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William Bakewell
Bakewell in 1938
Born(1908-05-02)May 2, 1908
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedApril 15, 1993(1993-04-15) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other namesBilly Bakewell
OccupationFilm actor
Years active1923–1975
(m. 1946; div. 1948)

Diane Griffith
(m. 1954; his death 1993)

William Bakewell (May 2, 1908 – April 15, 1993) was an American actor who achieved his greatest fame as one of the leading juvenile performers of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Early years

Bakewell was a native of Los Angeles, where he attended the Harvard School for Boys and Page Military Academy.[1]


Bakewell began his film career as an extra in the silent movie Fighting Blood (1924) and appeared in some 170 films and television shows. He had supporting roles at the end of the silent era and reached the peak of his career around 1930. He is perhaps best remembered for playing German soldier Albert Kropp in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) and Rodney Jordan, Joan Crawford's brother, in Dance, Fools, Dance (1931). He also co-starred in Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929).

In 1933, Bakewell contributed to the founding of the Screen Actors Guild, and was the 44th of the original 50 members.[1] He never achieved stardom after the Depression years, although he became familiar in dozens of films, including his short appearance as a mounted soldier in Gone with the Wind (1939) whom Scarlett O'Hara asks when the Yankee soldiers are coming to Atlanta.

During World War II, Bakewell served in the U.S. Army[1] with the rank of second lieutenant. He was stationed at the 73rd Evacuation Hospital and at the Radio Section of the Special Service Division as the post intelligence officer. He also worked under the department that handled distribution of recorded programs to overseas station circuits.

He starred in the Columbia Pictures serial Hop Harrigan (1946), where he played a top Air Corps pilot. He also portrayed Major Tobias Norton and a Keelboat Race Master of Ceremonies in the phenomenally popular Disney series Davy Crockett (1954-1955).

In the 1960s, he guest-starred in numerous sitcoms, including Guestward, Ho!, The Tab Hunter Show, Pete and Gladys, Bringing Up Buddy, Mister Ed, Leave It to Beaver, The Jack Benny Program, Petticoat Junction , and Hazel. He also was cast in episodes of Peter Gunn, Sea Hunt, Wagon Train, The Roaring 20s, The Virginian, Arrest and Trial, and 87th Precinct He played the Virginia statesman George Wythe in the episode "George Mason" in the 1965 NBC documentary series, Profiles in Courage. He made his last film in 1975. When his acting career declined he also opened a successful real estate company.[2]

For four decades, Bakewell served on the board of Motion Picture and Television Fund.[1]


Bakewell's autobiography Hollywood Be Thy Name--Random Recollections of a Movie Veteran From Silents to Talkies to TV was published in 1991.[1]


In 1993, at age 84, Bakewell died of leukemia in Los Angeles.[1]

Partial filmography

Bakewell in The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)
Bakewell in The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)

Further reading

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f "William Bakewell; Co-Founder of Screen Actors Guild". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. April 17, 1993. Archived from the original on 25 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  2. ^ The New York Times