William Dozier
William Dozier.jpg
Born(1908-02-13)February 13, 1908
DiedApril 23, 1991(1991-04-23) (aged 83)
OccupationProducer, actor
Years active1944–1982
Katharine Foley
(m. 1929; div. 1946)

(m. 1946; div. 1951)

(m. 1953)

William McElroy Dozier (/ˈdʒər/; February 13, 1908 – April 23, 1991) was an American film and television producer and actor. He is best known for two television series, Batman and The Green Hornet.

Early life

Dozier was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and graduated from Creighton University in 1929, where he studied law.[1]


Dozier began his career as a television writer and then moved into production. With his second wife Joan Fontaine, he co-founded Rampart Productions, responsible for Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948).[2] He produced the film noir starring Joan Crawford, Harriet Craig in 1950.[3] In the early 1950s he was executive producer for dramatic programs on CBS television including You Are There, Ben Hecht's Tales of the City and Suspense.[1] In 1959 Dozier left CBS-TV, and took over as vice-president in charge of production at Screen Gems, replacing Irving Briskin.[4]

After founding a new company in 1964, Greenway Productions, he took on the development of the Batman television series (1966–1968),[5] as executive producer and narrator, although he was uncredited for the role as narrator. He also performed those functions on The Green Hornet television show, which starred Van Williams and Bruce Lee, although here the narration was limited to the opening, the next-episode trailers, and the story-so-far recaps in its three two-part episodes. The Green Hornet gave Bruce Lee his first acting role in an American TV or film production, although he had appeared in Hong Kong-based films from his babyhood. This show introduced Bruce Lee as a martial arts fighter—indeed, it brought Asian martial arts to a broad American audience for the first time.[6] In addition to his narration throughout the series, he appeared on-screen in the first and final Batman episodes: as the maître d' at What a Way to Go-Go in "Hi Diddle Riddle",[7] and as 'Millionaire William Dozier' in "Minerva, Mayhem and Millionaires".[8]

Dozier also made a screen test of an aborted version of Wonder Woman in 1967. During his time as executive producer of Batman he co-created the character Barbara Gordon, who would become a prominent character in the Batman comic books as well as the television series.[9]

In 1979, Dozier appeared in The Paper Chase as Lindsey in "Scavenger Hunt", episode 22 of season 1.[10]

Personal life

Dozier was married to Katherine Foley from 1929 until their marriage ended in divorce in 1946. They had one son, Robert. Then, Dozier married actress Joan Fontaine from 1946 until they divorced in 1951. They had one daughter, Deborah. Lastly, Dozier married Ann Rutherford in 1953. Their marriage would last until Dozier died in 1991.[11][12]

de Havilland family tree
Alice Jeannette (née Saunders)
Rev. Charles de Havilland
Walter de Havilland
Lilian Fontaine (Ruse)
Ivon Molesworth Charles Jordan de Havilland
Louise Thomas
Captain Sir Geoffrey de Havilland
Joan Mary Frith
Hereward de Havilland
Marcus Goodrich
Olivia Mary de Havilland
Pierre Galante
Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland
William McElroy Dozier
Peter Jason de Havilland
Geoffrey de Havilland Jr.
John de Havilland
Benjamin Goodrich
Gisèle Galante
Deborah Leslie


Dozier died in Santa Monica, California, from a stroke, aged 83.[11][12] Dozier was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. His papers can be found at the American Heritage Center.[13]


  1. ^ a b Farrell, William M. (July 12, 1953). "An Expert Discusses Video Drama". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  2. ^ Wolcott, James (December 16, 2013). "Lady and the Scamp". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  3. ^ Crowther, Bosley (November 3, 1950). "THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; 'Harriet Craig,' Film Adaptation of George Kelly's Play, New Bill at Loew's State". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  4. ^ "William Dozier Quits CBS-TV". Los Angeles Times. September 25, 1959. p. 28. Retrieved September 8, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  5. ^ "William Dozier". 1966 Batman Pages. Retrieved April 22, 2007.
  6. ^ Boucher, Geoff (July 23, 2010). "Getting 'The Green Hornet' off the ground". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "Holy microscope! Here are 19 little details you never noticed in 'Batman'". MeTV. January 11, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  8. ^ van Heerden, Bill (2015). Film and Television In-Jokes: Nearly 2,000 Intentional References, Parodies, Allusions, Personal Touches, Cameos, Spoofs and Homages. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-7864-3894-5.
  9. ^ Cassell, Dewey (February 2010). "Growing Up Gordon: The Early Years of Batgirl". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (38): 65–70.
  10. ^ "Scavenger Hunt". The Paper Chase. Season 1. Episode 22. April 24, 1979. CBS.
  11. ^ a b Folkart, Burt A. (April 25, 1991). "William Dozier; Veteran Movie, TV Executive". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "William Dozier; TV Producer, 83". The New York Times. April 26, 1991. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  13. ^ "Entertainment Industry Collections". American Heritage Center. Retrieved April 3, 2018.