Robert B. Williams (actor)

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Robert B. Williams
RobertBWilliams.1955.jpg
Williams in the 1955 film, Revenge of the Creature
Born(1904-09-23)September 23, 1904
Glencoe, Illinois, United States
DiedJune 17, 1978(1978-06-17) (aged 73)
Orange County, California, United States
OccupationActor
Years active1935–77

Robert B. Williams (September 23, 1904 – June 17, 1978), also known simply as Robert Williams, was an American character actor from the 1940s through the 1970s. During his 37-year career, he appeared in over 150 feature films, as well as numerous film shorts, television films, and television shows. He did not break into the film business until he was in his 30s.

Career[edit]

His first big screen appearance was in the film short Mixed Policies in 1936. After several roles as an extra in films, he made his feature debut in a small role in the 1941 film How Green Was My Valley, starring Walter Pidgeon and Maureen O'Hara.[1] During the 1940s he appeared in some notable films in small supporting roles, including the 1947 film noir, Lady in the Lake, starring Robert Montgomery;[2] Henry Hathaway's Call Northside 777 (1948), starring James Stewart, Richard Conte, and Lee J. Cobb;[3] It Happens Every Spring (1949), starring Ray Milland, Jean Peters, and Paul Douglas;[4] and the classic musical On the Town (1949), starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, Jules Munshin, and Vera-Ellen.[5]

In the 1950s, he appeared in over 80 films, including such notable pictures as: Father's Little Dividend (1951), the sequel to the 1950 hit, Father of the Bride, starring Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor, and Joan Bennett;[6] Magnificent Obsession (1954), starring Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman;[7] 1952's Singin' in the Rain, starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds;[8] the classic teenage drama, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), starring James Dean and Natalie Wood;[9] the biopic The Spirit of St. Louis, starring James Stewart;[10] Desire Under the Elms (1958), based on the Eugene O'Neill play of the same name, starring Sophia Loren, Anthony Perkins, and Burl Ives;[11] the war classic, Pork Chop Hill, starring Gregory Peck;[12] the Alfred Hitchcock classic, North by Northwest (1959), starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and James Mason;[13] and the 1959 romantic comedy, Pillow Talk, directed by Michael Gordon, and starring Rock Hudson and Doris Day.[14] Williams began to appear on the small screen in the 1950s as well, with his first performance on an episode of the short-lived series Dangerous Assignment. He continued to make guest appearances on numerous television shows throughout the decade, including Perry Mason, The Millionaire, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, and The Lone Ranger.

In the 1960s, Williams focused more on the small screen, appearing in only nine films during the decade, including: Cimarron (1960), starring Glenn Ford, Maria Schell, and Anne Baxter;[15] Sunrise at Campobello (1960), starring Greer Garson and Ralph Bellamy;[16] and Hang 'Em High (1968), starring Clint Eastwood.[17] His small screen activity included guest shots on such television shows as Dr. Kildare, Rawhide, The Big Valley, The Wild Wild West, Lassie, Mission Impossible, Bonanza, The Andy Griffith Show, Gunsmoke; Williams had small recurring roles in The New Phil Silvers Show and Hazel. In 1969 Williams appeared as the Freight Agent on the TV Series The Virginian in the episode titled "Journey to Scathelock." In that episode his name credit was shown as Robert Williams.

In the 1970s he appeared in two films; his final big screen appearance was in Brian De Palma's 1972 comedy Get to Know Your Rabbit. His television work included guest shots on shows such as The Partridge Family, The Streets of San Francisco, The Rockford Files, Police Woman, and Marcus Welby, M.D.. His final acting job was in the recurring role of Barth Gimble, Sr. in Norman Lear's talk show parody Fernwood Tonight starring Martin Mull in 1977. Williams died on June 17, 1978, and was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

Filmography[edit]

(Per AFI database)[18][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How Green Was My Valley". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  2. ^ "Lady in the Lake". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  3. ^ "Call Northside 777". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  4. ^ "It Happens Every Spring". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  5. ^ "On the Town". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  6. ^ "Father's Little Dividend". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  7. ^ "Magnificent Obsession". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  8. ^ "Singin' in the Rain". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  9. ^ "Rebel Without a Cause". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  10. ^ "The Spirit of St. Louis". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  11. ^ "Desire Under the Elms". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  12. ^ "Pork Chop Hill". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  13. ^ "North by Northwest". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  14. ^ "Pillow Talk". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  15. ^ "Cimarron". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  16. ^ "Sunrise at Campobello". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  17. ^ "Hang 'Em High". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  18. ^ "Robert B. Williams". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  19. ^ "Robert Williams". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  20. ^ "Lucy Gallant". American Film Institute. Retrieved January 14, 1955. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links[edit]