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William Hickey Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (8)

Overview (4)

Born in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (emphysema and bronchitis)
Birth NameWilliam Edward Hickey
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Son of Edward & Nora Hickey. Best known as the ancient Mafia don in Prizzi's Honor (1985), Hickey had a long, distinguished career in film, television, and the stage. Began career as a child actor on the variety stage. Made Broadway debut as walk-on in George Bernard Shaw's "Saint Joan" (1951 production, starring Uta Hagen). Performed often during the golden age of television, including appearances on Studio One and Philco Playhouse. His most important contribution to the arts, however, remains his teaching career at the HB Studio in Greenwich Village, founded by Hagen and Herbert Berghof. George Segal, Sandy Dennis, and Barbra Streisand all studied under him.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: <anthony-adam@tamu.edu>

Family (1)

Parents Hickey, Edward
Hickey, Nora

Trade Mark (3)

Usually played macabre characters
Gaunt frame
Gravelly yet high-pitched voice

Trivia (8)

Began his acting career on the radio at age 10.
He studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
Hickey co-stared in two films with Debbie Harry, Tales from the Darkside (1990) and Sandman (1995), a short film where they play romantic interests.
He was in two films based on the works of Kurt Vonnegut, Happy Birthday Wanda June (1971) where he played Colonel Looseleaf Harper, and Between Time and Timbuktu (1972) as Corporal Stoney Stevenson, who ends up meeting Wanda June herself.
According to Angelica Huston, during the filming of Prizzi's Honor, Hickey had asked director John Huston how he wanted him to play his role as the Don. Huston responded "Like a reptile.".
Hickey turned down some roles in Europe because he couldn't bring his dog with him.
Hickey was in two films with Barnard Hughes, A Hobo's Christmas (1987) and Da (1988) the year after. The two were in separate episodes of The Doctors and the Nurses, Tales from the Darkside, The Defenders, As the World Turns, and Guiding Light.
While playwright Mart Crowley was a 2009 guest on the CUNY TV - Thirteen/WNET talk show "Theater Talk," Crowley said that during the first production of his 1968 play "The Boys in the Band," William Hickey was originally cast in that play, in the role of Emory (eventually played both on stage and in the 1970 movie by Cliff Gorman). Crowley remembered that Hickey "was a terrific actor, of course, and I don't think it's telling any stories out of school [to say] that he had a problem with addiction, because he was always struggling, and losing parts, and not being hired because of it. And after he auditioned, got the part, we only had a--what, a week? to get it up--the play, the workshop production, and he didn't show up for rehearsal the first day. And then when he didn't come the second day, the director, Robert Moore, said to me, 'we just can't. we've got to go with somebody else. Who was that guy who was so over-the-top who came in?' We looked down the list and it was Cliff Gorman. So we called him quick!".

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