William Daniels

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William Daniels
William Daniels.jpg
Daniels at the Emmy Awards
September 20, 1987
BornWilliam David Daniels[1]
(1927-03-31) March 31, 1927 (age 87)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Alma materNorthwestern University
OccupationFilm, television, stage actor
Years active1950 – present
Spouse(s)Bonnie Bartlett (1951-present)
Children2 children
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For other people named William Daniels, see William Daniels (disambiguation).
William Daniels
William Daniels.jpg
Daniels at the Emmy Awards
September 20, 1987
BornWilliam David Daniels[1]
(1927-03-31) March 31, 1927 (age 87)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Alma materNorthwestern University
OccupationFilm, television, stage actor
Years active1950 – present
Spouse(s)Bonnie Bartlett (1951-present)
Children2 children

William David Daniels (born March 31, 1927) is an American actor and former president of the Screen Actors Guild (1999 to 2001). He is known for his performance as Dustin Hoffman's character's father in The Graduate (1967), as Howard in Two for the Road, as John Adams in 1776, as Carter Nash in Captain Nice, as Mr. George Feeny in ABC's Boy Meets World and its sequel, Disney Channel's Girl Meets World, as the voice of KITT in Knight Rider, and as Dr. Mark Craig in St. Elsewhere, for which he won two Emmy Awards.

Early life[edit]

William Daniels was born in Brooklyn, New York to Irene and David Daniels, although he has spoken with a Boston Brahmin accent (with some transatlantic influence) in many of his roles. His father was a builder.[1] He graduated from Northwestern University in 1949, where he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity.[citation needed]


William Daniels began his career as a member of the singing Daniels family in Brooklyn, New York. He made his television debut as part of a variety act (along with other members of his family) in 1943, on NBC, then a single station in New York.[2] He made his Broadway debut in 1945 in Life With Father, and remained a busy Broadway actor for decades afterwards. His Broadway credits include roles in 1776, A Thousand Clowns, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and A Little Night Music. He earned an Obie Award for The Zoo Story (1960).

Daniels' motion picture debut was as a school principal in the 1963 anti-war drama Ladybug Ladybug. In 1965, he reprised his Broadway role as a child welfare worker in the screen version of A Thousand Clowns. In 1967 he starred in The Graduate, with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. In 1969, Daniels starred as John Adams in the Broadway musical 1776; he also appeared in the film version in 1972. Two years later, he co-starred with Larry Hagman, Linda Blair and Mark Hamill in Richard Donner's telefilm Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic.

Daniels' first network television appearance came in 1952 when he portrayed the young John Quincy Adams, eldest son of John and Abigail Adams in the Hallmark Hall of Fame drama A Woman for the Ages. In 1976, he reprised the role as the middle-aged and elder John Quincy Adams in the acclaimed PBS miniseries The Adams Chronicles (George Grizzard played John Adams). He also starred in the short-lived series Captain Nice as police chemist Carter Nash, albeit telling an interviewer in TV Guide he hated the role.

He appeared as acid-tongued (but well-meaning) Dr. Mark Craig in St. Elsewhere from 1982 to 1988, for which he won two Emmy awards. Concurently, he provided the voice of KITT in Knight Rider from 1982 to 1986. Daniels said in 1982, "My duties on Knight Rider are very simple. I do it in about an hour and a half. I've never met the cast. I haven't even met the producer."[2]

He reprised the voice-only role of KITT in 1991 for the television movie Knight Rider 2000, again in the movie The Benchwarmers. He performed the role in AT&T and GE commercials about talking machines, and twice in The Simpsons as well as at the Comedy Central Roast of his co-star David Hasselhoff.[3]

He also performed the voice for a special edition GPS sold by Radio Shack.[citation needed]

Daniels then portrayed teacher (later principal) George Feeny at John Adams High School in Boy Meets World from 1993 to 2000. In addition to the previously mentioned 1967 superhero sitcom Captain Nice, he was a regular on the 1970s TV series Freebie and the Bean and The Nancy Walker Show. A familiar character actor, he has appeared as a guest star on numerous TV comedies and dramas, including Soap, The Rockford Files, Quincy, M.E., and many others.

In 2012, Daniels appeared in the 9th season of Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Craig Thomas, an unlikely mentor to the character of Dr. Cristina Yang played by actress Sandra Oh. His character, Dr. Thomas, died in the operating room while performing a procedure to repair a heart defect midway through the season, which forced Yang to move back to Seattle.

In 2014, Daniels reprised his role as Mr. Feeny in the pilot episode of the "Boy Meets World" spinoff, Girl Meets World. His role was a cameo at the end credits praising the adult Cory Matthews for his parenting.[4]

Bartlett and Daniels both served on Screen Actors Guild's Board of Directors.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Daniels and his wife, Bonnie Bartlett at the 1987 Emmy Awards

Daniels has been married to actress and fellow Emmy Award-winner Bonnie Bartlett since June 30, 1951. The couple has two children.[citation needed]


Daniels refused the 1969 Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor in a Musical in 1776 due to his insistence that the part of John Adams was a leading role rather than supporting.[6]

In 1986, both Daniels and his wife, Bonnie Bartlett, who played his fictional wife on St. Elsewhere and Boy Meets World, won Emmy Awards on the same night, becoming the first married couple to accomplish the feat since Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in 1965. Lunt and Fontanne were the first to win Emmy Awards for a film, and Bartlett and Daniels were the first couple to win for a television series.[citation needed]


1952A Woman for the AgesJohn Quincy AdamsTV Movie
1963Ladybug LadybugMr. Calkins
1965A Thousand ClownsAlbert Amundson
1967Two for the RoadHoward Manchester
The GraduateMr. Braddock
The President's AnalystWynn Quantrill
1969MarloweMr. Crowell
19721776John Adams
1973Murdock's GangRoger BatesTV Movie
The Fabulous Doctor FableElliot BordenTV Movie
1974A Case of RapeLeonard AlexanderTV Movie
The Parallax ViewAustin Tucker
1975Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage AlcoholicMatt HodgesTV Movie
One of Our OwnDr. MoresbyTV Movie
1976Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy IncidentBissellTV Movie
That Was the Year That Was - 1976Sketch ActorTV Movie
1977Black SundayPugh
Oh, God!George Summers
Killer on BoardMarshall SnowdenTV Movie
1978The One and OnlyMr. Crawford
FamilyDr. Taylor
The BastardSamuel AdamsTV Movie
Big Bob Johnson and His Fantastic Speed CircusLawrence Stepwell IIITV Movie
Sergeant Matlovich vs. the U.S. Air ForceFather VellerTV Movie
1979The Chinese TypewriterDevlinTV Movie
The RebelsJohn AdamsTV Movie
1980City in FearFreeman StirblingTV Movie
The Blue LagoonArthur Lestrange
Father Damien: The Leper PriestBishop KoeckemannTV Movie
1981All Night LongRichard H. Copleston
The Million Dollar FaceHenry BurnsTV Movie
RedsJulius Gerber
1982Rehearsal for MurderWalter LambTV Movie
RoosterDr. DeVegaTV Movie
Drop-Out FatherDraper WrightTV Movie
1987Blind DateJudge Harold Bedford
The Little Match GirlHaywood DuttonTV Movie
1989Her AlibiSam
Howard Beach: Making a Case for MurderSlaneyTV Movie
1990On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia StoryJohn Nicks
1991Knight Rider 2000KITTVoice
1992Back to the Streets of San FranciscoJudge Julius BurnsTV Movie
1994Magic Kid 2Manny
1996The LotteryReverend HutchinsonTV Movie
2006The BenchwarmersKITTVoice
2007Blades of GloryCommissioner Ebbers


1956Robert Montgomery PresentsDonald KemperEpisode: "Three Men From Tomorrow"
Armstrong Circle TheatreLeonard GregoryEpisode: "Five Who Shook the Mighty"
Episode: "Separate Parents"
Episode: "The Spy Next Door"
1959BrennerLarry DyerEpisode: "Man in the Middle"
Naked CityHerbert Grafton
Harry Culverin
Episode: "A Kettle of Precious Fish"
Episode: "Idyllis of a Running Back"
The DefendersMalloy
Mike Herman
Episode: "The Locked Room"
Episode: "A Voice Loud and Clear"
1963East Side/West SidePrincipal CostiganEpisode: "I Before E Except After C"
The Doctors and the NursesVernon Kane
Episode: "Field of Battle"
Episode: "A Couple of Dozen Tiny Pills"
1965For the PeopleFred RiceEpisode: "Any Benevolent Purpose"
1966T.H.E. CatTony WebbEpisode: "The Ring of Anasis"
1967Captain NiceCarter Nash / Captain Nice
1968The Good GuysArnold SchreckEpisode: "Let 'em Eat Rolls"
1968The Ghost & Mrs. MuirBlair ThompsonEpisode: "Mr. Perfect"
1969Judd, for the DefenseHarry StrattonEpisode: "Epitaph on a Computer Card"
1972CannonDale CoreyEpisode: "Hear No Evil"
1973Love, American StyleAlanSegment: "Love and the Old Lover"
1973IronsideStillwald, the Bank ManagerEpisode: "All Honorable Men"
McCloudClayton Gills
Fred Pearson
Episode: "Butch Cassidy Rides Again"
Episode: "The Day New York Turned Blue"
1974Kolchak: The Night StalkerPolice Lt. Jack MatteoEpisode: "The Vampire"
1975InsightMike MaddenEpisode: "Hunger Knows My Name"
1975Barbary CoastBoyleEpisode: "Irish Luck"
1975The Bob Newhart ShowEdgar T. Vickers Jr.Episode: "Fathers and Sons and Mothers"
1976The Adams ChroniclesJohn Quincy Adams (age 50-81)
1976McMillan & WifeCommander CampbellEpisode: "Point of Law"
1976The Rockford FilesThomas Caine
Gary Bevins
Episode: The Italian Bird Fiasco
Episode: So Help Me God
1976-1977The Nancy Walker ShowLt. Commander Kenneth Kitteridge
Quincy, M.E.Paul Reardon
Charlie Trusdale
Dr. Charlie Volmer
Episode: "A Star is Dead"
Episode: "Dark Angel"
Episode: "Last Rights"
1977The Incredible HulkDr. John BonifantEpisode: "Death in the Family"
1978SoapHeinrich HimmelSeason 1, Episode 16
1978FamilyDr. TaylorEpisode: "Counterpoint"
1978Grandpa Goes to WashingtonGov. BronxEpisode: "Pilot"
1978Greatest Heroes of the BibleChasrubalEpisode: "Joshua and the Battle of Jericho"
1979Blind AmbitionG. Gordon Liddy
1980The Misadventures of Sheriff LoboDr. Walter TaylorEpisode: "Who's the Sexiest Girl in the World"
1980Galactica 1980Norman BloreEpisodes: The Night the Cylons Landed Part 1 & 2
1980-1981Freebie and the BeanDistrict Attorney Walter W. Cruikshank4 episodes
1981Trapper John, M.D.Dr. SlaterEpisode: "Second Sight"
1981Private BenjaminTeddyEpisode: "Bye, Bye Benjamin"
1982Hart to HartSimon RichardsonEpisode: "Hartless Hobby"
1982-1986Knight RiderKITTVoice
1982-1988St. ElsewhereDr. Mark Craig
1986Faerie Tale TheatreNarratorEpisode: "The Princess Who Had Never Laughed"
1991The General Motors Playwright TheatreDetective Lieutenant FineEpisode: "Clara"
1993NursesMr. KaplanEpisode: "Family Outing"
1993-2000Boy Meets WorldGeorge Feeny
Touched by an AngelWhit Russell
Episode: "Birthmarks"
Episode: "And a Nightingale Song"
The SimpsonsKITTEpisode: "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace" (Voice)
Episode: "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (Voice)
2000Star Trek: VoyagerHospital Ship 4-2, Allocation AlphaVoice. Episode: "Critical Care"
2002ScrubsDr. DouglasEpisode: "My Sacrificial Clam"
2003Lost at HomeArthurEpisode: "Our Town"
2003The Lyon's DenJudge Franklin CampbellEpisode: "Blood"
2004The King of QueensPhilip WaldecottEpisode: "Icky Shuffle"
2004Kim PossibleRobot PilotVoice. Episode "Ron Millionaire"
2005The Grim Adventures of Billy & MandyScythe 2.0Voice. Episode: "Runaway Pants/Scythe 2.0"
2006The CloserCommissioner Andrew SchmidtEpisodes: "Serving the King Part 1 & 2"
2008Boston LegalJudge Milton BrodyEpisode: "Smoke Signals"
2012Paulilu MixtapeDr. VanderhoofEpisode: "Ghost Tits"
2012Grey's AnatomyDr. Craig Thomas5 episodes
2014Girl Meets WorldGeorge Feeny (Cameo)Episode: "Girl Meets World"


  1. ^ a b http://www.filmreference.com/film/17/William-Daniels.html
  2. ^ a b AP WIre Service story, published in The Toronto Star, November 19, 1982, Page D1
  3. ^ "William Daniels". IMDb. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Girl Meets World". Girl Meets World. June 22, 2014 (Originally uploaded to iTunes on June 16, 2014 as a free download). Disney Channel.
  5. ^ "William Daniels Biography". Biography.com. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  6. ^ "Overview for William Daniels". TCM. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 

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