William O'Malley (Jesuit)

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William J. O'Malley
Born William J. O'Malley
(1931-08-18) August 18, 1931 (age 87)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Occupation Priest, actor, teacher, author
Known for The Exorcist (film), The Fifth Week, Meeting the Living God, Help My Unbelief, You'll Never Be Younger and other books

The Rev. William J. O'Malley, S.J. (born August 18, 1931) is an American author and actor. He was born in Buffalo, New York and attended Canisius High School there.[1] He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1953.

O'Malley taught Advanced Placement (AP) English and theology for 22 years at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, New York.[2] He also directed the school's musical and drama productions.[3]

He taught theology, AP English and later an elective called The Problem of God/Morality/Marriage at Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx until June 2012. He was an associate professor of theology at Fordham University and later a professor of theology and the humanities at Seattle University.

O'Malley is best known for his portrayal of Father Dyer in The Exorcist, for which he was also a technical advisor. According to one source, he was the first Catholic priest to portray a priest in a commercial motion picture.[1] He has also appeared in the E! True Hollywood Story of the Curse of The Exorcist. He has directed 99 plays and musicals with students and adults.

As an author, O'Malley has written 37 published books, including Choosing to Be Catholic, Why Be Catholic?, God: The Oldest Question, Meeting the Living God, Building Your Own Conscience, and The Fifth Week. His book, Help My Unbelief, won a Catholic Book Award in 2009.[4] His book, You'll Never Be Younger: A Good News Spirituality for Those Over 60 won a Catholic Press Association Book Award in 2016.[5]

On stage in Rochester he appeared as Jim, the gentleman caller, in a production of The Glass Menagerie at the Theater at the Tracks[3][6][7] and as the cleric in the Rochester Community Players production of The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene.[6][7]

Awards and honorary degrees[edit]

In 1990, O'Malley received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Le Moyne College. In 2007, he received the F. Sadlier Dinger Award from educational publisher William H. Sadlier, Inc. in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the ministry of religious education in America, for which he received three Best Article Awards from the Catholic Press Association.


  1. ^ a b Interview with Bernard Drew, Gannett News Service movie critic, published in the Rochester Times Union in 1972; clip found in the Vol. 28 of the Scrapbooks of the Rochester Community Players, Local History Department, Rochester NY Public Library
  2. ^ Bob McCabe, The Exorcist: Out of the Shadows: The Full Story of the Film, pp. 39-40 (Omnibus Press, 1999) ISBN 978-0-7119-7509-5. Found at Google Books. Accessed December 20, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Rochester Times Union, January 18, 1972, Peter B. Taub column
  4. ^ Jesuit News, September 16, 2009. Found at Company Magazine. Accessed December 20, 2010.
  5. ^ Found at Association web site. Accessed July 27, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Dec. 5, 1971, pg. 5C
  7. ^ a b Rochester Times Union, February 12, 1972, Theater Critic Hamilton B. Allen's column

External links[edit]