- For other people with a similar name, see William Daily
Daily as Roger Healey, 1969
August 30, 1927 |
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Patricia Anderson (1949–76; 2 children)
Vivian Sanchez (1980–??)
Becky Daily (1993–2010 (her death))
Bill Daily (born August 30, 1927) is an American actor, comedian and a veteran of many television sitcoms. He is 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
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. He 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. 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".
Daily appeared in guest spots on My Mother the Car, The Farmer's Daughter and Bewitched. Veteran sitcom writer Sidney Sheldon liked Daily's work and hired him for a supporting role on I Dream of Jeannie.
In 1972, two years after Jeannie was canceled, Daily was back on TV 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. Daily, a lifelong lover of magic, made three syndicated specials introducing young magicians called Bill Daily's Hocus-Pocus Gang which aired in 1982 and 1983. In 1988, Daily tried his hand again at starring roles, this time as another doctor on the sitcom Starting From Scratch. It fared slightly better than Frye, and was canceled after one season. Daily's most notable post-Newhart role was another supporting character, that of Larry the psychiatrist on the cult favorite ALF (1986); Jack Riley appeared as an unnamed patient, clearly reprising Elliot Carlin from The Bob Newhart Show. ALF 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.
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 and Sanchez later divorced.
In 1993, he married Becky Daily. The couple remained together until her death in 2010. Although mostly retired, he still does some live comedy and the occasional TV guest appearance. From 2006 to February 2009, he was a guest host on radio station KBQI, 107.9, in Albuquerque, on Thursday mornings.
- "Bill Daily's Gemlike Assists to Make 'Dream of Jeannie' a Hit". Schenectedy Gazette. October 19, 1968. p. 13.
- Trott, William C. (June 1, 1987). "People in the News". The Bryan Times. p. 8.
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