Bart Williams, a veteran character who was formerly very active in Actors Equity, passed away due to cancer at his home in Bullhead, Arizona, his friend Janis Uhley announced. Williams was only 65 years of age.
Williams was also a member of many historical organizations such as Sons of the Desert, which is devoted to comedians Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel, SPERDVAC (The Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety and Comedy), and the Buster Keaton society.
Bart Williams was born in Los Angeles. Bart appeared in Equity productions all across the country for decades. Williams reprised roles that he would later be celebrated for such as Franklin D. Roosevelt in Annie, Cap’n Andy in Show Boat, Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance, and the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz.
Williams’s film credits included Hello Dolly! (1969), Short Circuit 2 (1988), An Enemy of the People (1978), Hadley’s Rebellion (1987), and the television movie Doomsday Clock (2004). The highlights of Williams’s career came in his television credits, which included General Hospital, Abbott & Costello Meet Jerry Seinfeld, Mad TV, Weird Science, and Totally Hidden Video.
Bart Williams’s last acting credit came in 2014, but he had still been active in the filmmaking community until his death in June of 2015.
In addition to acting, Bart Williams was also a successful writer, director, and producer. He accepted many festival awards for his feature documentary The Last First Comic, released in 2010, about Irv Benson, the sole surviving Burlesque comedy headliner. Williams wrote, co-directed, and produced this movie. Benson, now 101, is best known for playing an audience member named Sandy Spritzer who heckled Milton Berle from the seats for years as part of the act.
Bart’s encyclopedic knowledge of theater, radio, film, and television history was practically impossible to match, making him perfect for every society that he was a part of in Hollywood.
Bart Williams is one of the many actors and people in the film industry, in general, to have passed away in 2015. Another character actor by the name of Irwin Keyes, known for his roles in horror films, passed away this month as well. His most well-known role came in The House of 1000 Corpses. Keyes died at only 63-years-old.
Bart Williams’s legacy is survived by a brother and two nieces. Donations can be made in Bart Williams’s name to the Actors Fund. Our condolences go out to Bart Williams’s family, friends, and fans. May he rest in peace.
[Image Source: Janis Uhley]