Bill Macy is an American actor of television, film and stage. He first came to the attention of public during the late 1960s and early 1970s as an original cast of the long running theatrical revue “Oh! Calcutta!”. He also appeared in other off-Broadway productions such as “The Threepenny Opera,” “The Balcony,” “America Hurrah” and “Awake and Sing!”as well as on Broadway plays like Neil Simon's “I Ought to Be in Pictures,” “Once More,” “And Mrs. Reardon Drinks a Little” and
“The Roast.” Macy, however, did not gain much notices until he landed the role of long suffering husband Walter Findlay, on the popular television sitcom “Maude” (CBS, 1972-1978). He received a 2004 TV Land nomination in the category of Favorite Cantankerous Couple for his performance in the show. After “Maude,” he starred in the short lived sitcoms “Hanging In” (1979) and “Nothing in Common” (1987), in addition to making guest appearances in countless shows. On the silver screen, Macy earned a NYFCC nomination for his supporting role on the Oscar nominated comedy “The Late Show” (1977). Other films he has acted in include “The Jerk” (1979), “My Favorite Year” (1982),“The Doctor” (1991), “Me, Myself and I” (1992), “Analyze This” (1999), “Surviving Christmas” (2004), “The Holiday” (2006) and “Mr. Woodcock” (2007).
Wolf Marvin Garber
Childhood and Family:
Bill Macy was born Wolf Marvin Garber on May 18, 1922, in Revere, Massachusetts. His father, Michael Garber, was a manufacturer. His mother's name is Mollie.
Bill married his wife Samantha Harper on May 4, 1975.
Bill Macy assumed several entertainment jobs like poetry reading, comedy record and movie bits as well as performed in off-Broadway stage plays. His first big break arrived when he was cast alongside Raina Barrett, Mark Dempsey, Katie Drew-Wilkinson, Boni Enten, Alan Rachins, Leon Russom, Margo Sappington, Nancy Tribush and George Welbes in the avant-garde theatrical revue revue “Oh! Calcutta!,” created by British drama critic Kenneth Tynan. The musical opened off-Broadway at the Eden Theatre on June 17, 1969, transferred to the Belasco Theatre on February 17, 1971, and closed on August 12, 1972 after a total of 1,314 performances.
Macy made his television debut in 1966 as a cab driver in an episode of “The Edge of Night.” He debuted on the big screen two years later with an uncredited part as Jury Foreman in “The Producers,” a comedy/music film written and directed by Mel Brooks. Macy went on to guest star in “N.Y.P.D.” (1969) and “All in the Family” (1972) and appeared in the theatrical released of “Oh! Calcutta!” (1972).
Macy's huge break on television came when he landed the role of the title character's husband, household appliance store owner Walter Findlay, on the Norman Lear created sitcom “Maude,” starring Beatrice Arthur. He remained with the show throughout its six year run on the CBS network from September 12, 1972 to April 22, 1978. Later, in 2004, he was nominated for a TV Land Award in the category of Favorite Cantankerous Couple for his work. While working on the show, Macy also acted in the made for TV films “All Together Now” (1975, starred John Rubinstein, Glynnis O'Connor and Brad Savage), “Death at Love House” (1976, starred Robert Wagner, Kate Jackson and Sylvia Sidney) and “Diary of a Young Comic” (1977, starred Richard Lewis, Dom DeLuise and George Jessel). He gained notice on the wide screen with his turn as Charlie Hatter in the Robert Benton “The Late Show” (1977), opposite Art Carney and Lily Tomlin. The role also brought him a New York Film Critics Circle nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
After the cancellation of “Maude,” Macy resurfaced on the small screen when he played the supporting role of Frank Wallach on the CBS television film “The Fantastic Seven” (1979), starring Christopher Connelly, Christopher Lloyd and Bob Seagren. Later that same year, he was cast in the leading role of Louis Harper, a former pro football star who becomes president of fictional Braddock College, on the short lived sitcom “Hanging In,” executive produced by Norman Lear. The show premiered CBS on August 9, 1979 and was canceled after four episodes aired. Still in 1979, he delivered an unforgettable performance as Stan Fox, the co-inventor of the 'Opti-grab' in the Steve Martin comedy vehicle “The Jerk,” directed by Carl Reiner. In 1980, Macy appeared on Neil Simon's play “I Ought to Be in Pictures” on Broadway, for which he played Herb, had a supporting role on the Bill Persky comedy film “Serial,” opposite Martin Mull, Tuesday Weld and Jennifer McAllister, and starred as Myron Selznick on the NBC telepic “The Scarlett O'Hara War,” alongside Tony Curtis and Harold Gould. He supported Peter O'Toole, Mark Linn-Baker and Jessica Harper in the comedy film “My Favorite Year” (1982), worked with Blanche Baker, Franklin Cover and Richard Crenna in the NBC made for TV film “The Day the Bubble Burst” (1982), portrayed Sid Spokane in William Asher's comedy, “Movers & Shakers” (1985), starring Walter Matthau, Charles Grodin and Vincent Gardenia, co-starred in Harvey Miller's “Bad Medicine” (1985), opposite Steve Guttenberg, Alan Arkin and Julie Hagerty, and played Richard Wilson in the TV film “Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam” (1987), starring Raymond Burr as Mason. He landed recurring roles on such television series as the 1980s ht medical drama “St. Elsewhere” (1984, as Hershel Millstein), “L.A. Law” (1986, as Irving Lewis) and “One Big Family” (1986-1987, as Larry Collins), and made a number of guest appearances during the 1980s, including “Hotel” (1983, as Herman Wells), “Riptide” (1985, as 1985), “Hardcastle and McCormick” (1985, as Art Healy), “ You Are the Jury” (1986, as Frank Mantalbano), “Starman” (1987, as Naughton Wells), “The Facts of Life” (1988, as Harold), “ Highway to Heaven” (1988, as Max), “Murder, She Wrote” (1989, as Uncle Ben Mayberry) and “The Famous Teddy Z” (1989). Macy returned to series television as a regular when he portrayed Max Basner on the television adaptation of “Nothing in Common” (1987), a role originated by Jackie Gleason in the original film. The show, however, was soon canceled due to poor ratings.
Macy only appeared in five films during the 1990s, including a turn in the made for television film “Anna” (1990), with Maria Charles, Keith Diamond and Tom La Grua. He reunited with director Carl Reiner for the comedy film “Sibling Rivalry” (1990), starring Kirstie Alley, Bill Pullman and Carrie Fisher, worked with William Hurt, Christine Lahti and Elizabeth Perkins in the Randa Haines directed drama “The Doctor” (1991) and portrayed Sydney in the comedy film “Me, Myself and I” (1992), starring JoBeth Williams, George Segal and Don Calfa. He resurfaced as Dr. Isaac Sobel in “Analyze This” (1999), a comedy/crime film directed by Harold Ramis and starred Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal and Lisa Kudrow. It marked his last film in the decade. Meanwhile, Macy made guest appearances in numerous television series, including “Matlock” (1991), “Middle Ages” (1992), “Columbo” (1993), “Viper” (1994), “ Dave's World” (1994), “Diagnosis Murder” (1994), “NYPD Blue” (1995), “Hudson Street” (1995), “Chicago Hope” (1996), “ Seinfeld” (1996), “Ned and Stacey” (1996), “ The Home Court” (1996), “The John Larroquette Show” (1996), “Promised Land” (1997), “Millennium” (1998), “ Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” (1998), “Norm” (1999) and “Jack & Jill” (1999).
Entering the new millennium, Macy appeared as Mr. Foley in an episode of the NBC hit drama “Providence” called “Taking a Chance on Love” (2000), Walter Titlebaum in an episode of CBS' “Touched by an Angel” named “Reasonable Doubt” (2000) and Mr. Dimsdale in the episode “Diagnosis: Jimmy” (2001) of “ The Lone Gunmen,” a short lived spin off from “The X-Files.” He also appeared in the ABC sitcom “My Wife and Kids” (2002, as a Drive Thru Attendant), “ER” (2004, as Richard Gould), “LAX” (2004, as Martin), “ Stacked” (2005, as Charlie) and “Las Vegas” (2006, as Sharkey Rosenthal). In 2004, Macy made his return to features when he was cast as Doo-Dah in “Surviving Christmas,” a comedy film directed by Mike Mitchell and starring Ben Affleck. He then appeared in the made for television film comedy “Early Bird” (2005) and portrayed Ernie in the box office hit comedy “The Holiday” (2006), which was directed and written by Nancy Meyers and starred Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black.
Macy was cast as Mr. Woodcock's father in the 2007 comedy film “Mr. Woodcock,” starring Billy Bob Thornton as Jasper Woodcock. The same year, he also guest starred in “ My Name Is Earl” (as Whiskey Pete) and “Back to You” (as Troy). Three years later, a 88 year old Macy appeared as Mr. Rickles in an episode of the TNT medical drama series “Hawthorne” called “No Exit.”