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Remembering William Windom

August 23, 2012

Playing two different men at opposite ends of the wealth ladder on two great shows is a distinct memory I have of the great character actor William Windom, who died at age 88 on August 16th (there is that date again, see 35 Years since Elvis died August 16th).

On the greatest and certainly the most groundbreaking television series in this country, “All in the Family,” Windom is an Army buddy of  “Archie Bunker” and has made a great financial success of himself. However, while being lauded by Archie and other “Army buddies,” it is revealed that Windom’s “Eddie Frazier” not only does not think much of the guys but is terribly hurt because his son does not want him in his life. When Rob Reiner’s “Mike Stivic” asks what does your son want from you? Windom delivers “He wants me to leave him alone,” providing the pathos that made “All in the Family” the great show that still endures in reruns and remains highly relevant over 40 years later.

On “Dallas,” Windom as a down and out man is seeking money from the very rich “Jock Ewing.”  It is Windom’s “Amos Krebbs” who tells “Jock” that he is “Ray Krebbs'” father. After a terse conversation with Jim Davis’ “Jock,” the down and out Krebbs leaves the revealing diary of Ray’s mother with Jock. This he thinks will help his chances of getting money. Windom leaves by saying “you will take care of the check.” The check was just for 2 coffees at a diner near “Jock’s” workplace. The effect was tremendous. So many different times in almost countless roles, Windom delivered what was needed.

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