Arthur Edward Spence Hill (August 1, 1922 – October 22, 2006) was a Canadian actor best known for appearances in British and American theatre, films, and television. He attended the University of British Columbia and continued his acting studies in Seattle, Washington.
Early life and education
Hill was born in Melfort, Saskatchewan, the son of Edith Georgina (Spence) and Olin Drake Hill, a lawyer. Hill served as a mechanic in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II and attended the University of British Columbia, where he studied law, but was lured to the stage.
Hill made his Broadway debut as Cornelius Hackl in the 1957 revival of Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker. In 1963 he won the Tony Award for Best Dramatic Actor for his portrayal of George in the original Broadway production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (with Uta Hagen). His other Broadway credits include Ben Gant in the original production of Ketti Frings's Look Homeward, Angel (1957), All the Way Home (1960), Something More! (1964), and More Stately Mansions (1967).
He played Dr. Jeremy Stone in the film adaptation of Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain (1971). Other film work included roles in The Ugly American (1963) with Marlon Brando, Harper (1966), Richard Lester's Petulia (1968) with George C. Scott, The Chairman (1969), Sam Peckinpah's The Killer Elite (1975), Michael Crichton's Futureworld (1976), A Bridge Too Far (1977) (uncredited), and his narration on the film version of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983).
Arguably, Hill's most famous acting role was that of lawyer Owen Marshall, the lead role in the 1971–74 TV series Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law. He appeared on many other series, including The Reporter, a 1964 drama starring Harry Guardino. He also played Grandpa Lansford Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie (1976).
In 1966 he appeared as a special guest star in the Mission Impossible TV show episode "The Carriers" (S1:E10), in the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea episode "The Monster from the Inferno"; in 1967 in the TV show The Invaders episode "The Leeches"; and was a guest star in the pilot episode of Murder, She Wrote in 1984, returning to that same role in an episode in 1990. The same year he played the governor of California in a Columbo episode, Agenda for Murder; this was his last onscreen role.
Hill died in a Pacific Palisades, California, nursing home, aged 84, after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. His ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean. He is survived by his second wife, son and stepdaughter. Hill and his first wife, Peggy (Hansard), were married 56 years before her death in 1998, also of Alzheimer's.
- I Was a Male War Bride (1949) as Dependents Clearing Officer (uncredited)
- Miss Pilgrim's Progress (1949) as American Vice-Consul (uncredited)
- The Body Said No! (1950) as Robin King
- Mister Drake's Duck (1951) as American Vice Consul
- Scarlet Thread (1951) as Shaw
- Salute the Toff (1952) as Ted Harrison
- You're Only Young Twice (1952) as Mystery Man (uncredited)
- Penny Princess (1952) as Representative of Johnson K. Johnson (uncredited)
- Paul Temple Returns (1952) as Cranmer Guest
- A Day to Remember (1953) as Al
- Life with the Lyons (1954) as Slim Cassidy
- The Crowded Day (1954) as Alice's Escort
- Raising a Riot (1955) as American Sergeant (uncredited)
- The Deep Blue Sea (1955) as Jackie Jackson
- The Young Doctors (1961) as Tomaselli
- The Ugly American (1963) as Grainger
- In the Cool of the Day (1963) as Sam Bonner
- Moment to Moment (1965) as Neil Stanton
- Harper (1966) as Albert Graves
- Petulia (1968) as Barney
- The Chairman (1969) as Shelby
- Don't Let the Angels Fall (1969) as Robert
- Rabbit, Run (1970) as Rev. Jack Eccles
- The Pursuit of Happiness (1971) as John Popper
- The Andromeda Strain (1971) as Dr. Jeremy Stone
- The Killer Elite (1975) as Cap Collis
- Futureworld (1976) as Duffy
- A Bridge Too Far (1977) as U.S. Medical Colonel
- The Champ (1979) as Mike
- A Little Romance (1979) as Richard King
- Butch and Sundance: The Early Days (1979) as Governor (uncredited)
- Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980) as Dale 'Diz' Corbett
- Dirty Tricks (1981) as Professor Prosser
- The Amateur (1981) as Brewer
- Making Love (1982) as Henry
- Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) as Narrator (voice)
- Murder in Space (1985) as Vice President
- One Magic Christmas (1985) as Caleb Grainger
- A Fine Mess (1986) (uncredited)