Chill Wills (1902–1978)

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Colorful character actor of American Westerns. Named "Chill" as an ironic comment on his birth date being the hottest day of 1902. A musician from his youth, he performed from the age of 12 with tent shows, in vaudeville, and with stock companies. While performing in vaudeville in Kansas City, he married ballet dancer Betty Chappelle, with whom he... See full bio »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Known For

Giant Uncle Bawley
The Alamo Beekeeper
McLintock! Drago


Hide Hide Show Show Actor (129 credits)
 1978 Stubby Pringle's Christmas (TV Movie)
The Janitor
 1977 Poco... Little Dog Lost
Big Burt
 1977 Mr. Billion
Col. Clayton T. Winkle
 1974 Hec Ramsey (TV Series)
Sam McDade
- Scar Tissue (1974) ... Sam McDade
 1973 Guns of a Stranger
Tom Duncan
 1972 Alias Smith and Jones (TV Series)
- The Biggest Game in the West (1972) ... Bixby
 1971 The Steagle
Tall-Guy McCoy
 1971 The Virginian (TV Series)
Pat Reedy
- The Angus Killer (1971) ... Pat Reedy
 1971 Marcus Welby, M.D. (TV Series)
Sam Hill
- Another Buckle for Wesley Hill (1971) ... Sam Hill
 1970 Night Gallery (TV Series)
Heppelwhite (segment "The Little Black Bag")
- Room with a View/The Little Black Bag/The Nature of the Enemy (1970) ... Heppelwhite (segment "The Little Black Bag")
 1970 The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again (TV Movie)
Gentleman George Agnew
 1969 The Over-the-Hill Gang (TV Movie)
Gentleman George Agnew
 1969 Big Daddy
 1962-1968 Gunsmoke (TV Series)
Elihu Gorman / Red Conniston / Abe Blocker
- A Noose for Dobie Price (1968) ... Elihu Gorman
- A Hat (1967) ... Red Conniston
- Abe Blocker (1962) ... Abe Blocker
 1968 Tarzan (TV Series)
Ronald Montrose
- End of a Challenge (1968) ... Ronald Montrose
 1967 Judd for the Defense (TV Series)
Simpson Youngert
- Confessional (1967) ... Simpson Youngert
 1966-1967 The Rounders (TV Series)
Jim Ed Love
- What Elephants? (1967) ... Jim Ed Love
- Efficiency is for Experts (1966) ... Jim Ed Love
- The Sweet Little Old Lady (1966) ... Jim Ed Love
- Low Moon at Hi Lo (1966) ... Jim Ed Love
- Polo, Anyone? (1966) ... Jim Ed Love
 1966 Fireball 500
Big Jaw Harris
 1963-1965 Burke's Law (TV Series)
General Hector Harder / Stanton Custer / Harry Riggs
- Who Killed the Toy Soldier ? (1965) ... General Hector Harder
- Who Killed Avery Lord? (1964) ... Stanton Custer
- Who Killed Cable Roberts? (1963) ... Harry Riggs
 1965 The Rounders
Jim Ed Love
 1964 Rawhide (TV Series)
Sheriff Asa Tanner
- Incident at Deadhorse: Part II (1964) ... Sheriff Asa Tanner
- Incident at Deadhorse: Part I (1964) ... Sheriff Asa Tanner
 1964 Route 66 (TV Series)
Monty Musgrave
- Part Two: Where There's a Will, There's a Way (1964) ... Monty Musgrave
- Where There's a Will, There's a Way: Part One (1964) ... Monty Musgrave
 1963 The Cardinal
Monsignor Whittle
 1963 The Wheeler Dealers
Jay Ray Spinelby
 1963 McLintock!
 1962 Young Guns of Texas
Preacher Sam Shelby
 1961-1962 Frontier Circus (TV Series)
Colonel Casey Thompson / Col. Casey Thompson
- Incident at Pawnee Gun (1962) ... Col. Casey Thompson
- The Daring Durandos (1962) ... Colonel Casey Thompson
- The Race (1962) ... Colonel Casey Thompson
- The Clan MacDuff (1962) ... Colonel Casey Thompson
- The Good Fight (1962) ... Col. Casey Thompson
 1961 The Deadly Companions
 1961 Gold of the Seven Saints
Doc Wilson Gates, MD
 1960 Where the Boys Are
Police Captain
 1960 Assignment: Underwater (TV Series)
Boyd Crosby
- Troubled Waters (1960) ... Boyd Crosby
 1960 The Alamo
 1960 Playhouse 90 (TV Series)
Ed Pruitt
- Tomorrow (1960) ... Ed Pruitt
 1959 The Sad Horse
Capt Connors
 1959 The Texan (TV Series)
Captain Wylie
- The Eyes of Captain Wylie (1959) ... Captain Wylie
 1959 Trackdown (TV Series)
Zebulon Hunt
- The Samaritan (1959) ... Zebulon Hunt
 1958 Wagon Train (TV Series)
Bije Wilcox
- The Bije Wilcox Story (1958) ... Bije Wilcox
 1958 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series)
Mr. Kilmer
- Don't Interrupt (1958) ... Mr. Kilmer
 1958 From Hell to Texas
Amos Bradley
 1957 Gun Glory
 1956 Gun for a Coward
 1956 Giant
Uncle Bawley
 1956 Santiago
Captain 'Sidewheel' Jones
 1955 Francis in the Navy
Francis the Talking Mule (voice, uncredited)
 1955 Kentucky Rifle
Tobias Taylor
 1955 Timberjack
Steve Riika
 1954 Hell's Outpost
Kevin Russel
 1954 Ricochet Romance
Tom Williams
 1954 Francis Joins the WACS
Gen. Benjamin Kaye / Francis the Talking Mule (voice)
 1953 Tumbleweed
Sheriff Murchoree
 1953 The Man from the Alamo
John Gage
 1953 City That Never Sleeps
Sgt. Joe / Voice of Chicago
 1953 Francis Covers the Big Town
Francis the Talking Mule (voice, uncredited)
 1953 Small Town Girl
 1952 Ride the Man Down
Ike Adams
 1952 Francis Goes to West Point
Francis the Talking Mule (voice, uncredited)
 1952 Bronco Buster
Dan Bream
 1951 The Sea Hornet
 1951 Cattle Drive
 1951 Francis Goes to the Races
Francis the Talking Mule (voice, uncredited)
 1951 Oh! Susanna
Sergeant Barhydt
 1950 The Gene Autry Show (TV Series)
Sheriff Chill Wills
- The Peacemaker (1950) ... Sheriff Chill Wills
- The Gray Dude (1950) ... Sheriff Chill Wills
 1950 Rio Grande
Dr. Wilkins (regimental surgeon)
 1950 High Lonesome
Boatwhistle - Ranch Cook
 1950 Stella
Chief Clark (uncredited)
 1950 Rock Island Trail
Hogger McCoy
 1950 Francis
Francis the Talking Mule (voice, uncredited)
 1950 The Sundowners
Sam Beers
 1950 The Grass Is Always Greener (Short)
 1949 Tulsa
Pinky Jimpson - Narrator
 1949 Red Canyon
Marshal G.T. Brackton
 1948 That Wonderful Urge
Homer Beggs - Justice of the Peace - Monroe Township
 1948 Loaded Pistols
Sheriff Cramer
 1948 Family Honeymoon
 1948 The Saxon Charm
Captain Chatham
 1948 Northwest Stampede
 1948 The Sainted Sisters
Will Twitchell
 1947 Heartaches
'Breezie' Mann
 1947 High Barbaree
Lars (uncredited)
 1946 The Yearling
Buck Forrester
 1946 Gallant Bess
Chief Petty Officer
 1946 The Harvey Girls
H.H. Hartsey
 1945 Leave Her to Heaven
Leick Thome
 1945 What Next, Corporal Hargrove?
Sgt. Cramp
 1944 I'll Be Seeing You
 1944 Trailin' West (Short)
Old Man Coffey
 1944 Sunday Dinner for a Soldier
Mr. York
 1944 Meet Me in St. Louis
Mr. Neely
 1944 Barbary Coast Gent
Sheriff Hightower
 1944 The Immortal Blacksmith (Short)
Tom Davenport
 1944 See Here, Private Hargrove
First Sgt. Cramp
 1943 Best Foot Forward
Chester Short
 1943 A Stranger in Town
Charles Craig
 1942 Stand by for Action
Chief Boatswain's Mate Jenks
 1942 Apache Trail
'Pike' Skelton
 1942 The Omaha Trail
Henry Hawkins
 1942 Her Cardboard Lover
 1942 Tarzan's New York Adventure
Manchester Montford
 1942 Mister Gardenia Jones (Documentary short)
Hotel Employee
 1942 The Bugle Sounds
 1941 Honky Tonk
The Sniper
 1941 Belle Starr
Blue Duck
 1941 Billy the Kid
Tom Patterson
 1941 The Bad Man
'Red' Giddings
 1941 Western Union
Homer Kettle
 1940 Tugboat Annie Sails Again
 1940 Sky Murder
Sheriff Beckwith
 1940 Wyoming
Lafe (uncredited)
 1940 The Westerner
 1940 Boom Town
Harmony Jones
 1939 Allegheny Uprising
 1939 The Day the Bookies Wept
Man on Bus (uncredited)
 1939 Timber Stampede
Whopper Hatch
 1939 Racketeers of the Range
Whopper Hatch
 1939 Sorority House
Mr. Johnson
 1939 Trouble in Sundown
 1939 Arizona Legion
Whopper Hatch
 1938 Lawless Valley
Deputy Speedy McGow
 1938 Block-Heads
Midget in Elevator (voice, uncredited)
 1937 Nobody's Baby
Amateur Hour Lead Quartet Singer (as The Avalon Boys)
 1937 Way Out West
Lead Singer of the Singing Quartette / Stan's Bass Singing (as The Avalon Boys)
 1936 Hideaway Girl
Lead Singer of Avalon Boys (as The Avalon Boys)
 1936 At Sea Ashore (Short)
Leader of The Avalon Four (uncredited)
 1936 Anything Goes
Member of The Avalon Boys (uncredited)
 1935 Bar 20 Rides Again
Background Singer / Henchman (as Chill Wills and His Avalon Boys)
 1934 It's a Gift
Campfire Singer (uncredited)
Show Show Soundtrack (27 credits)
Show Show Self (21 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (17 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

Voiced Saddle Sore Swanson (a turkey) in the Disneyland show "America Sings" singing "The Old Chisholm Trail". He never actually saw the show on account of being afraid of the rotating theater. See more »

Publicity Listings:

1 Portrayal | See more »

Alternate Names:

The Avalon Boys | Chill Wills and His Avalon Boys


6' 2" (1.88 m)


Novadeen Googe  (his death) | See more »

Did You Know?


Was in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: The Yearling (1946), Giant (1956) and The Alamo (1960). See more »


The Avalon Boys

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