Bill Macy
Macy in Maude (1973)
Wolf Martin Garber

(1922-05-18)May 18, 1922
DiedOctober 17, 2019(2019-10-17) (aged 97)
Years active1958–2011
Samantha Harper
(m. 1975)

Wolf Martin Garber (May 18, 1922 – October 17, 2019), known professionally as Bill Macy, was an American television, film and stage actor known for his role in the CBS television series Maude (1972–1978).

Early life

Bill Macy was born Wolf Martin Garber on May 18, 1922, in Revere, Massachusetts, the son of Mollie (née Friedopfer; 1889–1986) and Michael Garber (1884–1974), a manufacturer.[1] He was raised Jewish in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Samuel J. Tilden High School he served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1946 with the 594th Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment, stationed in the Philippines, Japan and New Guinea.[2] He worked as a cab driver for a decade before being cast as Walter Matthau's understudy in Once More, with Feeling on Broadway in 1958. He portrayed a cab driver on the soap opera The Edge of Night in 1966.

Macy was an original cast member of the 1969–1972 Off-Broadway sensation Oh! Calcutta!,[3] performing in the show from 1969 to 1971.[4] He later appeared in the 1972 movie version of the musical.[5] Of appearing fully nude with the rest of the cast in the stage show, he said, "The nudity didn't bother me. I'm from Brooklyn."[3]

Macy performed on the P.D.Q. Bach album The Stoned Guest (1970).


Appreciating Macy's comedic skills off Broadway, Norman Lear brought him to Hollywood, where he first got a small part as a police officer in All in the Family. He was cast in the role of Walter Findlay, the long-suffering husband of the title character on the 1970s television sitcom Maude, starring Bea Arthur. The show ran for six seasons from 1972 to 1978.[6]

"He was a rare and great comic actor. There was only one Bill Macy."

— Norman Lear

Strangers on the street often called him "Mr. Maude", consoling him for having such a difficult wife. "I used to tell them that people like that really existed," Macy explained.[7]

In 1975, Macy and Samantha Harper Macy appeared on the game show Tattletales.[8]

In 1986, Macy was a guest on the fourth episode of L.A. Law, playing an older man whose young wife wants a music career. Also that year he guest starred in an episode of Highway to Heaven, called Cindy.[9] Macy appeared in the television movie Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam (1987) as banker Richard Wilson. He occasionally appeared on Seinfeld as one of the residents of the Florida retirement community where Jerry Seinfeld's parents lived. Macy made a guest appearance as a patient on Chicago Hope and as an aging gambler on the series Las Vegas. Macy's last television role occurred in a 2010 episode of Jada Pinkett Smith's series Hawthorne.[3]


Macy appeared as the jury foreman in The Producers in 1967, with the memorable sole line "We find the defendants incredibly guilty". Other memorable roles include the co-inventor of the "Opti-Grab" in the 1979 Steve Martin comedy The Jerk and as the head television writer in My Favourite Year (1982).

Other film credits included roles in Death at Love House (1976), The Late Show (1977), Serial (1980), Movers & Shakers (1985), Bad Medicine (1985), Tales from the Darkside (1985 - "Lifebomb" episode), Sibling Rivalry (1990), The Doctor (1991), Me Myself & I (1992), Analyze This (1999), Surviving Christmas (2004), The Holiday (2006), and Mr. Woodcock (2007).[3][10]

Personal life

Macy met his future wife, Samantha Harper, on the set of Oh! Calcutta! in 1969.[6] They married in 1975.[4]

Macy died on October 17, 2019, at the age of 97; no cause was given.[11]


Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Producers Jury Foreman Uncredited
1972 Oh! Calcutta! Monte / Mute Physician
1977 The Late Show Charlie Hatter
1979 The Jerk Stan Fox
1980 Serial Sam
1982 My Favorite Year Sy Benson
1985 Movers & Shakers Sid Spokane
1985 Bad Medicine Dr. Gerald Marx
1990 Sibling Rivalry Pat
1991 The Doctor Al Cade
1992 Me Myself & I Sydney
1999 Analyze This Dr. Isaac Sobel
2004 Surviving Christmas Doo-Dah
2006 The Holiday Ernie
2007 Mr. Woodcock Mr. Woodcock's Dad


  1. ^ "Bill Macy Biography (1922-)". Film Reference. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  2. ^ Slotnik, Daniel E. (October 18, 2019). "Bill Macy, a Memorable Sitcom Foil on 'Maude,' Dies at 97". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 10, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Hegedus, Eric (October 18, 2019). "Bill Macy, Bea Arthur's 'Maude' co-star, dead at 97". New York Post. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Bill Macy, long-suffering husband on 'Maude,' dies at 97". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  5. ^ "'Maude' co-star, character actor Bill Macy dies at 97". NBC News. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Nichols, Mackenzie (October 18, 2019). "'Maude' Star Bill Macy Dies at 97". Variety. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  7. ^ Moniuszko, Sara M. "Bill Macy, who played Bea Arthur's husband in 'Maude,' dead at 97". USA Today. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  8. ^ "Tattletales Episode #2.119". IMDb. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
  9. ^ "LA Law Season 01 Episode 04: The House of the Rising Flan". Archived from the original on December 7, 2019. Retrieved October 18, 2019 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ Elber, Lynn (October 18, 2019). "Actor Bill Macy, co-starred on 'Maude,' dies at 97". Chicago Sun-Times. Associated Press. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  11. ^ Barnes, Mike (October 18, 2019). "Bill Macy, Bea Arthur's Husband on 'Maude,' Dies at 97". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 18, 2019.