William Herman Katt (born Herman August Wilhelm Katt; May 15, 1915 – September 21, 1992), known as Bill Williams, was an American television and film actor. He is best known for his starring role in the early television series The Adventures of Kit Carson, which aired in syndication from 1951 to 1955.
Life and career
Williams was born in Brooklyn, New York to German immigrant parents. He attended the Pratt Institute, and became a professional swimmer, performing in underwater shows. He landed a walk-on role as a theater usher in King Kong (1933). He enlisted in the United States Army during World War II, but was discharged before the end and became an actor. His credited debut was in The Blue Room in 1944, using the professional name Bill Williams. His first starring role was opposite Susan Hayward in Deadline at Dawn (1946), and it made him a star.
Williams appeared in ten films before he landed the lead role in television's The Adventures of Kit Carson, which ran for 105 episodes. When the series ended, Williams' star power faded. It was revived in 1957 when he co-starred with Betty White on television in Date with the Angels. Williams portrayed Federal agent Martin Flaherty in The Scarface Mob (1959), the pilot for ABC's The Untouchables. However, when the series was accepted, the role went to Jerry Paris. Williams turned down the lead in Sea Hunt in 1958, believing that an underwater show would not work on television. Lloyd Bridges accepted the part and turned it into a hit. Williams did star as a former Navy frogman in Assignment: Underwater, which ran for just one season. He played a variety of roles on Perry Mason, in which his wife Barbara Hale co-starred as Raymond Burr's secretary Della Street. In a 1962 episode, "The Case of the Crippled Cougar," he played defendant Mike Preston. In 1963, he was murder victim Floyd Grant in "The Case of the Bluffing Blast." In 1965 Williams played murderer Charles Shaw in "The Case of the Murderous Mermaid," and was murderer Burt Payne in "The Case of the 12th Wildcat". Williams appeared with his son in a final season episode of Ironside, bringing him together again with Raymond Burr. He also made numerous guest appearances on television and worked in low-budget science fiction films until his retirement.
Williams married actress Barbara Hale June 22, 1946. They met during the filming of West of the Pecos and had two daughters, Jodi and Juanita, and a son, actor William Katt.
Bill Williams died of a brain tumor at age 77 in 1992 and is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills).
For his contributions to television, Bill Williams has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is at 6161 Hollywood Blvd.
Star of his own television series
Multiple appearances on a television series
- Well of Anger (1955)
- Angels in the Sky (1956)
- The Hastings Secret (1955) as Bill Twining
- Project 44 (1956) as Dr. Arnold Bryan
- The Mind Machine (1956) as Dr. Alan Cathcart
- Jupitron (1956) as Dr. John Barlow
- Killer Tree (1957) as Paul Cameron
- Texas John Slaughter:
- The Man From Bitter Creek (1959) as Paul
- The Slaughter Trail (1959) as Paul
- Gallagher Goes West
- Tragedy on the Trail (1967) as Joe Carlson
- Trial by Terror (1967) as Joe Carlson
- Chester, Yesterday’s Horse (1973) as Ben Kincaid
- The Flight of the Grey Wolf, Parts 1 and 2 (1976) as The Sheriff
- The Kathy Munson Story (1956) as Donald Abbott
- Millionaire Martha Halloran (1959) as Clint Halloran
- The Untouchables, Parts 1 and 2 (1959) as Martin Flaherty
- The Case of the Crippled Cougar (1962) as Mike Preston
- The Case of the Bluffing Blast (1963) as Floyd Grant
- The Case of the Murderous Mermaid (1965) as Charles Shaw
- The Case of the 12th Wildcat (1965) as Burt Payne
- Fine Finny Fiends (1966) as Multimillionaire
- Multimillionaire-Batman Makes the Scenes (1966) as Multimillionaire
- Climb the Mountain Slowly (1964) as Vince
- Lassie and the Buffalo (1966) as Jed Bingham
- The Runaways (1968) as David Warren
- The Lost Man (1974) as Crawford
- Nightmare Trip (1972) as Lt. Dacker
- The Rolling Y (1975) as Sheriff Callahan
- Pick-Up (1971) as William Taylor (his wife, Barbara Hale, also appeared in the episode)
- Routine Patrol: The Drugstore Cowboys (1974) as Fred Wheeler
- Three Hours to Kill (1973) as Captain Fin Whitfield
- Get Ryker (1973) as Captain Fin Whitfield
- Something Less Than a Man (1974) as Captain Johnson
- The End Game (1974) as Lt. Graumann
- Sarah Who? (1976) as Captain
Miscellaneous television appearances
- Adventures in Jazz (1949) as Host
- The Bigelow Theatre, Make Your Bed (1951)
- Dragnet, The Big Pug (1954)
- The Red Skelton Show, Deadeye vs. The Lone Ranger (1955) as Kit Carson
- Studio 57, Young Couples Only (1955) as Rick Thompson
- Damon Runyon Theater, Miracle Jones (1956) as Andy Gubbins
- M Squad, Girl Lost (1958) as Jerry Langdon
- Yancy Derringer, Ticket to Natchez (1958) as Duke Winslow
- General Electric Theater, The Flying Wife (1959) as Stewart Davidson
- Bachelor Father, East Meets West (1959) as Rock Randall
- Men into Space, Asteroid (1959) as Dr. Stacy Croydon
- Laramie, Man of God (1959) as Charlie Root
- The Investigators, New Sound For the Blues (1961)
- Hawaiian Eye, Location Shooting (1962) as Norman Ayres
- Lawman, Get Out of Town (1962)
- Target: The Corruptors!, Goodbye Children (1962) as Walter Parker
- 77 Sunset Strip, The Snow Job Caper (1962) as Steve Moran
- Law of the Lawless (1964) as Silas Miller
- Rawhide, The Lost Herd (1964)
- The Wild Wild West, Night of the Casual Killer (1965) as Marshal Kirby
- Dragnet 1967, The Big Frustration (1967) as Sgt. Bill Riddle
- Daniel Boone, The Spanish Horse (1967)
- Insight, A Thousand Red Flowers (1969) as Pop
- Marcus Welby, M.D., To Carry the Sun in a Golden Cup (1970) as Lynch
- O'Hara, U.S. Treasury, Operation Smokescreen (1972) as Willoughby
- Emergency!, Body Language (1973) as Pete
- Dusty's Trail, Then There Were Seven (1973) as The Sheriff
- Gunsmoke, Talbott (1973) as Red
- The Streets of San Francisco, The Unicorn (1973) as Burt Logan
- The Quest, Seminole Negro Indian Scouts (1976)
- B. J. and the Bear, Odyssey of the Shady Truth (1979) as Seth
- 240-Robert, Stuntman (1979) as Harry Phillips
- ^ a b Wright, Gilson (April 15, 1973). "Barbara Hale is "my kind of people" says writer". The Journal News. p. 12. Retrieved September 4, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- ^ York, Cal (September 1962). "Raymond Burr Saved My Marriage". TV Radio Mirror. 58 (4): 62–64. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- ^ "Bill Williams, 77, Actor Who Played Kit Carson on TV". The New York Times. 1992-09-25. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- ^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 50988-50995). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.