RIP William Windom
This has been a bad weekend for show business. We lost director Tony Scott to an apparent suicide, singer/songwriter Scott McKenzie of “San Francisco” fame, and just today, Phyllis Diller. But for right now, I’m going to talk about Emmy Award winning actor William Windom.
Windom was perhaps one of the best character actors in television, film and stage. He was memorable in “The Farmer’s Daughter,” “Star Trek,” “Night Gallery,” a recurring role on “Murder, She Wrote,” and multiple episodes of “Twilight Zone.” You might also remember him from the films To Kill a Mockingbird, Escape from the Planet of the Apes and The Detective among others.
But the reason I remember William Windom is a short-lived NBC TV series called “My World and Welcome to It.” My big sister Bobbie, for whom I am eternally grateful for teaching me to read at a very young age, insisted I watch the show when I was just a wee one. At the time, I might have thought she put me in front of the TV because it had cartoons in it, but in reality, she was exposing me to a great writer – James Thurber.
The show revolved around a writer and cartoonist based on Thurber and played by Windom, who won an Emmy for his work there. Most of the content of this unique half-hour sitcom was either based on Thurber’s stories, essays and cartoons, or on his own life. The one animated sequence that stands out in my mind is “The Unicorn in the Garden.” Years later I would find the tale in a book and discover one of my favorite authors.
Thank you, Bobbie, for introducing me to James Thurber, and thank you, William Windom, for bringing him to life. Windom passed away on Thursday from congestive heart failure. He was 88, and he will be missed.