Parcells, Bill, 1941-, American football coach, b. Englewood, N.J., as Duane Charles Parcells, nicknamed "the Big Tuna." He played for Colgate and Wichita State before being drafted (1964) and cut by the Detroit Lions. He then coached for six college teams before becoming (1978) head coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Two years later, he entered the National Football League's coaching ranks as defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, and became head coach of the faltering New York Giants in 1983. NFL Coach of the Year in 1986 and 1989, he led the Giants to Super Bowl wins in 1987 and 1991, when he left coaching to become a broadcaster. Parcells returned to football in 1993 as head coach of the struggling New England Patriots and revived the team, which made it to the Super Bowl in 1997. Parcells subsequently coached the New York Jets (1997-2000) and Dallas Cowboys (2003-7), turning lackluster teams into conference contenders. In 2007 he became head of football operations for the Miami Dolphins.

See his autobiography (with M. Lupica, 1987); his Finding a Way to Win (with J. Coplon, 1995); B. Gutman, Parcells: A Biography (2000); M. Shropshire, When the Tuna Went Down to Texas (2004).

Gates, Bill (William Henry Gates 3d), 1955-, American business executive, b. Seattle, Wash. At the age of 19, Gates founded (1974) the Microsoft Corp., a computer software firm, with Paul Allen. They began by purchasing the rights to convert an existing software package. In 1980 they agreed to produce the operating system for the personal computer being developed by International Business Machines (IBM). That system, MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System), and subsequent programs (including the Windows operating systems) made Microsoft the world's largest producer of software for microcomputers.

In 1997 the U.S. Justice Dept. accused Microsoft of violating a 1995 antitrust agreement, because the Windows 95 operating system required consumers to load Microsoft's Internet browser—thus giving Microsoft a monopolistic advantage over other browser manufacturers. In late 1999 the trial judge decided that Microsoft was a monopoly that had stifled competition, and the following June he ordered the breakup of Microsoft into two companies, a decision that Microsoft appealed. Although the appeals court overturned (2001) the breakup, it agreed that Microsoft had stifled competition and returned the case to a lower court for resolution. Subsequently the government and the company agreed to a settlement that placed some restrictions on Microsoft but would not essentially diminish the advantage its operating system monopoly gave the software giant; several states contested the settlement, but a judge approved it in 2002. In the European Union the company has also faced scrutiny over anticompetitive concerns, and there it has several times been fined hundreds of millions of euros.

Gates, who is chairman of Microsoft, is one of the wealthiest persons in the world. In 1994 he founded the William H. Gates Foundation (focusing on health issues in developing countries) and in 1997 established the Gates Library Foundation, later renamed the Gates Learning Foundation (providing education assistance). In 1999 the former was renamed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the latter was merged (2000) into it. In 2008 Gates, while remaining as company chairman, withdrew from daily participation in the running of Microsoft in order to devote more time to the foundation. He has written The Road Ahead (1995, with N. Myhrvold and P. Rinearson) and Business @ the Speed of Thought (1999).

See J. Wallace, Hard Drive (1992).

Walsh, Bill (William Ernest Walsh), 1931-2007, American football coach, b. Los Angeles. He played football at San Jose State Univ. (B.A. 1955, M.A. 1959) and went into coaching, becoming an assistant college coach at the Univ. of California, Berkeley (1960-62) and Stanford Univ. (1963-65). Coaching in the National Football League as an offensive specialist from 1966, he was an assistant in Oakland, Cincinnati (1968), and San Diego (1976) before returning to Stanford as head coach and leading the team to bowl game wins (1977, 1978). In 1979 he returned to the NFL to coach the then-dismal San Francisco 49ers, where with such players as Joe Montana and later Jerry Rice he perfected a version of the West Coast offense, emphasizing a mix of shorter-range, precision passes to one of at least two possible receivers. The 49ers successful passing game led to three Super Bowl championships in the 1980s. Walsh, whose offense made him the most influential professional football coach of the late 20th cent., retired in 1989 to become a sportscaster, but returned to Stanford as head coach for the 1992-94 seasons. He subsequently held consulting and managerial positions with the 49ers and Stanford until 2006.

See biography by D. Harris (2008).

Frist, Bill (William Harrison Frist), 1952-, American politician and physician, b. Nashville, Tenn., grad. Princeton (B.A., 1974), Harvard Medical School (M.D., 1978). From a distinguished medical family, Frist became a thoracic surgeon and a specialist in heart and lung transplantation. He founded the Transplant Center at Nashville's Vanderbilt Univ. Medical Center and subsequently directed the unit. Frist got his first taste of politics during his college years when he served (1972) as a congressional intern. In 1994 he was elected senator from Tennessee as a Republican, becoming the first practicing physician to attain the office since 1928. He was named a deputy senatorial whip in 1999 and, after his reelection in 2000, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Legislatively, the generally conservative Frist focused on health-care issues. After Trent Lott was forced to resign as Senate majority leader in 2002, Frist was chosen to succeed him. Frist did not run for reelection in 2006.
Veeck, Bill (William Louis Veeck, Jr.), 1914-86, American baseball executive, b. Chicago. The son of an owner of the Chicago Cubs, Veeck began his executive career with the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association, then owned the Cleveland Indians (1947-49), St. Louis Browns (1951-53), and Chicago White Sox (1959-61, 1976-80) of the American League. He became famous for crowd-increasing gimmicks like the "exploding" scoreboard, assorted giveaways, and the appearance at bat of the midget Eddie Gaedel (1952). Veeck also integrated the American League by hiring Larry Doby in 1947, weeks after Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National League.

See his Veeck—As in Wreck (with E. Linn; 1962, repr. 2001) and The Hustler's Handbook (with E. Linn; 1965, repr. 1989); biography by G. Eskenazi (1988).

Ford, Bill: see under Ford, Henry.
Clinton, Bill (William Jefferson Clinton), 1946-, 42d President of the United States (1993-2001), b. Hope, Ark. His father died before he was born, and he was originally named William Jefferson Blythe 4th, but after his mother remarried, he assumed the surname of his stepfather. After graduating from Georgetown Univ. (1968), attending the Univ. of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar (1968-70), and receiving a law degree from Yale Univ. (1973), Clinton returned to his home state, where he was a lawyer and (1974-76) law professor. In 1974 he was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. Two years later, he was elected Arkansas's attorney general, and in 1978 he won the Arkansas governorship, becoming the nation's youngest governor. Defeated for reelection in 1980, he regained the governorship in 1982 and retained it in two subsequent elections. Generally regarded as a moderate Democrat, he headed the centrist Democratic Leadership Council from 1990 to 1991.

In 1992, Clinton won the Democratic presidential nomination after a primary campaign in which his character and private life were repeatedly questioned and, with running mate Senator Al Gore of Tennessee, went on to win the election, garnering 43% of the national vote in defeating Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush and independent H. Ross Perot. By his election, he became the first president born after World War II to serve in the office and the first to lead the country in the post-cold war era.

In his first year in office, Clinton won passage of a national service program and of tax increases and spending cuts to reduce the federal deficit. He also proposed major changes in the U.S. health-care system that ultimately would have provided health-insurance coverage to most Americans. Clinton was unable to overcome widespread opposition to changes in the health-care system, however, and in a major policy defeat, failed to win passage of his plan. After this failure, his proposed programs were never as sweeping. The president's wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he married in 1975, played a more visibly active role in her husband's first term than most first ladies; she was particularly prominent in his attempt to revamp the health-care system.

In 1994, Clinton sent U.S. forces to Haiti as part of the negotiated restoration of Jean-Bertrand Aristide's presidency. He also withdrew U.S. forces from Somalia (1994), where while helping to avert famine they had suffered casualties in a futile effort to capture a Somali warlord. Clinton promoted peace negotiations in the Middle East, which bore fruit in important agreements, and in the former Yugoslavia, which led to a peace agreement in late 1995. He also restored U.S. diplomatic relations with Vietnam in 1995.

After the Democratic party lost control of both houses of Congress in Nov., 1994, in elections that were regarded as a strong rebuff to the president, Clinton appeared to have lost some of his political initiative. He was often criticized for vacillating on issues; at the same time, he was embroiled in conflict with sometimes radically conservative Republicans in Congress, whose goals in education, Medicare, and other areas often were at odds with his own. In 1995 and 1996, congressional Republicans and Clinton clashed over budget and deficit-reduction priorities, leading to two partial federal government shutdowns. Perceived as the victor in those conflicts, Clinton regained some of his standing with the public. Allegations of improper activities by the Clintons relating to Whitewater persisted but were not proved, despite congressional and independent counsel investigations.

By 1996, Clinton had succeeded in characterizing the Republican agenda as extremist while himself adopting many aspects of it. Forced to compromise on such items as welfare reform in order to assure passage of any change, Republicans passed bills that often seemed as much part of the president's program as their own. The welfare bill that he signed at the end of his term revolutionized the system, requiring that recipients work, while providing them with various subsidies to aid in the transition. Clinton won renomination by his party unopposed in 1996. Benefiting from a basically healthy economy, he handily won reelection in Nov., 1996, garnering 49% of the vote against Republican candidate Bob Dole and Reform party candidate Ross Perot, and became the first Democratic president since Franklin Roosevelt to win two terms at the polls.

In 1997, Clinton and the Republicans agreed on a deal that combined tax cuts and reductions in spending to produce the first balanced federal budget in three decades. The president now seemed to have mastered the art of employing incremental, rather than large-scale, governmental action to effect change, leaving the Republicans, with their announced mandate for fundamental change, to appear visionary and extreme. Having taken the center, and with stock markets continuing to boom and unemployment low, Clinton enjoyed high popularity, presiding over an enormous national surge in prosperity and innovation.

At the beginning of 1998, however, ongoing investigations into his past actions engulfed him in the Lewinsky scandal, and for the rest of the year American politics were convulsed by the struggle between the president and his Republican accusers, which led to his impeachment on Dec. 19. He thus became the first elected president to be impeached (Andrew Johnson, the only other chief executive to be impeached, fell heir to the office when Pres. Lincoln was assassinated). It was apparent, however, that much of the public, while fascinated by the scandal, held the impeachment drive to be partisan and irrelevant to national affairs. In Jan., 1999, two impeachment counts were tried in the Senate, which on Feb. 12 acquitted Clinton. In the year following, U.S. domestic politics returned to something like normality, although the looming campaign for the 2000 presidential election began to overshadow Clinton's presidency. During both his terms Clinton took an active interest in environmental preservation, and by 2000 he had set aside more than three million acres (1.25 million hectares) of land in wilderness or national monuments, protecting more acreage in the lower 48 states than any other president.

The late 1990s saw a number of foreign-policy successes and setbacks for President Clinton. He continued to work for permanent peace in the Middle East, and his administration helped foster accords between the Palestinians and Israel in 1997 and 1999, but further negotiations in 2000 proved unsuccessful. Iraq's Saddam Hussein increased his resistance to UN weapons inspections in the late 1990s, leading to U.S. and British air attacks in late 1998; attacks continued at a lower level throughout much of 1999 while the issue of weapons inspections remained unresolved. In Apr.-June, 1999, a breakdown in an attempt to achieve a negotiated settlement in Kosovo sparked a 78-day U.S.-led NATO air war that forced the former Yugoslavia to cede control of the province, but not before Yugoslav forces had made refugees of millions and killed several thousand.

The second term of Clinton's presidency saw a pronounced effort to use international trade agreeements to foster political changes in countries throughout the world, including Russia, China (with whom he established normal trade relations in 2000), Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia. While global trade flourished, Clinton's hopes that trade would lead to democratization and improved human rights policies in a number of countries by and large failed to be realized. In 1997 the Clinton administration had won ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (signed 1993), but it refused to join in a major international treaty banning land mines. The Republican-dominated Senate narrowly rejected the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in late 1999 in a major policy setback; in late 2000, Clinton made the United States a party to the 1998 Rome Treaty on the establishment of an International Criminal Court for war crimes.

Clinton benefited during his entire presidency from a strong economy, leading the country during an unprecedented period of economic expansion and, with some partisan critics giving credit to skill and some to luck, making a steady national prosperity the hallmark of his administrations. He left office having revived and strengthened the national Democratic party, which he guided toward more centrist positions, emphasizing fiscal responsibility, championing the middle class, and reversing many of the public's negative stereotypes regarding the party's liberal stance. Although Vice President Al Gore failed to win the 2000 presidential election, he won a plurality of the popular vote, and the party scored some gains in Congress, especially the Senate. The president's pardoning, however, of more than 100 people on his last day in office sparked one final controversy. Several persons he pardoned were well connnected and even notorious but not apparently deserving, and even Clinton supporters and appointees were openly critical. Charges that pardons were obtained through bribery, however, appeared to be unfounded.

No one major accomplishment or program marked Clinton's terms in office; his many real achievements were mainly incremental, and were often overshadowed by setbacks. However, through his extraordinary ability to relate to ordinary Americans, his intelligence and wit, and his skill in manipulating the media, he maintained an unusual level of popularity and a high approval rating throughout most of two terms in office. Nonetheless, the Lewinsky scandal, in particular, permanently marred his presidency. This was so although the sexual affair at its core was neither unique for Clinton, who had had other extramarital liaisons, nor for the office, some of the earlier holders of which had engaged in similar, although much less publicized, behavior.

As he left office, Clinton faced mountains of legal bills and continued threats of legal action. The youngest former president since Theodore Roosevelt, he established his presidential library in Little Rock, Ark., and, moving to New York where his wife was now a senator, opened an office and foundation in Harlem. He remains an influential and generally popular figure, and became prominent in a number of causes, including international AIDS treatment. He joined with his predecessor to raise funds for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami (2004) and Hurricane Katrina (2005), and in 2005 was appointed to a two-year term as UN special envoy for tsunami recovery, with responsibility for sustaining the international efforts for its victims. In 2009 he was named UN special envoy to Haiti, focusing on supporting the island's economic and social developement, and following the 2010 earthquake there joined with his successor to raise funds for relief.

See his autobiography, My Life (2004). See also J. Brummett, Highwire (1994); E. Drew, On the Edge (1994) and Showdown (1996); D. Maraniss, First in His Class (1995); R. A. Posner, An Affair of State (1999); J. Klein, The Natural (2002); J. F. Harris, The Survivor (2005); N. Hamilton, Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency (2007); T. Branch, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (2009).

Belichick, Bill (William Stephen Belichick), 1952-, American professional football coach, b. Nashville, Tenn. The son of a college coach, he played football at Wesleyan Univ. He held various coaching positions in the National Football League before joining (1979) the New York Giants and becoming (1983) Bill Parcells' defensive coordinator. Subsequently, Belichick was head coach of the Cleveland Browns (1991-94) and assistant head coach of the New England Patriots (1996) and New York Jets (1997-99). Appointed to lead the Patriots in 2000, he guided the team to championships in 2001, 2003, and 2004, becoming the first NFL head coach to win three Super Bowls in four years. In 2007 the Patriots finished the season undefeated, but lost the Super Bowl.

See D. Halberstam, The Education of a Coach (2005).

Russell, Bill (William Felton Russell), 1934-, American basketball player, b. Monroe, La. Named an All-American while on the Univ. of San Francisco team, he played on the gold-medal-winning U.S. team at the 1956 Olympics. That year he joined the Boston Celtics; in his 13 seasons with the team he won the Most Valuable Player award five times. After leaving the Celtics in 1969 he was a television sports announcer and the coach (1973-77) of the Seattle SuperSonics.

See his autobiography Second Wind (1979) and his Red and Me (with A. Steinberg, 2009).

Mauldin, Bill (William Henry Mauldin), 1921-2003, American cartoonist, b. Mountain Park, N.Mex. During World War II, in which he served as an infantryman-cartoonist in Italy, France, and Germany, Mauldin achieved fame with his sardonic cartoons. He depicted the squalid yet often funny reality of the enlisted man's life mainly through the portrayal of two cynical and unkempt G.I.'s, Willie and Joe, who appeared in Stars and Stripes, the soldiers' newspaper, and elsewhere. Mauldin's cartoons won him two Pulitzer Prizes (1945 and 1959). He was also a political cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Chicago Sun-Times. Among his principal books of cartoons are Up Front (1945), A Sort of a Saga (1949), Bill Mauldin in Korea (1952), and The Brass Ring (1971). Mauldin appeared in the movies The Red Badge of Courage and Teresa (both: 1951).

See biography by T. DePastino (2008).

Williams, Bill: see Williams, William Sherley.
Monroe, Bill (William Smith Monroe), 1911-96, country singer, musician, and songwriter, often called the "father of bluegrass," b. Rosine, Ky. A mandolin and guitar player, Monroe founded the Blue Grass Boys in 1938, and the group began playing country and western music that mixed rural string-playing, folk ballads, blues, and white gospel-a style later known as bluegrass. Featuring Monroe's high tenor voice and virtuoso mandolin along with the fiddle, bass, guitar, and banjo, the band became known for its beautiful harmonies and driving rhythms. From 1945 on the group made a series of popular recordings, including New Muleskinner Blues and Kentucky Waltz. Monroe's own songs include Blue Moon of Kentucky and I Hear a Sweet Voice Calling. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

See biography by R. D. Smith (2000); N. V. Rosenberg, Bluegrass: A History (1985); Rooney, J., Bossmen: Bill Monroe and Muddy Waters (1991); T. Ewing, ed., The Bill Monroe Reader (2000); The Music of Bill Monroe: From 1936 to 1994 (4 CDs, 1994); High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music (documentary film, 1994).

Cosby, Bill (William Henry Cosby, Jr.), 1937-, American actor, b. Philadelphia. He became known as a comedian and was subsequently the first African-American actor to star in a dramatic series on television (I Spy, 1965-68). He has since starred in several television series, most notably the situation comedy The Cosby Show (1984-92), the most popular program on American television during the late 1980s. Cosby has won numerous Emmy awards and written several books, including Fatherhood (1986). He was inducted (1992) into the Television Hall of Fame, and six years later he was awarded a presidential medal.
Blass, Bill (William Ralph Blass), 1922-2002, American fashion designer, b. Fort Wayne, Ind. Active for three decades, he was most noted for high-quality, high-priced, and quintessentially American clothing featuring a look of sporty sophistication and offhand glamour. His polished classic style, which was less severe than that of many contemporaries, attracted a wide audience. Winner of numerous fashion awards, his designs included sportswear, rainwear, accessories, and evening wear. Beginning in the late 1960s, he also designed menswear. After establishing Bill Blass Limited in 1970, he expanded his line to include such diverse products as airline uniforms, luggage, chocolates, bed linens, and perfumes.

See his memoir Bare Blass (2002).

Shoemaker, Bill (William Lee Shoemaker), 1931-2003, American jockey, b. Fabens, Tex. A schoolboy wrestler and Golden Gloves boxer, he became a jockey and won his first race at age 18. The former all-time leader in career victories (8,833; surpassed in 1999 by Laffit Pincay, Jr.), he was one of the greatest American jockeys, with 11 victories in Triple Crown races. He also was the first jockey to win over $100 million. He retired in 1990 to become a trainer, working until 1997 despite being paralyzed in a 1991 automobile accident.
Bradley, Bill (William Warren Bradley), 1943-, American athlete and politician, b. Crystal City, Mo. He first gained wide attention as an All-America basketball player at Princeton. Graduating in 1965, he attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and in 1967-77 starred for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association. In 1979 he became a U.S. senator from New Jersey. Before retiring from the Senate in 1997, he gained a reputation as a reform-minded Democrat, influential especially on environmental, labor, and income-tax issues. Often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, Bradley became (1999) a candidate for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination, but he was defeated in the primaries by Al Gore. Bradley wrote about his visions for America's future in The Journey from Here (2000) and The New American Story (2007).

See his account of his Knicks years, Life on the Run (1976), and his memoir, Time Present, Time Past (1996).

Robinson, Bill, 1878-1949, African-American tap dancer popularly known as "Bojangles," b. Richmond, Va., as Luther Robinson. An influential virtuoso tap dancer, he was a tap innovator and reputedly the first to dance on the balls of his feet instead of in the earlier flat-footed style. For many years he performed on the black entertainment circuit, joining (1886) a touring musical troupe, beginning (1906) a successful stage and nightclub career, and dancing for years in vaudeville. Robinson achieved wide acclaim for his appearance on Broadway in Blackbirds of 1928 and later starred in the musical The Hot Mikado (1939). He was in 14 Hollywood features in the 1930s and 40s, including In Old Kentucky (1935) and Stormy Weather (1943), and made four movies with Shirley Temple, including The Little Colonel (1935), in which he performed his famous "stair" dance with the child star, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938).

See biography by J. Haskins and N. R. Mitgang (1988, repr. 1999).

Rodgers, Bill, 1947-, American distance runner, b. Hartford, Conn. He helped to popularize distance running in the U.S. He won the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon four times each between 1975 and 1980.

Bill may refer to:


Other objects called 'bill'

  • Beak, an alternative name for a bird beak
  • Paper currency or banknote, in North American usage
  • Invoice, another word for a commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer
  • Peninsulas of land jutting out into the sea, such as the 'Portland Bill'
  • Police, with 'old bill' as a slang term in the UK




See also

Bill the duck in Animal Crossing

Search another word or see billon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature