Bill Lancaster

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Bill Lancaster
Bill Lancaster 1967.JPG
Lancaster in The Big Valley (1967)
William Henry Lancaster

(1947-11-17)November 17, 1947
DiedJanuary 4, 1997(1997-01-04) (aged 49)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeWestwood Memorial Park
OccupationScreenwriter, actor
Years active1967–1982
Kip "Kippie" Raleigh Kovacs (m. 1965)
Parent(s)Burt Lancaster
Norma Anderson
RelativesErnie Kovacs father-in-law

William Henry Lancaster (November 17, 1947[2] – January 4, 1997) was an American screenwriter and actor.

Early life[edit]

He was born November 17, 1947, in Los Angeles, California, the son of Burt Lancaster (1913–1994) and Norma Anderson (1917–1988). He contracted polio at an early age, leaving one of his legs shorter than the other.


Lancaster, a lookalike for his famous father at the time, guest-starred in an episode of the television series The Big Valley in 1967. In 1973, Lancaster played the role of "King", the boyfriend of a murdered college coed in The Midnight Man, a mystery film starring and co-directed by his father, released in 1974.

Lancaster's best known work is his adapted screenplay for John Carpenter's The Thing.[3] He also penned the original screenplays for The Bad News Bears films.[4]

In 1982, he worked on a first draft script of a adaptation of Stephen King's novel of Firestarter for Carpenter to direct. But months later of the same year, Carpenter hired Bill Phillips to work on another draft that resembled Lancaster's draft. When The Thing bombed, Universal replaced Carpenter with Mark L. Lester.[5]

Lancaster is featured in the documentary The Thing: Terror Takes Shape, found on the collector's edition DVD of The Thing. Lancaster states that he did not think Who Goes There? was a "great" story, but that he responded to the tale's sense of claustrophobia and paranoia. The documentary is dedicated to him.[citation needed]


Lancaster died at the age of 49 of a heart attack. His body was buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, where his father's ashes were scattered.

Personal life[edit]

Lancaster was married to Kippie Kovacs, daughter of the comedian Ernie Kovacs.[6] They had one child, daughter Keigh Kristin.[7]



  1. ^ Welkos, Robert W. (June 12, 2005). "Pursuing a legacy". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ California Births 1905–1995
  3. ^ Canby, Vincent (June 25, 1982). "The Thing, Horror and Science Fiction". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-04.
  4. ^ "Bill Lancaster". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Abrams, Simon; Seitz, Matt Zoller (October 13, 2016). "The Men Who Were The Thing Look Back on a Modern Horror Classic". LA Weekly.
  6. ^ "People in the News – Took No Chances". Reading Eagle. 14 December 1965. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  7. ^ Keigh Kristin Lancaster Obituary -

External links[edit]