William Prince (actor)

William Prince
Prince in Young Doctor Malone, 1962
William Leroy Prince

(1913-01-26)January 26, 1913
DiedOctober 8, 1996(1996-10-08) (aged 83)
Years active1936–1994
Dorothy Hause
(m. 1934; div. 1964)
(m. 1964⁠–⁠1996)

William Leroy Prince (January 26, 1913 – October 8, 1996) was an American actor who appeared in numerous soap operas and made dozens of guest appearances on primetime series as well as playing villains in movies like The Gauntlet, The Cat from Outer Space and Spontaneous Combustion.

Early life

Prince was born in Nichols, New York.

When Prince was a senior at Cornell University, he left to act in The Taming of the Shrew as part of a Federal Theatre tour. He gained additional experience with the Barter Theater in Abingdon, Virginia, including a trip to New York for a 1937 production. He also performed in Shakespeare's plays in a company headed by Maurice Evans.


Early in Prince's career, he supplemented his limited income from acting in summer stock productions in Pennsylvania by photographing children professionally. Off-season from summer stock he was an announcer at WQXR radio in New York City.

Prince portrayed Richard in Ah, Wilderness! In 1942, he played Private Quizz West in The Eve of St. Mark. His Broadway debut came in The Eternal Road. After signing a film contract, he acted in Destination Tokyo, Objective Burma, and Dead Reckoning.

Prince worked primarily in television in the 1950s, having moved back to New York. In 1947, he became one of the founding members of The Actors Studio. Over the next decade, he made numerous appearances on anthology drama series such as Studio One, Philco Television Playhouse, and Armstrong Circle Theatre, and in 1955, Prince co-starred with Gary Merrill in the second season of Justice, an NBC drama about lawyers of the Legal Aid Society of New York.

Prince had roles on several soap operas, including one of the lead roles on Young Dr. Malone from 1958 to 1963, Another World, As the World Turns, The Edge of Night, Search for Tomorrow and A World Apart, often appearing with his actress wife Augusta Dabney. Two of his film roles were as Christian de Neuvillette in the classic 1950 Cyrano de Bergerac starring José Ferrer, and as Edward Ruddy, president of the fictional UBS network in Paddy Chayefsky's 1976 film, Network. He also portrayed patriarch Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy in the 1977 teleplay Johnny, We Hardly knew Ye. Other films Prince appeared in include Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot (1976), The Gauntlet (1977) with Clint Eastwood, Spies Like Us (1985) with Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd and The Paper (1994).

Returning to Broadway, Prince had leading roles in John Loves Mary and Forward the Heart. He appeared as Orlando in As You Like It, with Katharine Hepburn, and as Christopher Isherwood in I Am a Camera. In 1963, he played Charles Marsden in the Actors Studio production of Strange Interlude. He took leading roles in several plays by Edward Albee, beginning with The Ballad of the Sad Cafe in 1963. He understudied "Charlie" in the Broadway production of Seascape (1975), co-starred in the Hartford Stage Company's 1976 revival of All Over, appeared opposite Angela Lansbury in Counting the Ways and Listening in 1977, and played the title role in the short-lived The Man Who Had Three Arms in 1983.

During the 1970s, 1980s and into the early 1990s, Prince made guest appearances on dozens of primetime television series and miniseries including Cannon, Hawaii Five-O, Kojak, The Rockford Files, Quincy, M.E., Matlock and Murder, She Wrote. He also reunited with Cyrano star José Ferrer for the made-for-television films The Rhinemann Exchange (1977) and Gideon's Trumpet (1980). In the latter, Ferrer played attorney for petitioner Gideon, Abe Fortas, and Prince was seen as one of the Supreme Court Justices. In 1992, he appeared on the long-running NBC drama Law & Order in the episode "The Working Stiff", playing a corrupt former governor and friend of District Attorney Adam Schiff involved in a banking scandal.

Personal life

William Prince died October 8, 1996, at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Tarrytown, New York. He was 83, and lived in Dobbs Ferry, New York, at the time of his death.

Selected filmography

See also

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