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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

William Windom

Erik Estrada vs. Windom at the Hollywood Celebrity Tournament 1988
     Actor William Windom, a Manhattan-born character actor, was born September 28, 1923, the son of Paul Windom, an architect, and the former Isobel Wells Peckham. He attended Williams College and the University of Kentucky, among others, before serving in the Army during WWII. as a paratrooper.
     After the war, he studied at both Fordham and Columbia universities in New York City before settling on an acting career and made his minor Broadway debut in November of 1946.
     In the early 1950s he in got into television. In addition to hundreds of guest appearances on the most popular shows of the day (Combat! (1962), The Fugitive (1963), All in the Family (1971), Dallas (1978), Highway to Heaven (1984)), his best work included a co-starring role opposite Inger Stevens in the popular light comedy series The Farmer's Daughter (1963). On the show, Windom portrayed widower "Glenn Morley", a decent congressman who eventually falls in love with his pert and pretty Swedish governess "Katy Holstrum" (played by Stevens). Despite the show's critical merit and Windom's "Best Actor" Emmy win, the show lasted only one season.
     Windom provided TV audiences with a colorful gallery of characters. He became a regular for over a decade on the Angela Lansbury whodunit series Murder, She Wrote (1984), joining the show in its second season as "Dr. Seth Hazlitt". He briefly left Murder to work on another series, Parenthood (1990), which was based on the highly popular 1989 movie starring Steve Martin. The show was off the air within a few months, however, and Windom was invited back to the mystery series -- a semi-regular until the show folded in 1997.
     In addition, Windom did a Star Trek (1966) portrayal as "Commodore Matt Decker," appeared in scores of mini-movies, did various book readings, presented a second one-man show (that of combat reporter Ernie Pyle), and continued to film at age 80-plus, his latest being Yesterday's Dreams (2005).
     Windom was married five times, the last for 36 years to writer Patricia Veronica Tunder. Windor was a chess, tennis and sailing enthusiast and was profiled in Chess Life magazine twice. One of his positions appeared in a Chess Life problem column before the magazine interviewed him. Windom was also a tournament player with a rating in the mid-1600’s. During an interview he once said that he planned to have a large Rook made of Nubian marble and cap it with a compass rose, "and one day my ashes will be buried underneath it".      Windom died August 16, 2012 of congestive heart failure at his home in Woodacre, California.
     Below is the only Windom game I could locate, a loss to Koltanowski who was playing a blindfold simultaneous. Windom played very well and was holding his own until he unwisely took the offered B on move 25.

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