Chill Wills Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (12)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Seagoville, Texas, USA
Died in Encino, California, USA  (cancer)
Birth NameTheodore Childress Wills
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

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 had two children. He formed a musical group, Chill Wills and His Avalon Boys. During an appearance at the Trocadero in Hollywood, they were spotted by an RKO executive, subsequently appearing as a group in several low-budget Westerns. After a prominent appearance with The Avalon Boys as both himself and the bass-singing voice of Stan Laurel in Way Out West (1937), Wills disbanded the group and began a solo career as a usually jovial (but occasionally sinister) character actor, primarily in Westerns. His delightful portrayal of Beekeeper in The Alamo (1960) won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, but his blatant and embarrassing campaign for the Oscar cost him the award and subjected him to a great deal of humiliation -- and probably cost the film a number of awards as well. His wife died in 1971, and he remarried, to Novadeen Googe, in 1973. He continued to work in films and television, usually in roguishly lovable good-ol'-boy parts, up until his death in 1978.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (2)

Novadeen Googe (7 December 1973 - 15 December 1978) ( his death)
Hattie Elizabeth "Betty" Chappelle (4 December 1928 - 11 November 1971) ( her death) ( 2 children)

Trivia (12)

Had two children: Jill Wills (born 1939) and Will Wills (born 1942).
Endorsed George Wallace in the 1968 presidential election.
Following his death, he was interred at Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6923 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Chill Wills composed the song "The Blue-Eyed Sailor Man" that he performed in the 1942 MGM Feature "Stand By for Action".
Chill Wills claimed to have won a degree from the "Minsky College of Burlesque".
According to 1942 MGM publicity, it was a sweltering hot day when Chill Wills was born, so his parents were inspired to name him "Chill". However, "Chill" is simply a truncated version of his actual middle name, Childress.
Was in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: The Yearling (1946), Giant (1956) and The Alamo (1960).
He was the most prominent member of The Avalon Boys and broke away to start a new career as a solo performer. RKO put him in B Weterns as a sidekick to George O'Brien. In 1940 he was signed up by MGM for whom he played comical cowpokes.
He provided the voice of Francis the Talking Mule.
He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in The Alamo but his blatant campaign to elicit votes cost him the award. One of his ads read 'Win lose or draw, you're all my cousins and I love you. Your Cousin Chill Wills'.
"Chill" Wills did not get the nickname due to the weather. His middle name was, Childers.

Personal Quotes (1)

While campaigning for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1960, Wills took out a series of ads with the declaration "Win, lose or draw, you're all my cousins and I love you."It was signed "Your cousin, Chill Wills". One member of the Academy placed a response ad stating: "Dear Mr. Chill Wills, I am delighted to be your cousin but I voted for Sal Mineo. "It was signed, Groucho Marx.

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