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William Windom

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William Windom
Matt decker.jpg

...as Commodore Matt Decker

Gender: Male
Date of birth: 28 September 1923
Place of birth: New York, New York, USA
Date of death: 16 August 2012
Place of death: Woodacre, California, USA
Character(s): Commodore Matt Decker

William Windom (28 September 192316 August 2012; age 88) was an actor from New York City who is well known for his portrayal of Commodore Matt Decker on the original Star Trek series episode "The Doomsday Machine". In 2004, he reprised the role of Commodore Matt Decker in the In Harm's Way episode of the fan series Star Trek: New Voyages, which also features James Cawley, Jeffery Quinn, Barbara Luna, Malachi Throne, and Leslie Hoffman. The episode was written by Doug Drexler (as Max Rem) and Erik Korngold.

Windom won an Emmy Award in 1970 for his performance on the short-lived sitcom, My World and Welcome to It. However, he is probably best remembered for his recurring role as Dr. Seth Hazlett on the hit mystery series, Murder, She Wrote, co-starring Michael Horton.

Early life

Windom was born in New York City. He was named after his great-grandfather, who served as the US Secretary of Treasury in 1881 and again from 1889 until his death in 1891. Windom, the future actor, attended several colleges before enlisting in the US Army during World War II. He served from 1943 to 1946, primarily assigned to the European Theater of Operations as a paratrooper with Company B, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. His final rank was Technician Fifth Grade.

At the war's end, Windom had amassed an impressive record and was a qualified parachutist as well as having been awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), Good Conduct Medal, and the foreign awards of the Order of Wilhelm and the Belgium Croix de Guerre. He was also awarded the campaign ribbons for the European and American Theaters, as well as receiving the Army Occupation Medal for post war service in Germany and the World War II Victory Medal. In the 1980s, Windom also qualified for the Bronze Star Medal, by virtue of his having been awarded the CIB during World War II.

Acting career

Broadway

Following his service, he began studying acting, training at the American Repertory Theater. He soon moved on to Broadway, performing with the company in such plays as William Shakespeare's King Henry VIII and Alice in Wonderland. Subsequent Broadway productions include Mademoiselle Colombe (co-starring with Nehemiah Persoff) and The Grand Prize (with John Newland).

Television

He began working in television in the 1950s and would become a familiar face in the medium. Among his TV credits were four episodes of Mission: Impossible: "The Train" (1967) with William Schallert and directed by Ralph Senensky; "The Widow" (1967) with Walt Davis and George Sawaya; "Blues", featuring Vince Howard and directed by Reza Badiyi; and "The Fighter", featuring Walker Edmiston. Windom also guest-starred in an episode of Fantasy Island, a series which starred Ricardo Montalban.

Windom made guest appearances on numerous other shows, including Gunsmoke (with K.L. Smith), The Twilight Zone, The F.B.I. (with Ted Knight and James B. Sikking and directed by Ralph Senensky), The Wild Wild West (featuring Leslie Parrish and directed by Robert Sparr), The Fugitive (directed by John Meredyth Lucas), The Streets of San Francisco (featuring Fionnula Flanagan), Insight (including an episode directed by Marc Daniels and another directed by John Meredyth Lucas and written by John T. Dugan), Barney Miller ( featuring George Murdock), and Dallas (working with Richard Herd, Susan Howard, Morgan Woodward and Joanna Cassidy).

From 1963 through 1966, Windom was a regular on the family sitcom The Farmer's Daughter. He later had a recurring role on the animated Sonic the Hedgehog series as the voice of Sir Charles 'Uncle Chuck' Hedgehog. Like Star Trek, this show also had a deadly device called the Doomsday Machine, which appeared in the series finale, "The Doomsday Project".

Windom has worked with the two stars of the original Star Trek, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, on other projects: he co-starred with Shatner in a 1969 episode of CBS Playhouse called "Shadow Game", which also featured Jason Wingreen); and he worked with Nimoy, as well as Lloyd Haynes, Malachi Throne, and John Winston, in the 1971 TV movie Assault on the Wayne. In addition, both Windom and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine star Nana Visitor guest-starred together in a 1995 episode of Burke's Law entitled "Who Killed the Tennis Ace?", along with Mary Crosby and Michael Nouri. Windom also appeared in the 1993 TV movie remake of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman, which also featured Hamilton Camp.

Feature films

Windom also has many feature film appearances to his credit. He made his feature film debut in the 1962 classic To Kill a Mockingbird, which also featured fellow Star Trek actors Brock Peters, Frank Overton, John Megna, Richard Hale, Gil Perkins and Paul Fix. In 1967, he played Texas Jack Vermillion in the 1967 film Hour of the Gun. This film also featured Steve Ihnat, William Schallert, Monte Markham, Robert Phillips and Dave Perna, with music by Jerry Goldsmith).

He also had a supporting role in the 1969 film The Gypsy Moths, a film directed by Robert Wise, who would go on to direct Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In 1970, Windom co-starred with Trek actors Rene Auberjonois, Sally Kellerman, and John Schuck in the 1970 fantasy film Brewster McCloud. In 1971, he had a supporting role in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, in which Ricardo Montalban, Jason Evers, James B. Sikking and Janos Prohaska also appeared. In 1994 Windom appeared as the CEO of Coles Department store in the remake of the 1947 film, Miracle On 34th Street. And in 1999, both he and Anthony Zerbe (Star Trek: Insurrection) had roles in Clint Eastwood's thriller True Crime.

Windom's other film credits include The Americanization of Emily in 1964, The Man in 1972 (with Barry Russo), and Sommersby in 1993.

Death

Windom died of congestive heart failure on 16 August 2012 at his home in Woodacre, California. He was 88. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Patricia ("Pat") as well as four children and four grandchildren.[1]

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