William Windom Dies: “Murder, She Wrote” Actor Was 88

    August 20, 2012
    Amanda Crum
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William Windom, an Emmy-winning actor made famous by his role on “Murder, She Wrote”, has died of congestive heart failure. He was 88 years old.

Windom had run-ins with Hollywood before he even knew what it was; his kindergarten teacher was none other than Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard Of Oz”. Born in New York, he traveled the country, studying at various institutions–including the University of Kentucky–before going back to New York to pursue an acting career.

The character-actor appeared in several Broadway shows before the wonders of television in the early ’50s drew his attention. Soon he was taking parts in influential shows and TV movies, and film producers came calling as well. His turn as prosecutor Mr. Gilmer in “To Kill A Mockingbird” won him rave reviews and earned him a tight foothold in the entertainment industry, and he won an Emmy in 1969 for “My World And Welcome To It”. In fact, in the ’70s and ’80s there was barely a series he didn’t grace with his skills. Windom took roles on “Highway to Heaven”, “Dallas”, and “The A-Team”, among others. But it was his turn on “Murder, She Wrote” as Angela Lansbury’s doctor friend that cemented his place in television history.

On traveling the world with his acting career, Windom once said, “You have a nice time because people are very nice, basically. I travel a lot and I see a great many of them in all parts of the country and it’s always a treat. Everybody has something worthwhile to offer, for at least ten seconds, maybe ten hours, maybe ten years, whatever, but they all have that spark that’s worthwhile.”

Windom is survived by his fifth wife, Patricia, and his four children.

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    Schools and instructors spend a great deal of time focusing on performing. This is what brings students into classes and workshops and soon it becomes addictive. Being able to perform and receive accolades is the drug of choice, one that is widely exploited by the teaching community. It’s what keeps students enrolled and brings them back for another fix again and again.

  • http://Yahoo Sharon

    A wonderful character actor – he will be missed.

  • NormCBS

    I was hooked on “My World and Welcome to It” by a teleplay called “Little Girls Are Sugar & Spice- And Not Always Nice!” written by Rick Mittleman. Although it had little to do with James Thurber’s writings, it was a terrific and funny episode. Windom was great in this series as he was in just about everything he did. I guess for the younger generation, he was best known for his character Dr. Seth Hazlitt in the series “Murder She Wrote” created by William Link and Richard Levinson (“Mannix”, “Columbo”, et al).