The American actor and musician William Katt, is probably best known for starring in the TV series “The Greatest American Hero.”
Age, Early Life, and Education Background
William Theodore Katt was actually born Herman August Wilhelm Katt under the Aquarius zodiac sign on 16 February 1951, in Los Angeles, California, so is 72 years old as of 2023. He is the son of Barbara Hale and Bill Williams, aka William Herman Katt. Both of Katt’s parents were famous actors; his mother is probably best remembered for portraying Della Street in the drama series “Perry Mason,” and her outstanding performance brought her an Emmy Award, whereas his father was perhaps best known for starring in the TV series “The Adventures of Kit Carson.” Katt appeared alongside his mother in numerous Perry Madison made-for-TV films. He has two sisters named Jody Katt and Juanita Katt, and they spent their childhood in the San Fernando Valley and often accompanied their parents to the sets of various projects they worked on. As a result, William grew up very interested in acting and music.
Katt was educated at the Carlsbad-based college-preparatory military school, Army and Navy Academy, then received his higher education at Orange Coast College. While in college, Katt took odd jobs at South Coast Repertory Theater in California.
Katt has portrayed numerous characters while appearing in over 100 projects since he began his acting career. He previously stated, ‘When I play a good guy, I try to explore them and figure out what shapes them and makes them interesting. When I’m playing a bad guy, I try to explore everything that makes them good. No one ever really thinks that they’re a bad guy.’ He began his acting career performing in summer stock theater, and later in minor TV roles. When he was 25 years old, Katt became the mentee of the Emmy Award-winning and three Academy Award-nominated American actress, Piper Laurie. He was ranked among 1977’s 12 Promising New Actors in “John Willis’ Screen World Vol. 29.”
Here’s a couple of pics from the ATL Comic Con…
‘70s – ‘90s
Katt made his film debut as Peter Adams in the Dick Ross-directed drama “The Late Liz” in 1971. In 1975, he auditioned – alongside Kurt Russell, who was looking to land the role of Han Solo – for the role of Luke Skywalker in the acclaimed sci-fi film “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”, but the role went to Mark R. Hamill; his audition footage can be seen in numerous “Star Wars” documentaries.
Katt caught the public’s attention with his portrayal of Tommy Ross in the 1976 supernatural horror film “Carrie.” In 1978, he starred as a young surfer named Barlow in John Milius’ sports comedy-drama movie “Big Wednesday,” which also starred Gary Busey and Jan-Michael Vincent, and shared the screen with his mother, Barbara, who played his on-screen mom. His role in the sports film made him famous in the surfing community, which saw him selected to present 2004’s annual World Championships Tour ceremony’s Association of Surfing Professionals Awards.
1977 saw Katt star as a college student who falls in love for the first time in the drama movie “First Love,” which brought him a Photoplay Awards nomination for Favorite Movie (shared with Susan Dey) in 1978. In 1981, Katt landed his breakthrough role of a mild-mannered teacher, Ralph Hinkley, who has been given a red flying superpowered suit by extraterrestrials, in the ABC comedy-drama superhero TV series “The Greatest American Hero”, starring alongside the well-known late actor, Robert Culp, Connie Sellecca and Don Cervantes. In 2005, Katt was nominated for a TV Land Award for Favorite Airborne Character for his praised performance in the series. Following the success of the first season of the series, Katt signed a contract with MCA Records in 1982 and went on to release the soft rock album entitled “Secret Smiles.” Katt’s stint in “The Greatest American Hero” ended in 1983, when the show was canceled.
Between 1985 and 1988, William played starring roles in nine films by Perry Madison. In 1985, William starred in the adventure fantasy movie “Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend” and later in the 1986 movie “House,” and the 1992 comedy horror movie “House IV.”
21st Century and Continued Success
Katt continued appearing on TV and in films – mostly supporting roles – and lent his voice to characters in numerous animated projects in the early 21st century. He was seen in an episode or two of various TV series, including Fox network’s TV drama, “House”, the space soap opera “Andromeda”, and the films “Alien vs Hunter” and “The Man from Earth” both in 2007. He was cast as Shiv in the 2009 sci-fi movie, “Deadland,” which saw him crowned the Best Actor at 2010’s Mountain Film Festival.
Some of Katt’s next notable appearances were in the 2013 parody comedy horror movie “Paranormal Movie,” the 2014 thriller film “The Unwanted,” and the 2017 sci-fi film “The Man from Earth: Holocene.” Most recently, in 2022 William portrayed Taye Biggs in the action film “Pursuit.”
Writing, Directing, and Other Works
Katt has three writing credits to his name – he wrote “Blade Boxer” in 1997, “Clean and Narrow” in 2000, and “Descendant” in 2003. Moreover, he was the director of “Clean and Narrow,” “River’s End” in 2005, and the short, “Travelers” in 2013.
Katt has sung in Nonesuch Records’ recording of the musical “Pardon My English” by Ira and George Gershwin.
2008 saw Katt start a line of comic books entitled “Catastrophic Comics” ; he began by launching the acclaimed novel “Sparks,” co-created with the film producer, Christopher Folino.
Katt has married twice. In July 1979, he exchanged vows with Deborah Ann Kahane, who has worked as an actress, editor and writer. The couple welcomed two children, Emerson Hunter Katt and Clayton Alexander Katt, but their marriage culminated in divorce in 1992, after spending 13 years together. In 1993, Katt got hitched to Danielle Amy Hirsch, with whom he welcomed a daughter named Dakota Katt. Before marrying Katt, Hirsch had a son named Andrew from her previous marriage. Katt and Hirsch have now been married for over three decades without any rumors of divorce or separation.
Height, Weight, and Physical Appearance
Katt is of White ethnicity and has a set of blue eyes and blonde hair. He’s 5ft 9ins (1.75m) tall and weighs approximately 145lbs (66kgs).
Katt has done well in Hollywood, having starred in various classic projects, which has made him quite famous and fairly wealthy. He’s reputedly worth around $500,000, as of 2023.