Who is William Devane?

American actor, screenwriter and director William Joseph Devane was born in Albany, New Yok State USA, on 5 September 1939, making Virgo his zodiac sign. He has more than 120 acting credits, but is perhaps still known best for starring as Gregory Sumner in 266 episodes (1983-1993) of the romantic series “Knots Landing”, which also starred Ted Shackelford and Michele Lee, and was created by David Jacobs. The series aired its 344 episodes from 1979 through 1993, and follows the lives of people from Knots Landing, Los Angeles; it won 41 of its 86 award nominations.

Early life and education

William was raised in Albany alongside his siblings Joey and Pat Devane, by their father Joseph Devane and mother Kate; Kate was of German and Dutch descent, and their father Irish. Joseph was the chauffer of the late US President Franklin D. Roosevelt while he was the governor of New York State.

William studied at Philip Schuyler High School, and fell in love with acting during his time there, after appearing in a couple of school plays; he was also into sports, playing basketball for the school’s team.

Upon matriculating in 1958, William enrolled at New York City’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts, from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1962.

Roles in TV series

William’s debut TV series role was playing Boyfriend in the 1967 episode “Woman of the World” of the family musical “Directions”, and the following years saw him appear in an episode or two of the crime drama “N.Y.P.D.”, the drama “The Interns”, and the western “Gunsmoke”.

What marked the ‘70s for William was perhaps playing the lead character Sergeant Milt Warden in all three episodes of the 1979 drama mini-series “From Here to Eternity”, which also starred Natalie Wood and follows an Army private who’s fallen in love with his captain’s wife; the mini-series won a 1980 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama (Natalie).

William had only a single TV series role in the ‘80s, playing Royce in the 1982 episode “So Little Time” of the drama “Insight”.

Some of his notable performances in the ‘90s were in the biographical mini-series “A Woman Named Jackie”, the comedy “Phenom” and the drama “The Monroes”.

From 2005 through 2007, William portrayed James Heller in 20 episodes of the hit crime action “24”, which starred Mary Lynn Rajskub and Kiefer Sutherland, and was created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran. It follows the life of counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer, the series aired from 2001 through 2010 and won 74 of its 281 award nominations.

William’s since had only a couple of TV series roles, while his three most recent have been playing President James Heller in all 12 episodes of the 2014 action crime mini-series “24: Live Another Day”, Dean Sanderson Sr. in all 22 episodes of the 2016 comedy “The Grinder”, and Whitney Vance in four episodes of the 2022 crime drama “Bosch: Legacy”.

Roles in movies

William’s debut film role was in the 1967 drama “In the Country”, while some of his following roles were in the 1969 drama “This Town Will Never Be the Same”, the 1971 crime drama “The Pursuit of Happiness”, and also the in 1971 the drama “The 300 Year Weekend”.

What marked the ‘70s for him was perhaps portraying the lead character John F. Kennedy – US President, in the 1974 historical thriller “The Missiles of October”, which also starred Ralph Bellamy and Howard Da Silva, and was directed by Anthony Page. It follows the Kennedy administration in October 1962 as they’re trying to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the movie won two of its 10 award nominations. Some of William’s notable performances in the remainder of the decade were in the 1975 crime action “Report to the Commissioner”, the 1976 crime thriller “Marathon Man”, and the 1979 war drama “Yanks”.

He appeared in only a couple of films in the ‘80s, with some of the most popular amongst these having been the 1983 drama “Hadley’s Rebellion”, the 1987 science fiction adventure “Timestalkers”, and the 1989 crime drama “The Preppie Murder”.

What marked the ‘90s for William was probably his portrayal of Carter in the evergreen 1999 crime action “Payback”, which starred Gregg Henry and Mel Gibson, and was written and directed by Brian Helgeland. It follows Porter who was abandoned by his crew during a heist, while he’s now seeking vengeance; the film won two of its four award nominations.

Some of William’s notable performances in the 2000s were in the 2001 family drama “Race to Space”, the 2006 crime drama “Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise”, and the 2008 action adventure “Stargate: Continuum”.

In 2012, he portrayed President in the hit action thriller “The Dark Knight Rises”, which starred Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway and Christian Bale, and was directed by Christopher Nolan. It follows Batman as he’s defending Gotham City from the new villain Bane, and the film won 42 of its 145 award nominations.

Some of William’s most recent film roles have been in the 2014 science fiction adventure “Interstellar”, the biographical historical drama “Truth” and the crime drama “Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise” both in 2015.

Other credits

William has three writing credits: the 1971 drama movie “The 300 Year Weekend”, the 1976 crime film “The Million Dollar Rip-Off” and four episodes (1987-1993) of the series “Knots Landing”.

He received special thanks for the 2006 short movie “Celebrating Schlesinger”, and the 2011 short comedy film “Cowgirl Up”.

Some of William’s recent talk-show appearances have been in “Dweezil & Lisa”, “TV Land Confidential”, and “Home & Family”.

Awards and nominations

William’s won four of his 11 award nominations: he won three Soap Opera Digest Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor: Prime Time in 1989, 1990 and 1991, and a 2009 TV Land Anniversary Award, all for his performance in “Knots Landing”.

Wife and son

William respects his family’s privacy and is thus keeping his wife and son away from the media’s attention. It’s known that he and American non-celebrity Eugenie McCabe exchanged vows in a small ceremony in 1962 (some sources state a year earlier); she hasn’t launched a career in any field, as she became focused on being a housewife and raising her and William’s sons.

Their son Joshua is today an actor, while their older son Bill died in an accident; no details have been disclosed about Bill’s death.

There are no other women whom William’s been with, that we know about; he’s married to Eugenie McCabe as of June 2023, and they have a son together.

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Interesting facts and hobbies

William isn’t proud of his role in the 2000 crime comedy movie “Poor White Trash”, and has revealed that he only accepted it because he was in dire need of money.

He’s probably known best for political roles, as he’s played a US President in five movies.

William was once the owner of the restaurant Devane’s in Indio, California which served Italian food.

He’s a huge lover of animals; his favorites are horses and he’s an avid horseback rider.

William and Australian actor George Lazenby were born on the exact same day.

One of his favorite actors is Sean Penn, and some of William’s favorite movies include “I Am Sam”, “Carlito’s Way” and “Rain Man”.

Height, eyes and wealth

William’s age is 83. He has brown eyes and grey hair, is 5ft 10ins (1.78m) tall and weighs around 165lbs (74kgs).

William’s net worth’s been estimated at over $5 million, as of June 2023.

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