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Aug 19, 2012, 2:59 PM
TV character actor William Windom, winner of an Emmy for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for portraying John Monroe on the 1969-70 sitcom My World and Welcome to It, died on Thursday at his home in Woodacre, California, north of San Francisco. He was 88.
"Sonic the Hedgehog" actor William Windom dies, 88
The cause was congestive heart failure, said his wife, Patricia.
Windom voiced Uncle Chuck and the Cat in the 1993-94 DiC Entertainment series Sonic the Hedgehog. He was also "Cutter" Kling in 1987's Sky Commanders, a 13-episode segment of The Futuristic World of Hanna-Barbera.
He was Puppetino in the 1987 Filmation theatrical movie Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night. In 1992, Windom guested as Ethan Clarke in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Prophecy of Doom," and as Uncle Bob in the Goof Troop episode "Major Goof."
Windom was a member of the voice cast of DiC's Camp Candy (1989), as well as Pink Panther and Sons (1984) and the 1985 incarnation of The Jetsons.
Windom's long career won him critical acclaim and audience approval, although he preferred to describe it as "95% approval a a few arrows along the way."
Born on September 28, 1923 in Manhattan, Windom began his acting career in New York City in 1946 (as a member of the American Repertory Theatre), where he remained through 1961. He appeared in 18 Broadway plays and five off-Broadway productions, including Henry VIII, Twelfth Night, Androcles and the Lion, Time Remembered, Candie, The World of Susie Wong and Come Blow Your Horn.
My World and Welcome To It was based on James Thurberís humorous essays and fantastic cartoons.
Windom also starred in the TV series The Farmer's Daughter (1963-65).
He appeared in the Twilight Zone episodes "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" in 1961 and "Miniature" in 1963.
Beginning in 1985, Windom appeared in over 50 episodes of Murder, She Wrote as the leading physician of Cabot Cove, Maine and a close friend of Jessica Fletcher, the lead character played by Angela Lansbury.
His other television credits include guest-starring roles in episodes of countless series, including Dallas, All In The Family, Flamingo Road, Night Gallery, Hotel, Highway To Heaven, Hardcastle and McCormick and Parenthood. He also portrayed Commodore Decker in the Star Trek episode "The Doomsday Machine."
He played the president in 1971's Escape From the Planet of the Apes. His other feature films included Sommersby with Jodie Foster, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, To Kill A Mockingbird, For Love or Money, Thurber I and II and Ernie Pyle I and II in 1976. During the past 25 years, he gave hundreds of these performances to audiences throughout the United States, Hong Kong, England and Canada.
Of Windom as Thurber, the Washington Post said: "The Thurber show ranks with Holbrook's Mark Twain and Whitmore's Will Rogers." London's Daily Mail thought it "an oasis of laughter and civilized stimulation," and the Los Angeles Times said "it's as if the water-clear simplicity of Ernie Pyle's could only have had Bill Windom for a storyteller.... Windom has the gift of picking the terrible plainness of living and bringing it forward to say, 'See? Here's what we are, every one of us. And do you know, we're not bad.'"
Windom's other loves included chess, tennis and sailing. Though not one for accolades, he did like the fact that his name was used in the New York Times crossword puzzle and that a game of his was printed in Chess Life and the Los Angeles Times. He owned seven different small boats since 1953 and won numerous sailing trophies.
Several years ago, Windom bought a small island for $1.00 in Windom, Minnesota, so named for his great-grandfather, a Congressman, Senator and member of Abraham's Lincoln's Kitchen Cabinet, who later became Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents James A. Garfield and Benjamin Harrison.
The island's a wildlife refuge, and Windom admitted that he was "open to any other islands at or near that price."
Windom lived in Northern California with his fifth wife, the former Patricia Veronica Tunder, and youngest child, son Rebel, and near his three grown children.
William Windom married his latest wife in 1975 and had his youngest child with her. His four previous marriages -- to Carol Keyser, Barbara Joyce, Barbara Goetz and Jacqulyn Hopkins -- ended in divorce.
He is also survived by three children from his earlier marriages, Rachel, Heather and Hope, and by four grandchildren.
[Via New York Times -- www.nytimes.com/2012/08/20/arts/television/william-windom-everyman-actor-is-dead-at-88.html]
(This post was edited by eminovitz on Aug 19, 2012, 4:46 PM)