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Bill McCutcheon
Born(1924-05-23)May 23, 1924
DiedJanuary 9, 2002(2002-01-09) (aged 77)
Years active1941–1992
SpouseAnne McCutcheon (1952–2002)

James William McCutcheon (May 23, 1924 – January 9, 2002) was an American character actor known for his roles in film, television, and theatre, several of which won him Emmy and Tony awards.

Early life

McCutcheon was born in Russell, Kentucky, the son of Robert Kenna McCutcheon, who was a railroad conductor and Florence Louise (née Elam).[1] McCutcheon's first major role was Leo the Leprechaun on The Howdy Doody Show. He followed this appearance with a recurring role (from 1984 to 1992) as Uncle Wally on the children's television series by PBS, Sesame Street, for which he won an Emmy.[citation needed]

He also had a prominent role in the movie of 1989, Steel Magnolias, in which he played Owen Jenkins, beau of Ouiser Boudreaux (Shirley MacLaine).


He was also active in film and on the stage. His first film appearance was in 1964's Santa Claus Conquers the Martians; later on, he was seen in movies including Family Business and Steel Magnolias. McCutcheon was a familiar face to young audience in the 1960s, when he appeared on several Tootsie Roll television commercials. His theatre credits include a role as Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, which won him a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.

Other stage appearances include You Can't Take It with You and The Man Who Came to Dinner.


A resident of Mahwah, New Jersey, McCutcheon died on January 9, 2002, of natural causes, aged 77. He had three children, Carol, Jay, and Kenna.[2]


Year Title Role Notes
1964 Santa Claus Conquers the Martians Dropo
1969 Viva Max! Desmond Miller
1972 Deadhead Miles Used Car Salesman
1972 The Stoolie Gas Station Proprietor
1975 W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings Good Ole Boy #1
1979 Hot Stuff Paully Albadecker
1985 What Comes Around Store Owner
1988 Vibes Mr. Van Der Meer
1989 Steel Magnolias Owen Jenkins
1989 Family Business Doheny
1990 Tune in Tomorrow Puddler
1990 Mr. Destiny Leo Hansen


  1. ^ "Bill McCutcheon Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
  2. ^ McLellan, Dennis. "Bill McCutcheon, 77; Comedic Actor", Los Angeles Times, January 12, 2002. Accessed May 16, 2016. "McCutcheon, who lived in Mahwah, N.J., died Wednesday of natural causes at a hospital in Ridgewood, N.J."