William Daniels (born March 31, 1927) is an American actor and former president of the Screen Actors Guild (from 1999 to 2001). He is known for his performances as John Adams in 1776, as Mr. Feeny in ABC's Boy Meets World, the voice of KITT in Knight Rider, and winning two Emmy Awards for the role of Dr. Mark Craig in St. Elsewhere.
Daniels was born in Brooklyn, New York
. He graduated from Northwestern University
in 1949 where he was a member of Sigma Nu
fraternity. He has been married to actress and fellow Emmy Award-winner Bonnie Bartlett
since June 30
. They have two children.
In 1969, Daniels starred as John Adams in the musical 1776
, as well as appearing in the movie 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.
In 1976, Daniels portrayed eldest son John Quincy Adams
in the acclaimed PBS
miniseries The Adams Chronicles
played John Adams). He provided the voice of KITT
in Knight Rider
from 1982 to 1986, again in 1991 (He requested not to be credited for that work) again in the movie The Benchwarmers
, and twice in The Simpson's
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. Daniels then portrayed the teacher George Feeny
at John Adams High School in Boy Meets World
from 1993 to 2000.
In 1986, both Daniels and his wife Bonnie Bartlett
, who also 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 series.
Northwestern University's annual William Daniels Awards (the "Willies") honors the top performers, directors, choreographers, etc. in campus theatre productions throughout the year.
- Daniels had a successful career as a stage actor; besides 1776, his Broadway credits include On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and A Little Night Music. He earned an Obie Award for The Zoo Story (1960). He has also appeared in several other films.
- Put in a memorable appearance in one episode of Soap as Heinrich Himmel, a german private investigator hired to investigate the murder of Peter Campbell. Benson decided to pick him up and sit him on their dessert.
- His motion picture debut was as a school principal in the 1963 anti-war drama Ladybug Ladybug.
- The father of the character Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate in 1967, despite being only ten years older than Hoffman.
- An officious social worker who tries to strip the protagonist of the custody of his nephew in A Thousand Clowns (1965).
- Captain Nice, a comedy TV series that ran from January-May 1967 on NBC. Riding the tide of the camp superhero craze of the 1960s, the show's premise involved police chemist Carter Nash, a mild-mannered mama's boy who discovered a secret formula that, when taken, transformed him into Captain Nice.
- A physician named John Bonifant in Death In the Family, the second made-for-TV movie of the 1970s Incredible Hulk TV series.
- The voice of KITT in Knight Rider.
- Played Austin Tucker in the 1974 film The Parallax View, across from Warren Beatty.
- An episode of The Rockford Files as high-handed District Attorney Gary Bevins, who conducts a grand-jury hearing at which Jim Rockford is subpoenaed to testify.
- Norman, a radio executive attending a Halloween party with coworkers; he appears dressed as a clown for the party, and unwittingly picks up Cylon hitchhikers in the Galactica 1980, episode "The Night the Cylons Landed".
- The voice of Scythe 2.0. in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, episode "Scythe 2.0.".
- The voice of a robot in an episode of Kim Possible.
- Guest starred in an episode of Scrubs. His appearance involved three other cast members from St. Elsewhere; they played hospitalized doctors.
- Howard Manchester in 1967's Two for the Road.
- George Summers in the 1977 Carl Reiner film Oh, God!.
- Arthur Spooner's nemesis, Philip Waldecott in The King Of Queens.
- The un-named judge in the 2007 movie Code Name: The Cleaner.
- He played a skating commissioner in Blades of Glory.
- A part in The Closer.
- A part in the TV series Quincy, M.E.
- The father of Richard Lestrange in The Blue Lagoon (1980 film)
- An average American suburban father in The President's Analyst
- Mr. George Feeny, Principal and Neighbour in Boy Meets World
- Judge Milton Brody, during the fifth season of Boston Legal