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Remembering William Windom
August 20, 2012  | By Bill Brioux  | 5 comments
William Windom's death last Thursday brings up another indelible memory from that last stop on the fame machine, the Hollywood Show.

Back in 1997, the Emmy-winning actor, who died of heart failure at 88, was among many celebrities from TV's "Golden Age" taking part in autograph meet-and-greets with fans. At the time it was held at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn in North Hollywood.

Windom always seemed to stand out no matter what show he was on, including episodes of The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery.

I was a big fan of his one-season wonder My World and Welcome to It (1969-70), a thinly disguised sitcom based on the life and works of cartoonist/humourist James Thurber. Windom played a curmudgeonly cartoonist and I probably liked the show at the time because it featured these little animated sequences inspired by Thurber's stark, two-dimensional style.

Lisa Gerritsen played the daughter on the series and would go on to appear the next season on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Sheldon Leonard, legendary Dick Van Dyke Show executive producer, ran this series, too.

When I spotted Windom at the autograph show he was sitting next to former Jackie Gleason Show regular Sheila MacRae and just down from Ken Berry and Larry Storch from F Troop. You got older stars at the Hollywood Show back then because, well, they were still around.

Windom did not bring any stills from My World and Welcome To It to this particular Hollywood Show as I recall. He might have had a few photos from his three seasons on The Farmer's Daughter or his later years on Murder, She Wrote. What I know he had was a stack of black and white 8x10s from his one episode appearance as commodore Matt Decker from the original Star Trek. When I asked him why he brought so many Star Trek photos, Windom, a practical man, said, "if you're going to a snowball fight, bring snow."

Eccentric and fidgety, I noticed he kept monkeying with an old navy telescope gizmo, a small brass thing he kept looking through when he wasn't being bugged for his John Hancock.

"Check this out," he finally said to me. I looked through it and realized that it was a trick telescope with a mirror in it so you could look directly sideways from where it appeared you were looking. Windom, married five times in his life, was scoping out the Playboy bunnies signing at a nearby table.

The man knew what to bring to the show.
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Vincent Hawkins.
Both my wife and I loved watching Mr Windom in murder she wrote.
His sensce of humour was priceless.
We still watch the reruns here in the UK and like them very much.
Jan 13, 2020   |  Reply
I had a store in San Anselmo,Ca near where Mr Windom lived it was around 1995 I was in the back of the store it was dead so I was bagging some magazines and I hear this real distinctive voice boom "do yo have Playboy magazine" I knew that voice so as I said no and looked up and so this older man that I knew who he was fro m his voice, but could not remember his name so I said I know who you are but couldn't remember his name after awhile he got a little perturbed and said to me "my name is Windom,William Windom!" and I said sorry but later he stopped back again and wanted my help to get some Star Trek comics and I told him again how I was such a big fan and asked for his autograph so I could hang on the store wall, he said sure and about a week went by, he comes in with a poster from a play he was in autographed to my store which was called "DREAMS "he was such a nice man.
Sep 7, 2012   |  Reply
A big fan of Thurber here.Danny Miller(Barney Miller) also produced "My World".The animation for the "My World" show was done by Depatie-Freleng,where ex-Looney Tune director Friz Freleng directed the Pink Panther.And if you like Thurber animated,the recent TCM/Sony UPA DVD vault collection of cartoons includes Thurber's "The Unicorn in the Garden"(1953) and TCM will be spooling a night of animation 10/21,including some of the UPA shorts(I don't know specific titles).
Aug 23, 2012   |  Reply
Just saw him on a Mannix rerun on Cloo. Simply put. Whatever character he was playing he was just plain good.
Aug 22, 2012   |  Reply
No matter how many tv shows and movies I've seen him in over the years whenever he came on screen the first thing that ran through my mind was a lovely Swedish voice saying, "Mr. Morley"
Aug 21, 2012   |  Reply
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