Tony Bill with Frances Lee McCain in 1977
Gerald Anthony Bill
August 23, 1940
|Other names||Gerald Bill|
|Occupation||Actor, director, producer|
(m. 1962; div. 1969)
Helen Buck Barlett (m. 1971)
|Awards||Academy Award for Best Picture (1974) - The Sting (shared with Michael Phillips and Julia Phillips)|
Gerard Anthony "Tony" Bill (born August 23, 1940) is an American actor, producer, and director. He produced the 1973 movie The Sting, for which he shared the Academy Award for Best Picture with Michael Phillips and Julia Phillips. As an actor, Bill has had supporting roles in films including Come Blow Your Horn (1963), Shampoo (1975), Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985), and Less Than Zero (1987). He made his directorial debut with My Bodyguard (1980), and has since directed movies like Six Weeks (1982), Five Corners (1987), Crazy People (1990), Untamed Heart (1993), and Flyboys (2006). He often cast Dudley Moore in his films.
Bill began his career as an actor in the 1960s, first appearing on screen as Frank Sinatra's ingenuous younger brother in Come Blow Your Horn (1963). That same year, he also appeared in Soldier in the Rain starring Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen. Thereafter, he was cast as Chris Herrod in the 1965 episode "An Elephant Is Like a Tree" of the NBC education drama series, Mr. Novak, starring James Franciscus.
Bill specialized in juveniles and young leads. In the mid-1960s he made two appearances in the BBC's Play of the Month anthology series, he took the lead in Lee Oswald Assassin and played Biff to Rod Steiger's Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman (both 1966).
Often his characters were likeable but none-too-bright. Other acting credits include Marriage on the Rocks (1965), None but the Brave (1965), You're a Big Boy Now (1966), Never a Dull Moment (1968), How to Steal the World (1968), Ice Station Zebra (1968), Castle Keep (1969), Flap (1970), Shampoo (1975), Are You in the House Alone? (1978), Heart Beat (1980), The Little Dragons (1980), Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), and Less Than Zero (1987).
Bill continued to act in television movies, miniseries, and guest spots though with decreasing frequency as he segued into directing. In 1965 Bill guest starred in "An Echo of Bugles," the opening episode of Rod Serling's Western series The Loner, playing a hot-headed young bully who taunts a Confederate veteran and challenges series star Lloyd Bridges to a duel. He appeared in the 1966 episode "Chaff in the Wind" of the long running western The Virginian. He was then cast in 1967 episode "The Predators" of NBC's western series The Road West starring Barry Sullivan. He also starred in a 1968 episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. titled "The Seven Wonders of the World Affair, Parts 1 and 2." He was also featured on an ABC movie called Haunts of the Very Rich (1972), and appeared in the 1977 miniseries Washington: Behind Closed Doors.
In 1980, Bill directed his first film, My Bodyguard. From there he went on to direct Six Weeks (1982), Five Corners (1987), Crazy People (1990), A Home of Our Own (1993), Untamed Heart (1993), Flyboys (2006) which Bill claims was one of the first features shot entirely with digital cameras. For television, Bill directed Truman Capote's One Christmas (1994), Harlan County War (2000), and Pictures of Hollis Woods (2007), among others.
In 2009, Bill published the book Movie Speak: How to Talk Like You Belong on a Film Set. The book traces the etymology of the language of the movie set and is filled out with stories from Bill's career in film.
Tony Bill married Toni Gray in December 1962. They had a son, Peter Bill, born 1964 and a daughter, Francesca. Currently, he is married to his second wife, the former Helen Buck Bartlett, his producer/partner in Barnstorm Films in Venice. The couple has two daughters, Madeline and Daphne.
- Los Angeles Times article – Hollywood Lingo from Tony Bill Retrieved 2012-2-12
- Bob Thomas, "An Overnight Success' Actually Fits Tony Bill" The Evening Independent (June 12, 1963), p.11