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William Devane

William Devane

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Also Known As: Bill Devane Died:
Born: September 5, 1937 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Albany, New York, USA Profession: actor, director, screenwriter, producer, construction worker, restaurateur, apprentice electrician

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A charismatic lead on television and in the occasional feature, William Devane was an inveterate scene-stealer whose devilish grin and intense focus were among the highlights of such projects as "The Missiles of October" (ABC, 1974), "Marathon Man" (1976), "Rolling Thunder" (1977) and the soap "Knots' Landing" (CBS, 1980-1993). Devane's versatility allowed him to play presidents and politicians, including several Kennedys, with the same degree of believability as his evil but lovable Greg Sumner on "Knots." Along the way, he netted Emmy nods, a fistful of Soap Opera Digest Awards, and a favored player status among television audiences that was reserved for very few performers over the course of a four-decade career. As much in demand in his seventh decade as he was at the beginning of his career, Devane remained one of the most respected and appreciated actors to frequent the small screen.

A charismatic lead on television and in the occasional feature, William Devane was an inveterate scene-stealer whose devilish grin and intense focus were among the highlights of such projects as "The Missiles of October" (ABC, 1974), "Marathon Man" (1976), "Rolling Thunder" (1977) and the soap "Knots' Landing" (CBS, 1980-1993). Devane's versatility allowed him to play presidents and politicians, including several Kennedys, with the same degree of believability as his evil but lovable Greg Sumner on "Knots." Along the way, he netted Emmy nods, a fistful of Soap Opera Digest Awards, and a favored player status among television audiences that was reserved for very few performers over the course of a four-decade career. As much in demand in his seventh decade as he was at the beginning of his career, Devane remained one of the most respected and appreciated actors to frequent the small screen.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 50 to 1 (2014)
2.
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VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began acting in neighborhood theater while attending high school in Albany, New York
:
Worked in construction and as apprentice electrician before moving to NYC
:
Professional stage debut as spear carrier in New York Shakespeare production of "The Merchant of Venice"; also worked behind the scenes at NYSF as a member of the construction crew and truck-driving staff
1967:
Played character inspired by Robert F Kennedy in Off-Broadway production "MacBird!", a satire of politics based on Shakespeare's "Macbeth"
1967:
Starred as a political activist who, with his wife, leaves the city to begin anew "In the Country" (65-minute black-and-white film)
:
Was a regular on the CBS daytime drama "Where the Heart Is"
1970:
Credited for "additional dialogue", as well as acting in "The 300 Year Weekend"
1971:
Starred in the short-lived Broadway production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
1971:
Acted in Robert Mulligan's "The Pursuit of Happiness" and Robert Altman's "McCabe and Mrs. Miller"
1973:
Credited as Bill Devane in ABC movie "The Bait"
1974:
Breakthrough TV role as President John F Kennedy in "The Missiles of October" (ABC); won first Emmy nomination
1975:
Portrayed blacklisted radio commentator John Henry Faulk in "Fear on Trial" (CBS); garnered second Emmy nomination
1976:
Acted in "Family Plot", the last film from legendary director Alfred Hitchcock; also portrayed double-dealing intelligence chief Janeway in John Schlesinger's "Marathon Man"
1976:
Received "from screenplay" credit for "The Million Dollar Rip-off", an NBC movie starring Freddie Prinze
1978:
Acted in lavish NBC miniseries version of "Black Beauty"
1979:
Reteamed with Schlesinger for "Yanks"
1979:
Starred as Sgt. Milt Warden in NBC miniseries version of "From Here to Eternity"
1980:
TV series debut as regular, reprising his role as Sgt. Milt Warden in "From Here to Eternity" (NBC)
1981:
Reteamed with Schlesinger for "Honky Tonk Freeway"
1982:
Portrayed tough private detective Jake Rubidoux in ABC movie "The Big Easy"
1983:
Joined the cast of the CBS primetime soap "Knots Landing"; played Greg Sumner, a corporate cad; also directed episodes of the series; remained with series until its 1993 demise
1987:
Appeared in first-rate TV time travel flick, "Timestalkers" (CBS)
1991:
Played John Vernou Bouvier III in NBC miniseries, "A Woman Named Jackie"
1993:
Portrayed the title character's tennis coach on the short-lived ABC sitcom "Phenom"
1995:
Starred as a Kennedyesque patriarch in short-lived drama "The Monroes" (ABC)
1997:
Reprised his role of Greg Sumner in "Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-De-Sac"
1999:
Played a gangster in "Payback"
1999:
Returned to series TV as star of the CBS drama "Turks"
2000:
Starred as Tom Kincaid in CBS movie "Miracle on the Mountain: The Kincaid Family Story"
2000:
Joined actor-director Clint Eastwood for his "Space Cowboys"
2000:
Returned to series TV as co-star of the NBC fall sitcom "The Michael Richards Show"
2003:
Played Secretary of State Lewis Berryhill, on the NBC political drama "The West Wing"
2004:
Appeared in three episodes of "Stargate SG-1," (Sci-fi) as President Hayes
2005:
Joined the FOX drama "24," in it's fourth season as Secretary of Defense James Heller
2006:
Co-starred as the philandering father in the dysfunctional Crumb family, opposite Jane Curtin and Fred Savage, on ABC's "Crumbs"
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Education

American Academy of Dramatic Arts: New York , New York -

Notes

Some sources list Mr Devane's birthyear as 1939 while others say 1940.

"When you cast Bill Devane, you get someone who walks on the set and there's an instant presence. It's like watching a field general walk on the battlefield. Like Patton. He's a presence. He walks on the set and there's instant charisma. He walks on the set and it changes." --director Vern Gillum in The New York Times, October 15, 1995.

Hollywood lore has it that Devane was the first actor considered for the role of Sam the bartender of "Cheers". According to the story, he insisted on testing for the role in bare feet and cut them on broken glass, rendering him unavailable for the pilot and subsequent series.

"There's no high art that motivated me to go into this business. I wanted to be John Wayne. And to be perfectly candid, I was interested in being successful. That's what drove me more than anything." --William Devane in The New York Times, October 15, 1995.

Devane has directed stage productions like the 1979 Off-Broadway play "G.R. Point" and L.A. productions of the black-list drama "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?" and the locker room drama "The Changing Room", as well as helming several episodes of "Knots Landing" during its long run.

An avid horseman, Devane raises thoroughbreads for the racetrack and the polo fields.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Eugenie Devane.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Joe Devane. Chauffeur. Drove Franklin Delano Roosevelt when FDR was governor of New York State.
son:
Josh Devane. Restaurateur. Co-owns and operates Devane's Italian Restaurant in Indio, California.
son:
Jake Devane. Restaurateur. Co-owns and operates Devane's Italian Restaurant.

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