William Windom (actor)

For the United States Secretary of the Treasury (and this actor's great-grandfather), see William Windom.
William Windom

Born (1923-09-28)September 28, 1923
New York, New York, U.S.
Died August 16, 2012(2012-08-16) (aged 88)
Woodacre, Marin County
California, U.S.
Cause of death Congestive heart failure
Occupation Actor
Years active 19502006
Spouse(s) Carol Keyser (19471955)
Barbara Joyce (19581963)
Barbara Goetz (19631968)
Jacqulyn Hopkins (19691974)
Patricia Tunder (19752012; his death)
Children Rachel, Heather, Juliet, Hope, Rebel, Russell
Parent(s) Paul Windom (father); Isobel Wells Peckham (mother)
Awards 1970 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

William Windom (September 28, 1923  August 16, 2012) was an American actor. He was perhaps best known for his work on television, including two episodes of The Twilight Zone. He portrayed Glen Morley, a fictional congressman from Minnesota, a role based on Windom's own Republican great-grandfather and namesake in the ABC sitcom The Farmer's Daughter, co-starring Inger Stevens as his beautiful young housekeeper.

Windom also achieved fame as the character of cartoonist John Monroe on the sitcom My World and Welcome to It, for which he won an Emmy Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series; as Commodore Matt Decker, commander of the doomed USS Constellation in the Star Trek episode "The Doomsday Machine;" the character Randy Lane in the Night Gallery episode "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar;" perhaps the most common recurring character, Dr. Seth Hazlitt, on the CBS series Murder, She Wrote; as the President of the United States in the feature film Escape from the Planet of the Apes; and for voicing Puppetino in Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night.

Early life

Windom was born in New York City, the son of Isobel Wells (née Peckham) and Paul Windom, an architect.[1][2] He was the great-grandson of the United States Secretary of the Treasury of the same name. He served in the United States Army in the European Theater of Operations in World War II, as a paratrooper with Company B, 1st Battalion 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.[3]


Playbill: Windom Plays Thurber

Windom's first motion picture role was as Mr. Gilmer, the prosecutor of Tom Robinson in the 1962 Academy Award-winning To Kill a Mockingbird. In 1968, he starred with Frank Sinatra in The Detective, playing a homophobic killer. The role received great reviews from The New York Times.

From September 1963 to April 1966, he co-starred in the television version of the previous film, The Farmer's Daughter, a series about a young Minnesota woman who becomes the housekeeper for a widowed congressman. In the 1969–1970 NBC series My World and Welcome to It, Windom played the James Thurberesque lead and received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series. After the cancellation of the series, Windom toured the country for a time in a one-man Thurber show. After the run was completed, Windom filmed the pilot for a new series Is there a Doctor in the House? with Rosemary Forsyth. The pilot was written with both actors in mind for the two starring roles, and while it was well received by the critics and in viewership ratings in both its first run and a rerun in the summer of 1971, it was not picked up for a series.

He was a regular for a decade on the series Murder, She Wrote with Angela Lansbury as mystery writer Jessica Fletcher. His initial appearance in the role was in October 1985. (He had previously appeared as a guest star playing another character in April 1985.) The producers enjoyed his work, and consequently invited him to return at the beginning of the second season to take on the role permanently. He briefly left the show to work on another series in 1990, but the show was short-lived and he returned to Murder, She Wrote as a semi-regular for the remainder of the run of that series.

To fans of science fiction television, Windom was best known as the tortured Commodore of the USS Constellation Matt Decker in the Star Trek episode "The Doomsday Machine," a role he reprised nearly 40 years later for Star Trek New Voyages.


He died on August 16, 2012, at the age of 88 at his home in Woodacre, California, from congestive heart failure.[1] He was survived by four of his children – Rachel, Heather, Hope and Rebel – and four grandchildren.




  1. 1 2 Grode, Eric (August 19, 2012). "William Windom, Emmy Winner and TV Everyman, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2012. William Windom, who won an Emmy Award playing an Everyman drawn from the pages of James Thurber but who may be best remembered for his roles on “Star Trek” and “Murder, She Wrote,” died on Thursday at his home in Woodacre, Calif., north of San Francisco. He was 88. The cause was congestive heart failure, said his wife, Patricia. ...
  2. William Windom Biography (1923-)
  3. The 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) Trooper Pictures during World War II
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