Jan. 20th, 1937
Los Angeles, California, USA
William Wellman Jr.'s Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Rangy, sturdy-looking actor William Wellman Jr., was born in Los Angeles on January 20, 1937, one of seven children born to legendary director William A. Wellman and his fourth wife, one-time actress Dorothy Coonan Wellman, who appeared in a few of her husband's pictures. Bill Jr. spent most of his childhood surround by Hollywood celebrity. He got the fresh taste of a film set as a youngster when he appeared unbilled in a couple of his father's features. Following graduation, he attended Duke University but eventually abandoned that direction for a career in the movies.
Starting off in featured parts in the war pictures Lafayette Escadrille (1958) and Darby's Rangers (1958), both of which directed by his father, Bill Jr. found other work on his own in less quality films. Some of the teen exploitation he found himself in have since attained cult status, including High School Confidential! (1958), Macumba Love (1960) and College Confidential (1960). "Billy Jack" director Tom Laughlin (I) also began using Bill prominently in his early work such as Like Father, Like Son (1965) [The Young Sinner] and The Born Losers (1967). In sparser times he managed to find some unbilled bits in several of Jerry Lewis (I)'s film slapstick of the 1960s, and fell in with the party crowd in A Swingin' Affair (1963), Winter A-Go-Go (1965) and A Swingin' Summer (1965). His TV career kicked in as the 1960s approached with a number of rugged guest roles on such established westerns as "Have Gun, Will Travel," "Rawhide," "Laramie" and "Gunsmoke."
In later years, Bill found work in a few more cult classics, including Black Caesar (1973), It's Alive (1974/I), and Laughlin's "Billy Jack" sequels. Establishing himself as a solid character actor, he took the lead in the apocalypse thrillers Image of the Beast (1980) and The Prodigal Planet (1983), the latter featuring daughter Cathy Wellman. While the quality of a number of his films over the years are certainly suspect, Bill has managed longevity and durability in a very difficult business. Moreover, he is credited with nearly 200 movies and television shows, 17 stage productions and some 200 commercial and industrial films. In addition to his acting work, his nearly 50-year career includes writing and producing efforts. He has occasionally appeared as a guest lecturer and has been active at autograph conventions. Of his many siblings, sister Cissy Wellman has also established herself on stage, film and TV.
- Ex-brother-in-law of 'James Franciscus' (qv).
- Son of 'William A. Wellman' (qv) and 'Dorothy Coonan Wellman' (qv).
- Father of 'Cathy Wellman' (qv).
- Penned his first book in honor of his father, "The Man and His WINGS: William A. Wellman and the Making of the First Best Picture."
- In 1981 he was awarded the Best Actor of The Year by the Christian Film Distributors for Heartland's Brother Enemy (1981). He was nominated again in 1982 for _The Prodigal Planet (1983)_ (qv).
- As the son of legendary director 'William A. Wellman' (qv), he grew up surrounded by Hollywood's elite, including 'Gary Cooper (I)' (qv), 'Tyrone Power' (qv), 'Henry Fonda' (qv), 'Carole Lombard (I)' (qv), 'Frank Capra' (qv), 'Lana Turner' (qv), 'John Payne (I)' (qv), 'Jennifer Jones (I)' (qv), 'Red Skelton', 'Peter Lawford' (qv) and 'William Boyd (I)' (qv) ("Hopalong Cassidy"), among a host of others.
- Interviewed in 'Tom Weaver (I)' (qv)'s "Eye on Science Fiction" (McFarland & Co., 2003).
- Brother of actor 'Michael Wellman' (qv),'Gloria Wellman' (qv), 'Kathleen 'Kitty' Wellman' (qv), Maggie Wellman and 'Cissy Wellman' (qv).
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