William Devane Biography

William Devane photo

Born: September 05, 1939

William Devane

Date of Birth: September 5, 1939

He was born in Albany, New York, and got his first acting experience in local theatre. He was awarded a scholarship to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and made his official stage debut as a spear carrier in a production of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. He later went on to give a critically acclaimed performance in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest on Broadway.

Many recognize him as Greg Sumner from the television series Knot's Landing, a character he began playing in 1983. "Greg's one of the few characters in television -- certainly in that format, which is soap opera -- who is not a victim," says Devane. "He's a guy with a private persona and a public persona that are in conflict.

The audience gets to see the private side."

Besides Sumner, Devane has also played President John F. Kennedy in The Missiles of October, a television performance for which he received an Emmy nomination. On the big screen, he has appeared opposite Sir Laurance Olivier in Marthon Man and Vanessa Redgrave in Yanks.

In private, Devane is a committed family man who has two sons and a 30-year-old-long marriage. He says, "Neither one of us has much of an education, so we have a tendency to stay in that kind of place. Not to say it's been easy. One day, it's nobody has the courage to leave, then next day, it's just the best place I've been." Devane is known for his direct sense of humour and has remarked elsewhere, "We only have one car, so she can't go anywhere."


Detonator II: Night Watch (1995)
Night Watch (1995)
Lady in Waiting (1994)
Chips, The War Dog (1993)
The Preppie Murder (1993)
Rubdown (1993)
A Woman Named Jackie - Pt. 1: The Bouvier Years (1993)
A Woman Named Jackie - Pt. 2: The Kennedy Years (1993)
A Woman Named Jackie - Pt. 3: The Onassis Years (1993)
A Woman Named Jackie (1993)
Prophet of Evil: The Ervil LeBaron Story (1993)
The President's Child (1992)
Vital Signs (1990)
Timestalkers (1987)
Jane Doe (1983)
Testament (1983)
Hadley's Rebellion (1982)
Honky Tonk Freeway (1981)
Red Flag - The Ultimate Game (1981)
From Here to Eternity: Pearl Harbor (1980)
From Here to Eternity: Island and Homecoming (1980)
From Here to Eternity: Crossroads and Secrets (1980)
From Here to Eternity: Aftermath and Revenge (1980)
The Dark (1979)
From Here to Eternity (1979) Yanks (1979)
The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977)
Red Alert (1977)
Rolling Thunder (1977)
Family Plot(1976)
Marathon Man(1976)
Fear on Trial (1975)
The Missiles of October (1973)
My Old Man's Place (1972)
Lady Liberty (1972)
Irish Whiskey Rebellion (1972)

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