Bill Bailey (American actor)

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For other people named Bill Bailey see the William Bailey (disambiguation) page.
Bill Bailey
Old Big Bill Bailey.jpg
Born 1938
North Carolina, US
Residence Colchester, UK
Occupation Author, actor

Bill Bailey (born 1938), is an American actor and author, primarily providing supporting roles in film and television throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. He appeared in Superman (1978), Superman II (1980), and Haunted Honeymoon (1986), as well as a number of British television programs including Yes, Prime Minister (1987), Jeeves and Wooster (1992), and Agatha Christie's Poirot (1993).[1] He has also narrated an abridged version of Herman Melville's novel "Moby Dick".

A number of Internet databases have misattributed his work to the British comedian Bill Bailey.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Bill Bailey as himself c.1984
Clutching a shot of whisky and one of his beloved pipes.

Bailey was born in a small rural town in North Carolina and attended Sanford Central High School.[3] He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1960 with a degree in philosophy, spent some time in the US Army, and then as prison guard in Canada. He married a Texan heiress, and moved to Houston, Texas where he managed a ranch and took part in motorbike scrambling and sports car rallying. He worked as a bouncer, and later organised the first white collar union in the US meat-packing industry.[3] Soon after taking up acting he moved to London in 1968 and within a year of his arrival he became the first full-frontal male nude on the British stage at the Almost Free Theatre, London.[4][5] He has acted in film, television and on London’s West End stage.[3]

He is the author of seven published books, most notably Taping Whores (2004).



Year Title Role Notes
1971 Doomwatch Reporter TV series (1 episode: "Flight Into Yesterday")
1971 Brett Barman TV series (1 episode: "The Hollow Men")
1973 The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes Drunk TV series (1 episode: "Five Hundred Carats")
1974 The Groove Tube Suc Muc Dik
1976 The New Avengers Cary TV series (1 episode: "Three Handed Game")
1978 Superman 2nd Senator (Missile Control)
1980 Superman II J.J.
1981 Outland Hill
1982 Emery Presents: Legacy of Murder Cameraman TV series (1 episode: "Bang, Bang You're Dead")
1983 Philip Marlowe, Private Eye Hugo Candless TV series (1 episode: "Nevada Gas")
1984 Master of the Game Tim O'Neill TV mini-series
1984 Tales of the Unexpected Bob TV series (1 episode: "Have a Nice Death")
1985 The Last Place on Earth Prison Warder TV mini-series (1 episode: "Rejoice")
1985 Water Hollister
1985 Lace II Chief of Police TV film
1986 If Tomorrow Comes Priest TV mini-series
1986 On the Edge Flash Holman
1986 The American Way General Motors aka Riders of the Storm
1986 Haunted Honeymoon The Host
1986 Sky Bandits Sheriff
1987 Ishtar General Westlake
1987 Heat and Sunlight Barney
1987 Howards' Way Karl Hanson TV series
1987 Yes, Prime Minister US Vice-President TV series (1 episode: "A Diplomatic Incident")
1989 The Nightmare Years Knick Knickerbocker TV mini-series documentary
1989 Around the World in 80 Days Captain Phillips TV mini-series (3 episodes)
1989 Coded Hostile Military TV film
1989 Murder Story Billy van Wyck / Keelman
1989 Frederick Forsyth Presents Frank Terpil TV series (1 episode)
1991 Guilty by Suspicion 20th Century Fox Guard
1991 Drop the Dead Donkey Earl TV series (1 episode: "The Evangelist")
1992 Notorious Judge TV film
1992 Jeeves and Wooster Alexander Worple TV series (1 episode: "Cyril and the Broadway Musical")
1992 Immaculate Conception American Consul
1993 Agatha Christie: Poirot Felix Bleibner TV series (1 episode: "The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb")
1993 Death Train G.N.N. Newscaster TV film
1993 Dominion: Tank Police Skeleton (voice) Video
1994 The Day Today Judge TV series (1 episode)
1995 Balto Butcher Voice
1997 Brass Eye Fr. Pierre Runek and an Eyewitness TV series (2 episodes)
1997 April Fool's Day Sand delivery man TV film
1999 Eureka Street John Evans TV mini-series (1 episode)
2001 Just Visiting Thibault's Father
2002 Micawber Willis Gates II TV series (1 episode: "Micawber Meets the Americans"), (final television appearance)

Theatre appearances[edit]

Year Title Role Theatre Notes
1970 Player Piano Kroner Almost Free
1971 Threepenny Opera Walt Prince of Wales Theatre/Piccadilly Theatre With Vanessa Redgrave and Barbara Windsor
1972 Bakke’s Night of Fame Cell Guard Shaw Theatre
1973/74 The Front Page Schwartz National Theatre
1974 Wind in the branches of the Sassafras Watermill
1974 Guys and Dolls Big Jule Birmingham Rep
1974 Grand Manoeuvres Général Picon National Theatre
1974 The Freeway National Theatre
1974/75 Robin Hood Little John Birmingham Rep
1975 Al Capone Capone Watermill
1975 Sea Change Traverse Theatre
1980 Happy Birthday Wanda Ryan Bush Theatre
1980 Geography of a Horse Dreamer Father Royal Court Theatre with Bob Hoskins
1982 Daughter’s of Men Hampstead Theatre With Frances de la Tour
1981 Private Dick Shamey Newcastle Playhouse
1986 Insignificance Senator Theatre Royal, Plymouth
1990 Bus Stop Will Masters Watford Palace Theatre/Lyric Theatre, London With Jerry Hall
1987 After the Fall Chairman National Theatre
1993 The Rose Tattoo Salesman Peter Hall Company /Playhouse Theatre
1994 Conversations With My Father Scarborough Theatre/The Old Vic
1998 The Madras House Edinburgh Lyceum & Lyric Theatre, London
1999 Small Craft Warnings The Pleasance, Edinburgh


  1. ^ Bill Bailey on IMDb
  2. ^ Fandango movie website this site misattributes his work.
  3. ^ a b c Author biography in Taping Whores 2004
  4. ^ Life magazine, 23.12.68
  5. ^ Newsweek 8.9.68

External links[edit]