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Bill Bixby

Bill Bixby

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Also Known As: Wilfred Bailey Bixby Died: November 21, 1993
Born: January 22, 1934 Cause of Death: prostate cancer
Birth Place: San Francisco, California, USA Profession: actor, director, model, amateur magician

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As one of the most recognizable faces on television for more than two decades, actor-director Bill Bixby became associated with an admirable strength of character, not only in his roles, but in his personal life as well. As an actor new to Hollywood, he quickly picked up a number of small guest parts on series before landing his first starring role on the fantasy sitcom "My Favorite Martian" (CBS, 1963-66) opposite Ray Walston as the titular alien. He also appeared in several films in the mid-1960s, including the Elvis Presley musical-comedy "Speedway" (1968), before starring on the endearing family series "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" (ABC, 1969-1972). From there Bixby went on to the short-lived, yet fondly remembered adventure series "The Magician" (NBC, 1973-74). By this time he was also working regularly as a director on such projects as the miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man - Book II" (ABC, 1976-77). His most recognizable role, however, was as Dr. David Banner on "The Incredible Hulk" (CBS, 1978-1982). Later in his career, Bixby's outwardly charmed life suffered a series of devastating blows after Brenda Benet, his wife of nearly 10 years, divorced him, his only child died unexpectedly, and...

As one of the most recognizable faces on television for more than two decades, actor-director Bill Bixby became associated with an admirable strength of character, not only in his roles, but in his personal life as well. As an actor new to Hollywood, he quickly picked up a number of small guest parts on series before landing his first starring role on the fantasy sitcom "My Favorite Martian" (CBS, 1963-66) opposite Ray Walston as the titular alien. He also appeared in several films in the mid-1960s, including the Elvis Presley musical-comedy "Speedway" (1968), before starring on the endearing family series "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" (ABC, 1969-1972). From there Bixby went on to the short-lived, yet fondly remembered adventure series "The Magician" (NBC, 1973-74). By this time he was also working regularly as a director on such projects as the miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man - Book II" (ABC, 1976-77). His most recognizable role, however, was as Dr. David Banner on "The Incredible Hulk" (CBS, 1978-1982). Later in his career, Bixby's outwardly charmed life suffered a series of devastating blows after Brenda Benet, his wife of nearly 10 years, divorced him, his only child died unexpectedly, and Benet later committed suicide, all within a three-year period. When he publicly announced his battle against prostate cancer in the early 1990s, it came as no surprise to anyone that Bixby chose to live his final years just has he had his entire life - with optimism, courage and dignity.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
3.
  Baby Of The Bride (1991) Director
6.
  Three on a Date (1978) Director
7.
  Barbary Coast, The (1975) Director
8.
  W*A*L*T*E*R (1984) Director
9.
  Best of Times, The (1983) Director
10.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Diagnosis of Murder (1992) Nick Osbourne
2.
 Death of the Incredible Hulk, The (1990) Dr David Banner
3.
 Trial of the Incredible Hulk, The (1989) Dr David Banner
4.
 Incredible Hulk Returns, The (1988) Dr David Banner
5.
 Sin Of Innocence (1986) David Mcgary
6.
 International Airport (1985) Harvey Jameson
7.
 Agatha Christie's Murder Is Easy (1982) Luke Williams
8.
 Kentucky Fried Movie, The (1977) Himself (Headache Clinic)
9.
 Incredible Hulk, The (1977) Dr David Bruce Banner
10.
 Black Market Baby (1977) Herbert Freemont
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
After completing military service, began career as a male model and a performer in TV commercials
:
Worked in industrial films for Chrysler and General Motors
:
Made stage debut in a Detroit Civic Theater production of "The Boy Friend"
:
Spotted in an acting workshop; appeared in the early 1960s on the sitcoms "Dobie Gillis" and "The Joey Bishop Show"
1962:
Made feature film debut in a bit part in "Lonely Are the Brave"
:
Received critical acclaim for his role in the musical "Maxx" at the Coronet Theater in Los Angeles; led to a role in a 13-month run of the farce "Under the Yum Yum Tree" in Los Angeles
1963:
Played Tim O'Hara on the popular CBS sitcom, "My Favorite Martian"
:
Performed in the national company of "The Fantasticks"
1968:
Last feature film for seven years, "Speedway", starring Elvis Presley and Nancy Sinatra
:
Acted on Broadway in "The Paisley Convertible"
:
Played Tom Corbett on the popular ABC comedy-drama, "The Courtship of Eddie's Father"; also made his debut as a TV director on a number of episodes
:
Directed episodes of the popular detective drama, "Mannix"
:
Formed his own production company, B&B Productions
:
Played Anthony Blake on the NBC adventure series, "The Magician"
:
Was one of the celebrity panelists on the syndicated revamp of the 1950s game show, "Masquerade Party"
1975:
Earliest TV-movies directed includes "The Barbary Coast", the pilot for the TV series
1975:
Returned to feature films after a seven-year absence to play a leading role in "The Apple Dumpling Gang"
1977:
Starred as Dr. David Bruce Banner in the TV-movie, "The Incredible Hulk", which led to the series
1977:
Last feature film appearance, playing himself in the episodic spoof "The Kentucky Fried Movie"
:
Reprised his role as Banner for the popular CBS adventure series, "The Incredible Hulk"
:
Hosted the PBS children's series, "Once Upon a Classic"
1982:
Hosted the short-lived CBS magazine show, "The Book of Lists"
:
Executive produced and directed episodes of the CBS sitcom, "Goodnight, Beantown"; also starred as Matt Cassidy
1986:
Hosted the syndicated romance anthology program, "True Confessions", based on the magazine publication
:
Executive produced three "Hulk" films in which he reprised the role of Dr. David Banner: "The Incredible Hulk Returns" (1988), "The Trial of the Incredible Hulk" (1989) and "The Death of the Incredible Hulk" (1990); also directed the latter two
1991:
Underwent surgury for prostate cancer
:
Cancer reappeared five months later; spread to hip bone
:
Was the regular episode-to-episode director of the popular NBC teen sitcom, "Blossom"
1993:
Directed last TV-movie, "The Woman Who Loved Elvis"
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Education

San Francisco City College: San Francisco , California -
University of California at Berkeley: Berkeley , California -

Notes

"On Nov. 30, Bixby became the first West Coast patient to take Suramin, a powerful drug primarily used to treat sleeping sickness that has been prescribed only for selected cancer patients." --From "Bill Bixby: The Battle of His Life" in TV Guide, January 2, 1993.

Bixby received Emmy nominations for his leading role in "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" for the 1970/71 season, for a guest spot as a psychotic on the crime drama series "The Streets of San Francisco" in 1975/76 and for his role as Willie Abbott on the miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man" in 1975/76.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Yvonne Craig. Actor. Dated in the 1960s.
wife:
Brenda Ann Nelson. Actor. Appeared on NBC soap opera "Days of Our Lives"; mother of Christopher Bixby; committed suicide in April 1982 at age 37; previously married to Paul Peterson.
wife:
Laura Jane Michael. Married on December 22, 1990 in Maui; divorced in 1992.
wife:
Judith Kliban. Married on October 3, 1993; survived him.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

son:
Christopher Sean Bixby. Born on September 25, 1974; mother, Brenda Benet; died from a rare throat infection on March 1, 1981.

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