and Less Than Zero (1987).

Bill continued to act in television movies, miniseries, and guest spots though with decreasing frequency as he segued into directing. He appeared in the 1966 episode "Chaff in the Wind" of the long running western The Virginian. He was then cast in 1967 episode "The Predators" of NBC's western series The Road West starring Barry Sullivan. He also starred in a 1968 episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. entitled "The Seven Wonders of the World Affair, Parts 1 and 2." Tony Bill was also featured on an ABC movie called, "The Haunts of the Very Rich", in 1972.

In 1980, Bill directed his first film, My Bodyguard. From there he went on to direct Six Weeks (1982), Five Corners (1987), Crazy People (1990) A Home of Our Own (1993), Untamed Heart, with Christian Slater and Marisa Tomei (1993); Flyboys (2006) which Bill claims was one of the first features shot entirely with digital cameras. In television Bill directed Truman Capote's One Christmas, Harlan County War, and Pictures of Hollis Woods, among others.

In 2009, Bill published the book Movie Speak: How to Talk Like You Belong on a Film Set. The book traces the etymology of the language of the movie set and is filled out with stories from Bill's career in film.[1]

From 1984–2000, he co-owned with Dudley Moore the celebrated 72 Market Street Oyster Bar and Grill, a restaurant in Venice, California.

Personal life[edit]

Tony Bill married Toni Gray in December 1962.[2] They had a son, Peter Bill, born 1964 and a daughter, Francesca. Currently, he is married to his second wife, the former Helen Buck Bartlett, his producer/partner in Barnstorm Films in Venice. The couple has two daughters, Madeline and Daphne.


  1. Los Angeles Times article – Hollywood Lingo from Tony Bill Retrieved 2012-2-12
  2. Bob Thomas, "An Overnight Success' Actually Fits Tony Bill" The Evening Independent (June 12, 1963), p.11

External links[edit]