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William Daniels

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Title: William Daniels  
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Subject: St. Elsewhere, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, The Parallax View, 1776 (musical), Ladybug Ladybug (film)
Collection: 1927 Births, 20Th-Century American Male Actors, 21St-Century American Male Actors, American Labor Leaders, American Male Film Actors, American Male Musical Theatre Actors, American Male Stage Actors, American Male Television Actors, American Male Voice Actors, Living People, Male Actors from New York City, Northwestern University Alumni, Northwestern University School of Communication Alumni, Obie Award Recipients, Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Drama Series Primetime Emmy Award Winners, People from Brooklyn, Presidents of the Screen Actors Guild
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William Daniels

William Daniels
Daniels at the Emmy Awards
September 20, 1987
Born William David Daniels[1]
(1927-03-31) March 31, 1927
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Northwestern University
Occupation Film, television, stage actor
Years active 1950 – present
Spouse(s) Bonnie Bartlett (1951-present)
Children 3 children

William David Daniels (born March 31, 1927) is an American actor and former president of the ABC's Boy Meets World and its sequel, Disney Channel's Girl Meets World, as the voice of KITT in Knight Rider, and as Dr. Mark Craig in St. Elsewhere, for which he won two Emmy Awards.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Awards/honors 4
  • Filmography 5
  • Television 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

William Daniels was born in Brooklyn, New York to Irene and David Daniels, although he has spoken with a Boston Brahmin accent (with some transatlantic influence) in many of his roles. His father was a builder.[1] He graduated from Northwestern University in 1949, where he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity.


William Daniels began his career as a member of the singing Daniels family in Brooklyn, New York. He made his television debut as part of a variety act (along with other members of his family) in 1943, on NBC, then a single station in New York.[2] He made his Broadway debut in 1945 in Life With Father, and remained a busy Broadway actor for decades afterwards. His Broadway credits include roles in 1776, A Thousand Clowns, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and A Little Night Music. He earned an Obie Award for The Zoo Story (1960).

Daniels's motion picture debut was as a school principal in the 1963 anti-war drama Ladybug Ladybug. In 1965, he reprised his Broadway role as a child welfare worker in the screen version of A Thousand Clowns. In 1967 he starred in The Graduate, with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. In 1969, Daniels starred as John Adams in the Broadway musical 1776; he also appeared in the film 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.

Daniels's first network television appearance came in 1952 when he portrayed the young Captain Nice as police chemist Carter Nash, albeit telling an interviewer in TV Guide he hated the role.

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. Concurrently, he provided the voice of KITT in Knight Rider from 1982 to 1986. Daniels said in 1982, "My duties on Knight Rider are very simple. I do it in about an hour and a half. I've never met the cast. I haven't even met the producer."[2]

He reprised the voice-only role of KITT in 1991 for the television movie Knight Rider 2000, again in the movie The Benchwarmers. He performed the role in AT&T and GE commercials about talking machines, and twice in The Simpsons as well as at the Comedy Central Roast of his co-star David Hasselhoff.[3]

He also performed the voice for a special edition GPS sold by Radio Shack.

Daniels then portrayed teacher (later principal) Boy Meets World from 1993 to 2000. In addition to the previously mentioned 1967 superhero sitcom Captain Nice, he was a regular on the 1970s TV series Freebie and the Bean and The Nancy Walker Show. A familiar character actor, he has appeared as a guest star on numerous TV comedies and dramas, including Soap, The Rockford Files, Quincy, M.E., and many others.

In 2012, Daniels appeared in the 9th season of Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Craig Thomas, an unlikely mentor to the character of Dr. Cristina Yang played by actress Sandra Oh. His character, Dr. Thomas, died in the operating room while performing a procedure to repair a heart defect midway through the season, which forced Yang to move back to Seattle.

In 2014, Daniels reprised his role as Mr. Feeny in the pilot episode of the "Boy Meets World" spinoff, Girl Meets World. His role was a cameo at the end credits praising the adult Cory Matthews for his parenting.[4]

Bartlett and Daniels both served on Screen Actors Guild's Board of Directors.[5]

Personal life

Daniels and his wife, Bonnie Bartlett at the 1987 Emmy Awards

Daniels has been married to actress and fellow Emmy Award-winner Bonnie Bartlett since June 30, 1951. The couple has three children.


Daniels refused the 1969 Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor in a Musical in 1776 due to his insistence that the part of John Adams was a leading role rather than supporting.[6] He was ruled to be ineligible for the Best Actor nomination because of the technicality that his name was not billed above the title of the show.

In 1986, both Daniels and his wife, Bonnie Bartlett, who 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 television series.


Year Title Role Notes
1952 A Woman for the Ages John Quincy Adams TV Movie
1963 Ladybug Ladybug Mr. Calkins
1965 A Thousand Clowns Albert Amundson
1967 Two for the Road Howard Manchester
The Graduate Mr. Braddock
The President's Analyst Wynn Quantrill
1969 Marlowe Mr. Crowell
1972 1776 John Adams
1973 Murdock's Gang Roger Bates TV Movie
The Fabulous Doctor Fable Elliot Borden TV Movie
1974 A Case of Rape Leonard Alexander TV Movie
The Parallax View Austin Tucker
1975 Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic Matt Hodges TV Movie
One of Our Own Dr. Moresby TV Movie
1976 Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident Bissell TV Movie
That Was the Year That Was - 1976 Sketch Actor TV Movie
1977 Black Sunday Pugh
Oh, God! George Summers
Killer on Board Marshall Snowden TV Movie
1978 The One and Only Mr. Crawford
Family Dr. Taylor
The Bastard Samuel Adams TV Movie
Big Bob Johnson and His Fantastic Speed Circus Lawrence Stepwell III TV Movie
Sergeant Matlovich vs. the U.S. Air Force Father Veller TV Movie
1979 The Chinese Typewriter Devlin TV Movie
The Rebels John Adams TV Movie
Sunburn Crawford
1980 City in Fear Freeman Stirbling TV Movie
The Blue Lagoon Arthur Lestrange
Father Damien: The Leper Priest Bishop Koeckemann TV Movie
1981 All Night Long Richard H. Copleston
The Million Dollar Face Henry Burns TV Movie
Reds Julius Gerber
1982 Rehearsal for Murder Walter Lamb TV Movie
Rooster Dr. DeVega TV Movie
Drop-Out Father Draper Wright TV Movie
1987 Blind Date Judge Harold Bedford
The Little Match Girl Haywood Dutton TV Movie
1989 Her Alibi Sam
Howard Beach: Making a Case for Murder Slaney TV Movie
1990 On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story John Nicks
1991 Knight Rider 2000 KITT Voice
1992 Back to the Streets of San Francisco Judge Julius Burns TV Movie
1994 Magic Kid 2 Manny
1996 The Lottery Reverend Hutchinson TV Movie
2006 The Benchwarmers KITT Voice
2007 Blades of Glory Commissioner Ebbers


Year Title Role Notes
1956 Robert Montgomery Presents Donald Kemper Episode: "Three Men From Tomorrow"
Armstrong Circle Theatre Leonard Gregory Episode: "Five Who Shook the Mighty"
Episode: "Separate Parents"
Episode: "The Spy Next Door"
1959 Brenner Larry Dyer Episode: "Man in the Middle"
Naked City Herbert Grafton
Harry Culverin
Episode: "A Kettle of Precious Fish"
Episode: "Idyllis of a Running Back"
The Defenders Malloy
Mike Herman
Episode: "The Locked Room"
Episode: "A Voice Loud and Clear"
1963 East Side/West Side Principal Costigan Episode: "I Before E Except After C"
The Doctors and the Nurses Vernon Kane
Episode: "Field of Battle"
Episode: "A Couple of Dozen Tiny Pills"
1965 For the People Fred Rice Episode: "Any Benevolent Purpose"
1966 T.H.E. Cat Tony Webb Episode: "The Ring of Anasis"
1967 Captain Nice Carter Nash / Captain Nice
1968 The Good Guys Arnold Schreck Episode: "Let 'em Eat Rolls"
1968 The Ghost & Mrs. Muir Blair Thompson Episode: "Mr. Perfect"
1969 Judd, for the Defense Harry Stratton Episode: "Epitaph on a Computer Card"
1972 Cannon Dale Corey Episode: "Hear No Evil"
1973 Love, American Style Alan Segment: "Love and the Old Lover"
1973 Ironside Stillwald, the Bank Manager Episode: "All Honorable Men"
McCloud Clayton Gills
Fred Pearson
Episode: "Butch Cassidy Rides Again"
Episode: "The Day New York Turned Blue"
1974 Kolchak: The Night Stalker Police Lt. Jack Matteo Episode: "The Vampire"
1975 Insight Mike Madden Episode: "Hunger Knows My Name"
1975 Barbary Coast Boyle Episode: "Irish Luck"
1975 The Bob Newhart Show Edgar T. Vickers Jr. Episode: "Fathers and Sons and Mothers"
1976 The Adams Chronicles John Quincy Adams (age 50-81)
1976 McMillan & Wife Commander Campbell Episode: "Point of Law"
1976 The Rockford Files Thomas Caine
Gary Bevins
Episode: The Italian Bird Fiasco
Episode: So Help Me God
1976-1977 The Nancy Walker Show Lt. Commander Kenneth Kitteridge
Quincy, M.E. Paul Reardon
Charlie Trusdale
Dr. Charlie Volmer
Episode: "A Star is Dead"
Episode: "Dark Angel"
Episode: "Last Rights"
1977 The Incredible Hulk Dr. John Bonifant Episode: "Death in the Family"
1978 Soap Heinrich Himmel Season 1, Episode 16
1978 Family Dr. Taylor Episode: "Counterpoint"
1978 Grandpa Goes to Washington Gov. Bronx Episode: "Pilot"
1978 Greatest Heroes of the Bible Chasrubal Episode: "Joshua and the Battle of Jericho"
1979 Blind Ambition G. Gordon Liddy
1980 The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo Dr. Walter Taylor Episode: "Who's the Sexiest Girl in the World"
1980 Galactica 1980 Norman Blore Episodes: The Night the Cylons Landed Part 1 & 2
1980-1981 Freebie and the Bean District Attorney Walter W. Cruikshank 4 episodes
1981 Trapper John, M.D. Dr. Slater Episode: "Second Sight"
1981 Private Benjamin Teddy Episode: "Bye, Bye Benjamin"
1982 Hart to Hart Simon Richardson Episode: "Hartless Hobby"
1982-1986 Knight Rider KITT Voice
1982-1988 St. Elsewhere Dr. Mark Craig
1986 Faerie Tale Theatre Narrator Episode: "The Princess Who Had Never Laughed"
1991 The General Motors Playwright Theatre Detective Lieutenant Fine Episode: "Clara"
1993 Nurses Mr. Kaplan Episode: "Family Outing"
1993-2000 Boy Meets World George Feeny Main Cast
Touched by an Angel Whit Russell
Episode: "Birthmarks"
Episode: "And a Nightingale Song"
The Simpsons KITT Episode: "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace" (Voice)
Episode: "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (Voice)
2000 Star Trek: Voyager Hospital Ship 4-2, Allocation Alpha Voice. Episode: "Critical Care"
2002 Scrubs Dr. Douglas Episode: "My Sacrificial Clam"
2003 Lost at Home Arthur Episode: "Our Town"
2003 The Lyon's Den Judge Franklin Campbell Episode: "Blood"
2004 The King of Queens Philip Waldecott Episode: "Icky Shuffle"
2004 Kim Possible Robot Pilot Voice. Episode "Ron Millionaire"
2005 The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy Scythe 2.0 Voice. Episode: "Runaway Pants/Scythe 2.0"
2006 The Closer Commissioner Andrew Schmidt Episodes: "Serving the King Part 1 & 2"
2008 Boston Legal Judge Milton Brody Episode: "Smoke Signals"
2012 Paulilu Mixtape Dr. Vanderhoof Episode: "Ghost Tits"
2012 Grey's Anatomy Dr. Craig Thomas 5 episodes
2014–present Girl Meets World George Feeny Cameo, Episode: "Girl Meets World" (season 1)
Recurring role (season 2)


  1. ^ a b "William Daniels Biography (1927-)". 
  2. ^ a b AP WIre Service story, published in The Toronto Star, November 19, 1982, Page D1
  3. ^ "William Daniels". IMDb. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Girl Meets World". Girl Meets World. June 22, 2014 (Originally uploaded to  
  5. ^ "William Daniels Biography". Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  6. ^ "Overview for William Daniels". TCM. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 

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