William Daniels - Relies on Instinct & Experience

William Daniels - Relies on Instinct & Experience

First Published: March 2001
William Daniels | Working Actor

William Daniels | Working Actor

William Daniels & Siblings
William Daniels | "A Thousand Clowns" (1965)
William Daniels, James Colburn, Sheldon Collins | "The President's Analyst" (1967)
William Daniels | 'Captain Nice" (1967)
William Daniels | "1776" (1972)
William Daniels, Howard Da Silva | "1776" (1972) *
William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ron Holgate | "1776" (1972) *
William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ron Holgate, Ken Howard | "1776" (1972)  *
William Daniels | "The Parallax View" (1974)
William Daniels | "Sunburn" (1979)
William Daniels, Elva Josephson, Glenn Kohan | "The Blue Lagoon" (1980)
William Daniels, Tyne Daly, Sharon Gless, Al Waxman, Martin Kove, Sidney Clute, Carl Lumbly | Cagney & Lacey (1981)
William Daniels, Tyne Daly | Cagney & Lacey (1981)
William Daniels | "St. Elsewhere" (1982)
William Daniels, Sagan Lewis | "St. Elsewhere" (1982)
William Daniels, Ben Savage | "Boy Meets World" (1993)
William Daniels, Ben Savage | "Boy Meets World" (1993)
William Daniels, Ben Savage, Danielle Fishel | "Boy Meets World" (1993)
William Daniels, Bonnie Bartlett | Emmy Awards (1986)
William Daniels | "Boy Meets World" (1993)
William Daniels, Sandra Oh | "Grey's Anatomy" (2005)
William Daniels | Working Actor
William Daniels | Working Actor
William Daniels | Working Actor
William Daniels | Working Actor

William Dainels, A versatile character actor of stage, film and, most successfully, TV, is often cast in arrogant, authoritative or WASPish roles, once served the Industry in the tireless roll of President of the Screen Actors Guild.

Born in Brooklyn, Daniels made his first stage appearance tap dancing at the age of four and a half years old. Three years later, he and a sister Jacqueline, then five, began performing as a song and dance team on radio, children's shows, in clubs and at benefits. They frequently appeared on the 'Nick Kenny Radio Show'. After television performances on The Horn and Hardart Children's Hour, emceed by Ralph Edwards, they formed their own radio show, The Daniels Family, with a younger sister, Carol.

At 15, he became assistant stage manager and understudy for the two boys in 'Life with Father' road company. While hired for the New York company, he performed the roles of son, John, and, later, of older son, Clarence, during two and half years on Broadway.

Following military service as a staff sergeant with Armed Forces Radio, he turned to mentor, Howard Lindsey, the author of 'Life with Father', to discuss his future. Lindsey suggested enrolling in a college with an outstanding drama department. Mr. Daniels chose Northwestern University, where he met and married Bonnie Bartlett, also a drama major.

His first important break came when Tennessee Williams chose him to play "Brick" in the national company tour of "Cat on A Hot Tin Roof". He continued in the role for 33 weeks and his career was launched. Off-Broadway, he replaced George Segal in "The Iceman Cometh", portrayed Jimmy Porter in "Look Back In Anger" and starred in Edward Albee's "The Zoo Story", for which he won the Clarence Derwent Award. His Broadway credits include: "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest"; "A Thousand Clowns"; "Dear Me"; "The Sky Is Falling"; "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever"; "Daphne In Cottage D"; "1776"; "A Little Night Music". Between shows, he served as assistant director with Jerome Robbins on Gypsy and "Oh Dad, Poor Dad".

Even after his success on Broadway, it was a gamble that won William Daniels the important role that changed the direction of his career and made him the household name and face that he is today. In 1969, after appearing in the Broadway hit "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever", he was asked to repeat his role in the Hollywood film directed by Vincent Minelli. At the same time, he was also offered the opportunity to play the lead role in the Broadway play, "1776". He chose the latter and went on to star as the fiery leader, John Quincy Adams, for 954 performances on Broadway stage and in the subsequent motion pictures.

Throughout his career, Mr. Daniels has appeared in several video and television dramas including: "Rockford Files"; "McMillan and Wife"; "Quincy"; "McCloud" and "Toma". His debut in television occurred when he played the title role in the critically acclaimed series, "Captain Nice". For several years, he also had the rare privilege of having two hit TV series running at the same time.

He won the Emmy Award two years in a row, playing "Dr. Craig" on "St. Elsewhere", while simultaneously playing the voice of "KITT," the car on the popular series, "Knight Rider". In addition to having a successful career in television, he has also appeared in several films including: "The Graduate"; "Reds"; "Parallax View"; "Her Alibi", "A Thousand Clowns"; "The President's Analyst"; "Two For The Road", "Blind Date" and "Blades of Glory".

He has also appeared in many television movies such as: "The Adams Chronicles" as John Quincy Adams, "Blind Ambition" as G. Gordon Liddy, "A Case For Rape" and "Making The Case For Murder" (The Howard Beach Case), and "Crazy Love" and with his role as "Mr. Feeny" on the ABC sitcom "Boy Meets World" (1993-2000). Since our first publication, he has appeared on Television in "Touched by an Angel", "The King of Queens", "The Closer", "Boston Legal", "Grey's Anatomy", and of course "Girl Meets World" as well as a variety of programs where he was asked to replicate the voice of KITT!

In November 1999, Mr. Daniels was elected to a two-year term as President of Screen Actors Guild. He and his wife, actress Bonnie Bartlett, divide their time between Studio City and Santa Barbara, California. They have two sons, Michael and Robert and two granddaughters, Shaina and Eliza.

William Daniel's advice to the aspiring actor:

Every actor has a different story. For several years in the fifties I made less than two thousand dollars per year (my wife worked). I couldn&'t get an agent in New York until after appearing in Edward Albee's Zoo Story and winning the Clarence Derwent award. Before that, nobody was interested. Having been a child actor, I was used to being obedient; so it took me years to get the courage to do my own work and not always obey the director. Then I found that my instincts and experience were more reliable than others. I studied and fought with Lee Strasberg for four years. During this time, I expanded my range and explored weak areas in my work. I was lucky to finally develop a range in both Comedy and Drama that was useful to the Producers and Writers. Maybe it's different today-but if you still want to be an actor, good luck!



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William Daniel's Credits
 2014-2017 Girl Meets World (TV Series)
George Feeny
- Girl Meets Goodbye (2017) ... George Feeny
- Girl Meets I Do (2016) ... George Feeny
- Girl Meets Pluto (2015) ... George Feeny
- Girl Meets Gravity (2015) ... George Feeny
- Girl Meets World (2014) ... George Feeny
 2015 Lego Dimensions (Video Game)
K.I.T.T. (voice)
 2012 Grey's Anatomy (TV Series)
Dr. Craig Thomas
- Beautiful Doom (2012) ... Dr. Craig Thomas
- I Saw Her Standing There (2012) ... Dr. Craig Thomas
- Love the One You're With (2012) ... Dr. Craig Thomas
- Going, Going, Gone (2012) ... Dr. Craig Thomas
- Let the Bad Times Roll (2012) ... Dr. Craig Thomas
 2012 Paulilu Mixtape (TV Series)
Dr. Vanderhoof
- Ghost Tits (2012) ... Dr. Vanderhoof
 2008 Boston Legal (TV Series)
Judge Milton Brody
- Smoke Signals (2008) ... Judge Milton Brody
 2007 Blades of Glory
Commissioner Ebbers
 2006 The Closer (TV Series)
Commissioner Andrew Schmidt
- Serving the King: Part 1 (2006) ... Commissioner Andrew Schmidt
- Serving the King: Part 2 (2006) ... Commissioner Andrew Schmidt
 2006 The Benchwarmers
K.I.T.T. (voice, uncredited)
 2005 The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (TV Series)
Scythe 2.0
- Runaway Pants/Scythe 2.0 (2005) ... Scythe 2.0 (voice)
 2004 Kim Possible (TV Series)
Robot Pilot
- Ron Millionaire (2004) ... Robot Pilot (voice)
 2004 The King of Queens (TV Series)
Philip Waldecott
- Icky Shuffle (2004) ... Philip Waldecott
 1998-2004 The Simpsons (TV Series)
- Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore (2004) ... K.I.T.T. (voice)
- The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace (1998) ... K.I.T.T. (voice)
 2003 Crazy Love (TV Movie)
 2003 The Lyon's Den (TV Series)
Judge Franklin Campbell
- Blood ... Judge Franklin Campbell
 2003 Lost at Home (TV Series)
- Our Town (2003) ... Arthur
 1996-2003 Touched by an Angel (TV Series)
George / Whit Russell
- And a Nightingale Sang (2003) ... George
- Birthmarks (1996) ... Whit Russell
 2002 Scrubs (TV Series)
Dr. Douglas
- My Sacrificial Clam (2002) ... Dr. Douglas
 2000 Star Trek: Voyager (TV Series)
Hospital Ship 4-2, Allocation Alpha
- Critical Care (2000) ... Hospital Ship 4-2, Allocation Alpha (voice, uncredited)
 1993-2000 Boy Meets World (TV Series)
George Feeny / Fez-head / Captain Feeny
- Brave New World: Part 2 (2000) ... George Feeny
- Brave New World: Part 1 (2000) ... George Feeny
- Angela's Ashes (2000) ... George Feeny (credit only)
- As Time Goes By (2000) ... George Feeny / Fez-head
- Brotherly Shove (2000) ... George Feeny (credit only)
 1996 The Lottery (TV Movie)
Reverend Hutchinson
 1996 Maybe This Time (TV Series)
George Feeney
- Acting Out (1996) ... George Feeney (voice)
 1994 Magic Kid II
 1994 ABC TGIF (TV Series)
George Feeny
- Episode dated 21 January 1994 (1994) ... George Feeny
 1993 Nurses (TV Series)
Norm Kaplan
- Family Outing (1993) ... Norm Kaplan
 1992 Back to the Streets of San Francisco (TV Movie)
Judge Julius Burns
 1991 Knight Rider 2000 (TV Movie)
K.I.T.T. (voice, uncredited)
 1991 The General Motors Playwrights Theater (TV Series)
Detective Lieutenant Fine
- Clara (1991) ... Detective Lieutenant Fine
 1990 Life in Desire (TV Movie)
Beauford Braxton
 1990 On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story (TV Movie)
John Nicks
 1989 Her Alibi
 1982-1988 St. Elsewhere (TV Series)
Dr. Mark Craig
- The Last One (1988) ... Dr. Mark Craig
- The Abby Singer Show (1988) ... Dr. Mark Craig
- Split Decision (1988) ... Dr. Mark Craig
- Requiem for a Heavyweight (1988) ... Dr. Mark Craig
- The Naked Civil Surgeon (1988) ... Dr. Mark Craig
 1987 The Little Match Girl (TV Movie)
Haywood Dutton
 1987 Blind Date
Judge Harold Bedford
 1986 Faerie Tale Theatre (TV Series)
 1982-1986 Knight Rider (TV Series)
- Voo Doo Knight (1986) ... K.I.T.T. (voice, uncredited)
- Knight of the Rising Sun (1986) ... K.I.T.T. (voice, uncredited)
- Fright Knight (1986) ... K.I.T.T. (voice, uncredited)
- Knight Flight to Freedom (1986) ... K.I.T.T. (voice, uncredited)
- Hills of Fire (1986) ... K.I.T.T. (voice, uncredited)
 1984 Laugh Busters (TV Movie)
K.I.T.T. (1984) (voice)
 1982 Drop-Out Father (TV Movie)
Draper Wright
 1982 Rooster (TV Movie)
Dr. DeVega
 1982 Rehearsal for Murder (TV Movie)
Walter Lamb
 1982 Hart to Hart (TV Series)
Simon Richardson
- Hartless Hobby (1982) ... Simon Richardson
 1980-1981 Freebie and the Bean (TV Series)
Dist. Atty. Walter W. Cruikshank
- Lover Come Back (1981) ... Dist. Atty. Walter W. Cruikshank
- Flying Aces (1980) ... Dist. Atty. Walter W. Cruikshank
- Pilot (1980) ... Dist. Atty. Walter W. Cruikshank
- Health Nuts (1980) ... Dist. Atty. Walter W. Cruikshank
 1981 Reds
Julius Gerber
 1981 Private Benjamin (TV Series)
- Bye, Bye Benjamin (1981) ... Teddy
 1981 Trapper John, M.D. (TV Series)
Dr. Slater
- Second Sight (1981) ... Dr. Slater
 1981 The Million Dollar Face (TV Movie)
Henry Burns
 1981 All Night Long
Richard H. Copleston
 1980 Father Damien: The Leper Priest (TV Movie)
Bishop Koeckemann
 1976-1980 Quincy M.E. (TV Series)
Dr. Charlie Volmer / Charlie Truesdale / Paul Reardon
- Last Rights (1980) ... Dr. Charlie Volmer
- Dark Angel (1979) ... Charlie Truesdale
- A Star Is Dead (1976) ... Paul Reardon
 1980 The Blue Lagoon
Arthur Lestrange
 1980 Galactica 1980 (TV Series)
Norman Blore
- The Night the Cylons Landed: Part 2 (1980) ... Norman Blore
- The Night the Cylons Landed: Part 1 (1980) ... Norman Blore
 1980 City in Fear (TV Movie)
Freeman Stribling
 1980 The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (TV Series)
Dr. Walter Taylor
- Who's the Sexiest Girl in the World (1980) ... Dr. Walter Taylor
 1980 B.A.D. Cats (TV Series)
 1979 The Chinese Typewriter (TV Movie)
 1979 Sunburn
 1979 Heaven on Earth (TV Movie)
 1979 Blind Ambition (TV Mini-Series)
G. Gordon Liddy
- Part IV (1979) ... G. Gordon Liddy
- Part III (1979) ... G. Gordon Liddy
- Part II (1979) ... G. Gordon Liddy
- Part I (1979) ... G. Gordon Liddy
 1979 Bleacher Bums (TV Movie)
 1979 The Rebels (TV Movie)
John Adams
 1978 Greatest Heroes of the Bible (TV Series)
- Joshua & Jericho (1978) ... Chasrubal
 1978 Grandpa Goes to Washington (TV Series)
Gov. Bronx
- Pilot (1978) ... Gov. Bronx
 1978 Sergeant Matlovich vs. the U.S. Air Force (TV Movie)
Father Veller
 1978 Big Bob Johnson and His Fantastic Speed Circus (TV Movie)
Lawrence Stepwell III
 1978 The Bastard (TV Movie)
Samuel Adams
 1978 Family (TV Series)
Dr. Taylor
- Counterpoint (1978) ... Dr. Taylor
 1978 The One and Only
Mr. Crawford
 1978 Soap (TV Series)
Heinrich Himmel
- Episode #1.16 (1978) ... Heinrich Himmel
 1976-1977 The Nancy Walker Show (TV Series)
Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Kitteridge
- The Reunion (1977) ... Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Kitteridge
- The Partners (1977) ... Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Kitteridge
- Kenneth's Memoirs (1976) ... Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Kitteridge
- Terry's Depression (1976) ... Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Kitteridge
- Rival Agents (1976) ... Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Kitteridge
 1977 The Incredible Hulk (TV Series)
Dr. John Bonifant
- The Incredible Hulk: Death in the Family (1977) ... Dr. John Bonifant
 1977 Killer on Board (TV Movie)
Marshall Snowden
 1977 Oh, God!
George Summers
 1977 Instant Family (TV Movie)
Clifford Beane
 1977 Black Sunday
 1976 That Was the Year That Was - 1976 (TV Movie)
Sketch actor
 1976 The Rockford Files (TV Series)
Gary Bevins / Thomas Caine
- So Help Me God (1976) ... Gary Bevins
- The Italian Bird Fiasco (1976) ... Thomas Caine
 1976 McMillan & Wife (TV Series)
Commander Campbell
- Point of Law (1976) ... Commander Campbell
 1976 The Adams Chronicles (TV Mini-Series)
John Quincy Adams
- Chapter VI: John Adams, President (1976) ... John Quincy Adams
- Chapter V: John Adams, Vice President (1976) ... John Quincy Adams
- Chapter III: John Adams, Diplomat (1976) ... John Quincy Adams
- Chapter II: John Adams, Revolutionary (1976) ... John Quincy Adams
 1973-1976 McCloud (TV Series)
Fred Pearson / Clayton Gillis
- The Day New York Turned Blue (1976) ... Fred Pearson
- Butch Cassidy Rides Again (1973) ... Clayton Gillis
 1975 Insight (TV Series)
Mike Madden
- Hunger Knows My Name (1975) ... Mike Madden
 1975 The Bob Newhart Show (TV Series)
Edgar T. Vickers Jr.
- Fathers and Sons and Mothers (1975) ... Edgar T. Vickers Jr.
 1975 Medical Story (TV Series)
- Wasteland (1975)
 1975 Barbary Coast (TV Series)
Harry Boyle
- Irish Luck (1975) ... Harry Boyle
 1975 One of Our Own (TV Movie)
Dr. Moresby
 1975 Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic (TV Movie)
Matt Hodges
 1974 Kolchak: The Night Stalker (TV Series)
Police Lt. Jack Matteo
- The Vampire (1974) ... Police Lt. Jack Matteo
 1974 The Parallax View
Austin Tucker
 1974 A Case of Rape (TV Movie)
Leonard Alexander
 1974 Toma (TV Series)
 1973 The Fabulous Doctor Fable (TV Movie)
Elliot Borden
 1973 The Lie (TV Movie)
 1973 Murdock's Gang (TV Movie)
Roger Bates
 1973 Ironside (TV Series)
Mr. Stillwald
- All Honorable Men (1973) ... Mr. Stillwald
 1973 Love, American Style (TV Series)
Alan (segment "Love and the Old Lover")
- Love and the Missing Mister/Love and the Old Lover/Love and the Twanger Tutor (1973) ... Alan (segment "Love and the Old Lover")
 1972 Cannon (TV Series)
Dale Corey
- Hear No Evil (1972) ... Dale Corey
 1972 1776
John Adams (MA)
 1969 Marlowe
Mr. Crowell
 1969 My Friend Tony (TV Series)
 1969 Judd for the Defense (TV Series)
Harry Stratton
- Epitaph on a Computer Card (1969) ... Harry Stratton
 1968 The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (TV Series)
Blair Thompson
- Mr. Perfect (1968) ... Blair Thompson
 1968 The Good Guys (TV Series)
Arnold Schreck
- Let 'Em Eat Rolls (1968) ... Arnold Schreck
 1967 The Graduate
Mr. Braddock
 1967 The President's Analyst
Wynn Quantrill
 1967 Captain Nice (TV Series)
Carter Nash / Capt. Nice / Captain Nice / ...
- Beware of Hidden Prophets (1967) ... Carter Nash / Capt. Nice
- One Rotten Apple (1967) ... Carter Nash / Captain Nice
- May I Have the Last Dance? (1967) ... Carter Nash / Capt. Nice
- It Tastes OK, But Something's Missing (1967) ... Carter Nash / Capt. Nice
- The Week They Stole Payday (1967) ... Carter Nash / Capt. Nice
 1967 Two for the Road
Howard Manchester
 1966 T.H.E. Cat (TV Series)
Tony Webb
- The Ring of Anasis (1966) ... Tony Webb
 1965 A Thousand Clowns
 1965 For the People (TV Series)
Fred Rice
- Any Benevolent Purpose (1965) ... Fred Rice
 1965 Profiles in Courage (TV Series)
Attorney General
- Woodrow Wilson (1965) ... Attorney General
 1963-1965 The Doctors and the Nurses (TV Series)
Buddy / Vernon Kane
- A Couple of Dozen Tiny Pills (1965) ... Buddy
- Field of Battle (1963) ... Vernon Kane
 1962-1964 The Defenders (TV Series)
Mike Herman / Malloy
- A Voice Loud and Clear (1964) ... Mike Herman
- The Locked Room (1962) ... Malloy
 1963 Ladybug Ladybug
Mr. John Calkins - the School Principal
 1963 East Side/West Side (TV Series)
Principal Costigan
- I Before E Except After C (1963) ... Principal Costigan
 1961-1962 Naked City (TV Series)
Harry Culverin / Herbert Grafton
- Idylls of a Running Back (1962) ... Harry Culverin
- A Kettle of Precious Fish (1961) ... Herbert Grafton
 1956-1961 Armstrong Circle Theatre (TV Series)
Leonard Gregory / Endre
- The Spy Next Door (1961) ... Leonard Gregory
 1959 Brenner (TV Series)
Larry Dyer
- Man in the Middle (1959) ... Larry Dyer
 1956 Robert Montgomery Presents (TV Series)
Donald Kemper - act 2
- Three Men from Tomorrow (1956) ... Donald Kemper - act 2
 1955 Justice (TV Series)

 Photo camera Credits 
* © 1972 Columbia Pictures

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