Link was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Elsie (née Roerecke) and William Theodore Link, a textile broker. His mother had German Huguenot heritage, while his father did not know his heritage. Link discovered late in life that his father's parents were Jewish. Link's niece Amy, examined a suitcase William Theodore Link had left to his son, which they had kept in their attic, she opened it in 2011, and it turned out it contained genealogical research and evidence done by William Theodore Link during World War 2. Amy had discovered that Link's paternal grandparents were Jews. Link earned a degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business prior to serving in the United States Army from 1956 to 1958.
They also collaborated on several made-for-TV movies, including The Gun, My Sweet Charlie, That Certain Summer, The Judge and Jake Wyler, The Execution of Private Slovik, Charlie Cobb: A Nice Night for a Hanging, and Blacke's Magic; the last, which starred Hal Linden and Harry Morgan, was also developed into a short-lived TV series. The partners collaborated as well on two feature films: The Hindenburg (1975) and Rollercoaster (1977). Other collaborations for the small screen included the teleplay of an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour entitled "Day of Reckoning" (original air date November 22, 1962), which was based on a novel by John Garden. Levinson and Link occasionally used the pseudonym "Ted Leighton," most notably on the telefilm Ellery Queen: Don't Look Behind You (1971), where their work was substantially re-written by other hands, and on Columbo when they came up with stories to be scripted by their collaborators.
In 1979, Levinson and Link received a Special Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for their work on Ellery Queen and Columbo. During the 1980s, they were three-time winners of the Edgar for Best TV Feature or MiniSeries Teleplay, and in 1989 they were given the MWA's Ellery Queen Award, which honors outstanding mystery-writing teams. In November 1995 they were jointly elected to the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
In 2010, the specialist mystery publishing house, Crippen & Landru, released The Columbo Collection, a book featuring a dozen original short stories about Lieutenant Columbo, all written by Link.
^Browning, Paul (September 2, 2008). "CSULB to Dedicate William Link Theatre with Formal Dinner and Reading of the Award-Winning Writer/Producer's Play". This Week @ The Beach (California State University, Long Beach).|accessdate= requires |url= (help)