Bill Daily

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For other people with a similar name, see William Daily
Bill Daily
Bill Daily I dream of Jeannie 1969.JPG
Daily as Roger Healey, 1969
Born (1927-08-30) August 30, 1927 (age 88)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.[1]
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1952–present
Spouse(s) Patricia Anderson (1949–76; 2 children)
Vivian Sanchez (1980–??)
Becky Daily (1993–2010)

Bill Daily (born August 30, 1927) is an American comedian and dramatic actor, and a veteran of many television sitcoms. He is best known for playing astronaut Roger Healey on I Dream of Jeannie and commercial airline navigator Howard Borden on The Bob Newhart Show.

Early life and career[edit]

Daily's father died when Bill was young, and he was raised by his mother and other family members. In 1939, Daily and his family moved to Chicago, where he spent the rest of his youth. Upon leaving Lane Technical High School, Daily left home to try to carve out a life as a musician, playing bass with jazz bands in numerous clubs across the Midwest.

Daily was drafted into the United States Army and served in the Korean War with an artillery unit, later being transferred to an entertainment unit.

It was in his traveling-musician days that Daily began performing stand-up and gradually began playing some of the bigger clubs in the [country. After graduating from the Goodman Theatre School, Daily worked for the NBC television station in Chicago, WMAQ, as an announcer and floor manager. He eventually became a staff director.[1] Daily stated that preparing for a Chicago-area Emmy Award telecast, he asked a young Bob Newhart to come up with a routine about press agents which resulted in the routine "Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue".[2]

Television roles[edit]

Daily played guest spots on My Mother the Car, The Farmer's Daughter and Bewitched. Veteran sitcom writer Sidney Sheldon noticed Daily and hired him for a supporting role on I Dream of Jeannie.

The part on Jeannie was that of a United States Army test pilot, Roger Healey,[3] best friend of Larry Hagman's Tony Nelson. While Daily enjoyed his work on Jeannie, Hagman decidedly did not. Daily was witness to multiple Hagman tantrums on the set, but he and Barbara Eden stood behind Hagman, citing a substance problem and the progressively poorer scripts on Jeannie as the source of Hagman's fits.[citation needed]

In 1972, two years after Jeannie was canceled, Daily was back at work and back in another aviator's uniform, in what is perhaps his signature role: Howard Borden in The Bob Newhart Show. Borden, a commercial-airline navigator who later became a co-pilot, lived across the hall from Bob Newhart's Bob Hartley character, and would frequently pop into the Hartleys' apartment to borrow things, mooch a meal, or have the Hartleys take care of his son when he had custody of him.

Daily would also occasionally serve as a panelist on the 1970s CBS game show The Match Game. After Richard Dawson's departure, Daily was a semi-regular for the final three years of the show's CBS and syndicated run.

For the two years that followed The Bob Newhart Show, Daily returned to stand-up, but in 1980, after years of making a living as a second banana, Daily was offered his own show. Called Small & Frye, the show featured Daily as a neurotic doctor; it lasted only three months before being canceled. In 1988, Daily tried his hand again at starring roles, this time as another doctor on the sitcom Starting From Scratch. It fared only mildly better than Frye, and was canceled after one season. Daily's most notable post-Newhart role was another supporting one, that of Larry the psychiatrist on the cult favorite ALF (1986); Jack Riley appeared as one of his patients, unnamed but clearly reprising Elliot Carlin from The Bob Newhart Show. ALF also claimed to have learned all he knew about psychology from watching the earlier series.

During the 1980s–1990s, Daily reprised his I Dream of Jeannie role of Roger Healey in two made-for-TV reunion movies: I Dream of Jeannie... Fifteen Years Later (1985) and I Still Dream of Jeannie (1991). In 1990, he reunited with Bob Newhart as a new, overbearing neighbor in the Newhart episode "Good Neighbor Sam". Also in 1991, he reprised the role of Howard Borden in The Bob Newhart Show: 19th Anniversary, which aired in February of that year. In 1997, he was a guest star on Caroline in the City.

Bill Daily at the 2011 Supanova Pop Culture Expo

In 1987, he was named director of the New Mexico Film Commission.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Daily married his first wife, Patricia Anderson, in 1949. In 1976, the couple divorced. Daily has two adopted children, a son, Patrick, and a daughter, Kimberley. His son is a key grip and stunt pilot in Hollywood, and his daughter is a retired teacher in Colorado. In 1980 he married Vivian Sanchez, with whom he traveled on the road performing Lover's Leap for two years, and with whom he had one child, Becca. He later divorced Sanchez.

In 1993, he married Becky Daily. The couple remained together until her death in 2010. Though retired, he still does some comedy and the occasional TV guest appearances. From 2006 to February 2009, he was a guest host on radio station KBQI, 107.9, in Albuquerque, on Thursday mornings.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Bill Daily's Gemlike Assists to Make 'Dream of Jeannie' a Hit". Schenectedy Gazette. October 19, 1968. p. 13. 
  2. ^ initially inserted under the claim of being from a "recent" PBS interview
  3. ^ is often erroneously said to be in the U.S. Air Force, but the military uniform he wears is U.S. Army, as indicated by its color, trouser leg braid, and insignia – specifically, the Corps of Engineers lapel brass. While NASA astronauts up through the Apollo era included Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps officers, as well as a smattering of civilians, the first Army astronaut was not selected by NASA until 1978 for the space shuttle program (more than a dozen years after the pilot episode had aired). In fact, on the 1969 Jeannie episode 'Around the World in 80 Blinks,' Richard Mulligan portrays an astronaut named 'Commander Wingate'; commander is a rank in the U.S. Navy
  4. ^ Trott, William C. (June 1, 1987). "People in the News". The Bryan Times. p. 8. 

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