Family & Companions
Canadian actor Gil Bellows broke through with a starring role as a lovable low-life in the indie "Love and a .45" (1994) and a supporting turn as a young convict who dies for his friendship with Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) in "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994). After high-profile roles in "Miami Rhapsody" (1995) and "Snow White: A Tale of Terror" (Showtime, 1997), Bellow became a star as Billy Thomas, an old flame-turned-colleague of Calista Flockhart's "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-2002) who still yearns for her despite his marriage to Georgia (Courtney Thorne-Smith). After leaving the David E. Kelley series in a memorably moving plot twist, Bellows starred in the first season of "The Agency" (CBS, 2001-03) and earned a Best Actor Gemini nomination for "Terminal City" (The Movie Network, 2005). He won an Emmy and a Peabody for producing the Claire Danes-starring biopic "Temple Grandin" (HBO, 2010), appeared in "House at the End of the Street" (2012) and continued to write, direct and produce as well as act. Although he never quite became a household name, Gil Bellows earned countless fans for his charismatic performances.
Born June 28, 1967 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Gil Bellows made his screen debut in the Canadian film "The First Season" (1988) and went on to cut his professional teeth in Broadway productions. He gained further onscreen experience in episodes of "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010) and "Flying Blind" (Fox, 1992-93), but truly broke through in 1994 with a pair of important roles. He impressed with a wacky turn opposite Renée Zellweger as a pair of outlaw lovers on the run in the quirky "Love and a .45" (1994), but caused countless viewers and critics to take note of him with a sharp supporting role in "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994). Stepping into a role originally meant for Brad Pitt, Bellows delivered an unforgettable, sharply honed performance as Tommy Williams, a petty thief with a penchant for learning who is murdered because he can clear Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) of murder. As "Shawshank" became a box office hit and a beloved modern classic, Bellows found himself heavily in demand, and booked roles as the boyfriend of Sarah Jessica Parker in "Miami Rhapsody" (1995) and as a miner who aids the titular princess (Monica Keena) battle the wicked queen (Sigourney Weaver) in the dark retelling "Snow White: A Tale of Terror" (Showtime, 1997).
His most famous role, however, came as lawyer Billy Thomas, "the one who got away" from Calista Flockhart's waifish "Ally McBeal" (Fox, 1997-2002). Handsome, sensitive and charming, the actor and his character won over viewers who sympathized with Ally's increasingly frazzled attempts to keep it together while working with Billy and his seemingly flawless new wife Georgia (Courtney Thorne-Smith). An enormous success and era-defining series, the David E. Kelley production proved polarizing in its depiction of the titular lawyer's brand of post-feminism, and after three seasons saw a casting shakeup. Many viewers were shocked when, after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Billy died in court after a rip-your-heart-out monologue where, due to his condition, he described his happy marriage to true love Ally, which existed only in what-could-have-been. Although he shared in a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble, Bellows moved on to spend a season on the short-lived CIA drama "The Agency" (CBS, 2001-03), notched a supporting role in the Nicolas Cage drama "The Weather Man" (2005), and earned a Best Actor Gemini nod for his role in the acclaimed Canadian drama "Terminal City" (The Movie Network, 2005).
Working steadily, Bellows recurred on "Smallville" (The WB, 2001-06; The CW, 2006-2011) and "FlashForward" (ABC, 2009-2010) and began branching out into writing, directing and producing. He won an Emmy and a Peabody Award and earned a Golden Globe nomination for producing the biopic "Temple Grandin" (HBO, 2010), the real-life story of an autistic woman (Claire Danes) with a gift for science who helped enact enormous changes to the livestock industry. Although he appeared onscreen less frequently than in the past, Bellows continued to act, booking a role in the horror hit "House at the End of the Street" (2012), guesting on "Vegas" (CBS, 2012-13), and writing, producing, directing and starring in the thriller "Three Days in Havana" (2012).
By Jonathan Riggs
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Made film debut in "The First Season" for the National Film Board of Canada
Made American TV debut on an episode of NBC's "Law & Order"
Landed breakthrough role as Tommy in "The Shawshank Redemption"
First lead in a TV movie, "The Silver Strand" (Showtime)
Played first romantic lead opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in "Miami Rhapsody"
Featured opposite Kirstie Alley in ABC movie "Radiant City"
Appeared in Showtime's "Snow White: A Tale of Terror"
Cast as Billy Thomas, the emotionally enigmatic ex-boyfriend of the title character on Fox series "Ally McBeal"
Acted opposite wife Rya Kihlstedt in "Say You'll Be Mine"
Portrayed tech expert Lizard Browning in "Judas Kiss" (Cinemax)
Returned to series TV as star of the short-lived CBS drama "The Agency"
Co-produced and co-directed "Night of Too Many Stars" for Comedy Central
Cast in Canadian drama series "Terminal City"
Starred opposite Nicolas Cage in "The Weather Man," directed by Gore Verbinski
Appeared in the Hallmark Channel original movie "Final Days of Planet Earth"
Executive produced HBO biopic "Temple Grandin"
Co-starred with Jennifer Lawrence in horror thriller "House at the End of the Street"