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John Williams
Born 15 April 1903(1903-04-15)
The Chalfonts, Buckinghamshire, England
Died 5 May 1983 (aged 80)
Occupation actor
Years active 1924-1979

John Williams (15 April 1903 – 5 May 1983) was a British stage, film and television actor.


Life and work

Born in The Chalfonts in Buckinghamshire, England, he was educated at Lancing College and began acting on the Broadway stage in 1924. He then went on to appear in thirty more Broadway plays over the next four decades. He first acted in Hollywood films in 1930, debuting in director Mack Sennett's The Chumps. In his career he appeared in more than forty films and also made more than forty guest appearances on television shows. He was part of the regular cast for the 1967 season of the family comedy, Family Affair.

Outside his film career, Williams gained fame as the star of a television commercial for 120 Music Masterpieces, a four-LP set of classical music excerpts from Columbia Records. This became the longest-running nationally seen commercial in U.S. television history, for 13 years from 1971 to 1984. It began, "I'm sure you recognise this lovely melody as 'Stranger in Paradise.' But did you know that the original theme is from the Polovetsian Dance No. 2 by Borodin?"

In 1953 Williams was awarded a Tony Award for Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for his role as Chief Inspector Hubbard in Dial M for Murder on Broadway. When Alfred Hitchcock took over the script to make a film of the play in 1954, he cast Williams for the same role. He also appeared in Hitchcock's The Paradine Case with Gregory Peck as a barrister, and as a insurance company representative in To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.

Williams also played in several episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on TV, including "The Long Shot" with Peter Lawford (27 November 1955), "Back for Christmas" (1956),[1] "Whodunit" (1956), "Wet Saturday" (1956), the 3-part episode "I Killed the Count"(1957), and "Banquo’s Chair" (1959).

One of his last appearances was in Battlestar Galactica: War of the Gods (1979) alongside Lorne Greene.



  • "The Doll", Night Gallery, hosted by Rod Serling, with actor Henry Silva
  • "Wet Saturday", Alfred Hitchcock Presents, hosted by Alfred Hitchcock, with actor Sir Cedric Hardwick
  • "I Killed the Count", Alfred Hitchcock Presents, hosted by Alfred Hitchcock, a 3-part episode running 90 minutes with commercials.
  • Family Affair, as Nigel "Niles" French. 9 Episodes. Replaced Sebastian Cabot (Mr. French) while he was recovering from an injury to his wrist.
  • The Wild Wild West "The Night of the Bleak Island" (1969)
  • commercial for recordings of classical music


  1. ^

External links



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