William Boyett

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William Boyett
William Boyett.jpg
Boyett in a 1959 Public Safety Council video
Born (1927-01-03)January 3, 1927
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
Died December 29, 2004(2004-12-29) (aged 77)
Mission Hills, California, U.S.
Cause of death Pneumonia and kidney failure
Occupation Actor
Years active 1951–1998
Children One daughter, one son

William Boyett (January 3, 1927 – December 29, 2004)[1] was an American actor best known for his work as the low-key but authoritative Sergeant William 'Mac' MacDonald on the police drama Adam-12.

Early years[edit]

Boyett was born in Akron, Ohio, and lived there until the 1940s, when he moved with his family to Los Angeles, California. He won a Shakespeare competition in high school which led to acting jobs in radio.[2]

Military service[edit]

Boyett served in the Navy during World War II and afterward performed on the stage in both New York City and Los Angeles.


Boyett was often cast as a law-enforcement officer, and portrayed that role in such diverse series as Gang Busters, The Man Behind the Badge, I Led 3 Lives, Highway Patrol, M Squad, The Detectives, Sea Hunt, Batman and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.[3]

Adam-12 executive producer Jack Webb selected him for the role of Sgt. "Mac" MacDonald after several performances (such as playing Sgt. Sam Hunter)[4] in both iterations of Webb's Dragnet. (Boyett can also be seen uncredited as a Baliff in the 1954 movie version.)[3] Boyett stayed with the series for its entire 1968–1975 run. Boyett also co-starred with Broderick Crawford in 64 episodes of Highway Patrol as either Officer Johnson or Sergeant Williams.[3]

He also made eight guest appearances on CBS's Perry Mason throughout the series' nine-year run, mostly in law-enforcement roles. In 1962, he played slain police officer Otto Norden in "The Case of the Hateful Hero". The defendant was his rookie partner James Anderson played by Richard Davalos, cousin of series regular Lt. Anderson played by Wesley Lau. He also played a corporate executive, Buck Osborn, in the 1961 episode, "The Case of the Renegade Refugee". In the 1961 My Three Sons episode, "Fire Watch", he was a Forest Ranger.

Boyett appeared in a number of television programs, such as Official Detective,[5] Navy Log,[6] Laramie, Tales of the Texas Rangers, I Spy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (uncredited; "The Secret Sceptre Affair" from 1965), Family Affair, Fantasy Island, The Rockford Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The A-Team, Knight Rider, Whirlybirds, Ripcord, Murphy Brown and Night Court. He also appeared in numerous episodes of Emergency! as Chief McConnikee of Los Angeles County Fire Department's Battalion 14.



Boyett also acted in several motion pictures, such as The Hidden (1987) and The Rocketeer (1991).[2] Boyett earned much praise for The Hidden as a hospital patient named Jonathan P. Miller, possessed by an alien being with a taste for red Ferraris and rock and roll music. Boyett also played Battalion Fire Chief McConnike on the 1970s series Emergency!. He also appeared in a short public safety film entitled "Last Clear Chance" as Patrolman Hal Jackson. Other small roles as a police officer include the crime dramas Vice Squad (1953) with Edward G. Robinson and Shield For Murder (1954) with Edmond O'Brien.


Boyett died December 29, 2004 in Mission Hills, California, at age 77, of complications from pneumonia and kidney failure. He left behind a wife, two brothers, a son and daughter, and two granddaughters.[8][9]


  1. ^ Aaker, Everett (2006). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6409-8. P. 63.
  2. ^ a b "William Boyett". Pennsylvania, Indiana. The Indiana Gazette. March 22, 1986. p. 4. Retrieved April 6, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ a b c imdb.com
  4. ^ "(TV listing)". Connecticut, Naugatuck. Naugatuck Daily News. January 2, 1969. p. 11. Retrieved April 6, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ CTVA 'Classic TV Archive-US Crime Series'
  6. ^ "'The Gimmick' Is 'Navy Log' Drama". Ohio, Coshocton. The Coshocton Democrat. January 11, 1956. p. 4. Retrieved April 6, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  7. ^ Internet Movie Database - William Boyette
  8. ^ KESQ.com Palm Springs, Coachella Valley - Weather, News, Sports: Our Apologies Archived January 15, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ W. Boyett, 77; Veteran Stage, Television Actor, Los Angeles Times, January 1, 2005 (retrieved October 17, 2011)

Further reading[edit]

  • Associated Press (January 3, 2005). Actor William Boyett, 77, Akron native, dies in L.A. Akron Beacon Journal, p. B6.

External links[edit]