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August 03, 2020

William Windom of 'Murder, She Wrote' — Life and Death of the Beloved TV Actor

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William Windom portrayed a wide variety of roles in both film and television throughout his career that spanned about six decades. He was best known for his role as Dr. Seth Hazlitt in the 1984 TV series, "Murder, She Wrote."

On September 28, 1923, Windom was born in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA. His parents were Isobel Wells and Paul Windom, an architect

Windom was educated at Williams College, Massachusetts. He served as a paratrooper during the second world war. 

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After that, he enrolled in the new American University in Biarritz, France. It was there that he began acting, and he proceeded on his return to the United States.

In November of 1946, he made his minor Broadway debut in roles of various sizes in an American Repertory Theatre season. These include Shakespeare's "Henry VIII," and Shaw's "Androcles and the Lion."

In the early 1950s, Windon acted not only on stage but also on television. He starred in "Robert Montgomery Presents" (1950) and "Hallmark Hall of Fame" (1951).

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His career continued for the next decades. He appeared on several popular shows, including "Combat!" (1962), "The Fugitive" (1963), "The Farmer's Daughter" (1963), and "My World and Welcome to It" (1969).

His role as cartoonist John Monroe in the short-lived comedy "My World and Welcome to It, earned him a Primetime Emmy Award.

For over a decade, Windom became a regular on the popular crime drama, "Murder, She Wrote" (1984).

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Meanwhile, his film debut came when he was picked to star on "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962). He played as District Attorney Horace Gilmer.

His other notable movies include "Cattle King" (1963), "The Detective" (1968), "Brewster McCloud" (1970), and "The Man" (1972).

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Windom became slier and stockier throughout the years. He provided television audiences a beautiful display of characters, running from avuncular and charming to cranky and corrupt. 

For over a decade, Windom became a regular on the popular crime drama, "Murder, She Wrote" (1984). He played as Seth Hazlitt, a doctor and a friend to Angela Lansbury's Jessica Fletcher.

In August 2012, Windom passed away at his home in Woodacre, California from congestive heart failure. He was 88.

The actor, who was also a competitive chess player and an avid sailor, is survived by his fifth wife, Patricia, and four children — Rebel, Rachel, Hope, and Heather.

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