|Was||Actor Television actor|
|From||United States of America|
|Field||Film, TV, Stage & Radio|
|Birth||16 July 1918, Oak Park, Cook County, Illinois, USA|
|Death||3 October 1959, Malibu, Los Angeles County, California, USA (aged 41 years)|
William Bishop (16 July 1918 – 3 October 1959) was an American film and television actor best known for playing the character of "Steve Connors" in NBC's television comedy series It's a Great Life. In his short acting career from 1943 to 1959, he appeared in over 70 film and television productions.
Early life and education
William Bishop was born as William Paxton Bishop on July 16, 1918, in Oak Park, Illinois, to Edward T. Bishop and Helen MacArthur Bishop. He had a brother, Robert. His uncle was famous American playwright Charles MacArthur, thus making him the nephew of stage and screen legend Helen Hayes and the cousin of actor James MacArthur, who was Charles MacArthur's adopted son.
Bishop did his schooling in New York and New Jersey. Later, he enrolled at the West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, to study law, however, he dropped out to pursue an acting career after his uncle Charles MacArthur got him a summer job at a theatre in Suffern County in New York and introduced him to the world of acting. In his summer job, Bishop got to work with actors Broderick Crawford, George Tobias, José Ferrer, and Kent Smith. After that experience, he decided to continue with theatre and acting.
While at WVU, Bishop was active in athletics and played football and tennis.
After he left the college, Bishop toured with Jack Kirkland's "Tobacco Road," played opposite Helen Hayes in Laurence Housman's "Victoria Regina," and did a brief stint as a charter member with Orson Welles' Mercury Theater.
Bishop relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting in Hollywood, however, his acting career was interrupted when he called to serve in the South Pacific with a Signal Battalion of the United States Army during World War II.
He was discharged in 1946.
Film and television
Bishop's made his screen debut in 1943, starring as "Dr. Oliver Lockwood" in director Sammy Lee's short film Brief Interval, alongside Roger Moore. In the same year, he was seen in twelve other films, all uncredited.
After Bishop was discharged from the military service, he resumed his acting work in 1947, playing the "Ad Buchanan" in director Roy Rowland's The Romance of Rosy Ridge, starring Van Johnson, Thomas Mitchell, and Janet Leigh.
His first major role came in 1948 with Phil Karlson's Western Adventures in Silverado, in which he starred as "Bill Foss" alongside Gloria Henry and Edgar Buchanan. His other major film credits include:
- John Sturges' Western The Walking Hills (1949), with Randolph Scott and Ella Raines
- Irving Rapper's Anna Lucasta (1949), with Paulette Goddard and John Ireland
- Vincent Sherman's drama Harriet Craig (1950), with Joan Crawford and Wendell Corey
- Phil Karlson's Lorna Doone (1951), with Barbara Hale and Richard Greene.
In 1951, Bishop landed his first television role in two episodes of the TV series Suspense — "This Is Your Confession: Part 1" and "This Is Your Confession: Part 2". In 1952-1953, he was seen in different characters in 6 episodes of the TV series Fireside Theatre.
In 1954, Bishop landed his most memorable recurring role of "Steve Connors" in NBC's comedy series It's a Great Life. He was seen in 77 episodes, starting with "House Hunting" (aired on 7 September 1954) to "The Housekeeper" (aired on 3 June 1956).
His last film credit was Gene Fowler Jr.'s Western The Oregon Trail (1959), in which he portrayed the character of "Capt. George Wayne" alongside Fred MacMurray (as Neal Harris) and Nina Shipman (as Prudence Cooper.)
In 1956, Bishop married Shirley Mohr in a small town in Nevada.
Bishop died of cancer on October 3, 1959, in Malibu, California. He was 41.
- Pilot No. 5 (1943) - Cadet (uncredited)
- Young Ideas (1943) - French Lieutenant (uncredited)
- Salute to the Marines (1943) - Cpl. Anderson (uncredited)
- Swing Shift Maisie (1943) - Young Pilot (uncredited)
- I Dood It (1943) - Detective (uncredited)
- Soldier with Autograph Book (uncredited)
- Cry 'Havoc' (1943) - Soldier (uncredited)
- Swing Fever (1943) - Radio Man (uncredited)
- Lost Angel (1943) - Reporter (uncredited)
- A Guy Named Joe (1943) - Ray - Transport Pilot (uncredited)
- Whistling in Brooklyn (1943) - Psychiatrist (uncredited)
- The Beginning or the End (1947) - 2nd Lieutenant - Electronics Officer, Enola Gay (uncredited)
- The Romance of Rosy Ridge (1947) - Ad Buchanan
- Song of the Thin Man (1947) - Al Amboy
- Devil Ship (1947) - Sanderson
- Adventures in Silverado (1948) - Bill Foss
- Port Said (1948) - Leslie Sears
- Coroner Creek (1948) - Leach Conover
- Thunderhoof (1948) - The Kid
- Black Eagle (1948) - Jason Bond
- The Untamed Breed (1948) - Larch Keegan
- Slightly French (1949) - J.B. (voice, uncredited)
- The Walking Hills (1949) - Dave 'Shep' Wilson
- Anna Lucasta (1949) - Rudolf Strobel
- Mr. Soft Touch (1949) - Radio Broadcaster (voice, uncredited)
- The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) - Dr. Ben Wood
- Harriet Craig (1950) - Wes Miller
- The Tougher They Come (1950) - Gus Williams
- The Frogmen (1951) - Ferrino (uncredited)
- Lorna Doone (1951) - Carver Doone
- The Texas Rangers (1951) - Sam Bass
- The Basketball Fix (1951) - Mike Taft
- Montana Territory (1952) - Opening Off-Screen Narrator (uncredited)
- Cripple Creek (1952) - Silver Kirby
- Breakdown (1952) - Terry Williams
- The Raiders (1952) - Marshal William Henderson
- The Redhead from Wyoming (1953) - Jim Averell
- Gun Belt (1953) - Ike Clinton
- Overland Pacific (1954) - Del Stewart
- Wyoming Renegades (1955) - Sundance
- Top Gun (1955) - Canby Judd
- The Boss (1956) - Bob Herrick
- The White Squaw (1956) - Bob Garth
- The Phantom Stagecoach (1957) - Glen Hayden
- Short Cut to Hell (1957) - Sgt. Stan Lowery
- The Oregon Trail (1959) - Capt. George Wayne