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 Guy Williams Biography

Birthname: Armando Jose Catalano. 
Birthdate: January 14th, 1924. 
Birthplace: Fort George, New York City. 
Parents: Attilio and Claire Catalano. 
Siblings: Younger sister Valerie. 
Height: 6 feet 3 inches. 
Eyes: Gray-green. 
Hair: Dark brown. 
Status: Marriage to Janice Cooper. 
Children: Son Steve (Guy Williams, Jr.), daughter Toni. 
Education: George Washington High School, Peekskill  Military Academy.
Hobbies: An avid fencer and chess player, he also played the guitar, was a wonderful cook and was an expert on tropical fish. He was an amateur astronomer and loved to read and listen to all kinds of music, mostly classical. His favorite pastime was sailing his 40-foot ketch, The Oceana.

 

The sad news - Guy Williams passed away...

         On May 08 1989 all the newspapers of the world published articles about the death of Mr Guy Williams in Argentina.  It  was  a shock for all of his fans all over the world, specially for those who finally discovered that Mr  Williams  was  living   in   South  America, where  he  had conquered so many fans on the 60's decade. He was best known as he starred the "Zorro" series in 1957 and also with his great work as Professor John Robinson  in the "Lost In Space" series in 1965.

All about Mr Guy Williams' life - his curiosities, his family background and his career as an actor          

        He was born on January 14, 1924 in New York. His true name was Armando Jose Catalano, but everybody  used to call him "Guido". 

        His father Attilio, a reformed military along with his mother, Claire Catalano, immigrated from Italy to the United States of America soon after World War II. Guy Williams studied in the Peekskill Military High School, but he wasn't a dedicated student. He was more concerned on how to get a job. So, Guy used to do temporary works during school holidays. 

        He finished High School and started a career as a photographic model and actor. When a cast director refused to accept him for not having interest in latin actors, his agent at the time, Henry Wilson, arranged the change of name for him. This is how his name changed from Armando Catalano to Guy Williams. 

        Among the works as a photographic model there are pictures taken for tooth-paste comercials as well as cigarette and alcoholic drinks comercials published in famous magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazar. 

        Fanatic for chess, Williams shared his time between marketing photos and the Manhattan Chess Club. Living in a flat next to the Central Park, he used to go to the Park to play chess with elder people. Years later, with the event of Personal Computers, the actor often used to win his own PC in virtual chess games. 

        During a photo session to an advertisement, Guy knew the model Janice Cooper, to whom he got married few months later. They had two children, Steve (1952) and Toni (1958) a beautiful girl. We believe that the nickname stands for Antonia. Still as a kid, Steve with his mother did a lot of work as a photographic model and performed in many comercials as well. Steve abandoned his career in 1975, as he started working for the Government during 20 years. Actually he works with computers. Toni is married and had a son in 1996, which was baptized with the name of Armand. While studying drama at the Neighborhood Theather, Guy Williams made his premiere starring as an actor in a short movie about the U. S. Army recruitment, which was presented at the movie theaters before the main movies. He also did a lot of TV comercials and pieces on programs such as "Studio One" in New York by the year of 1952. 

The first role plays

        Finally he went to live in Hollywood where he made a test for the Universal International Studios, staying under contract for one year, doing parts on policial and far west movies. Among his works are: "Bonzo Goes to College"(1953), in which he acts as the guardian of Bonzo, a very intelligent monkey, and "The Mississippi Gambler" with Tyrone Power and Dennis Weaver. Besides, many appearances on television shows like "The Lone Ranger". For American Institute Pictures, an independent movie company, Guy Williams worked as the policeman who kills Michael Landon in "I Was a Teenage Werewolf".

        After the Second World War, Williams worked at MGM, where he made small parts on other television shows like "Traffic Patrol" and other films. In one of these films he played the role of the pilot who throws the atomic bomb in Nagasaki. The actor's career was interrupted for several months, when Williams, a sportsman that loved to ride horses, fell down and had to stay in a Hospital. The accident he had on this occasion made a scar on his left shoulder. 

        Feeling somewhat bored for the few opportunities that he had in Hollywood, Williams went back to New York, where he proceeded on his career as a model. In 1957 the Walt Disney Studios started to select actors to work on television show "Zorro" and Williams decided to take a chance in Hollywood one more time. Disney had seen Williams in the movie "I Was a Teenage Werewolf", but he was determined to contract Britt Lomond to the main role of Zorro/Don Diego. Nevertheless, Norman Foster, director and producer of the series wanted Guy Williams to play the role. The controversy on who was going to play the main role of Zorro/Don Diego lasted almost two months, making one of the producers recommend Williams to give up his role on "Zorro" series and opt for "Andy Burnette", which seemed to be meant to success. Guy Williams did not give up and Norman Foster, at last, won the question. Britt Lomond got the role as a Monk. By curiosity - "Andy Burnette" made only three episodes! "Zorro" made Guy Williams a star and solved his financial problems - besides his wage, he also received 2.5 percent of the series profit. Due to some troubles between Walt Disney and NBC, the TV network that broadcasted the series, "Zorro" was cancelled. Unreconciled, Disney kept Williams under contract for two years more in the hope of producing the series again. During this period, Guy Williams made public appearances, dressed as his successful masked character in some events and in Disneyland in order to keep Zorro's memory alive. 

         In 1961 as he was tired of waiting new performances in "Zorro" films and not able to accept new works that were offered him, Guy Williams proposed to the Disney executives to dismiss him and make void his contract. As Disney noticed he couldn't bring "Zorro" back, he decided to set the actor free from his contract. To compensate the fact of making him stuck for such a long time, Disney set him on "The Prince and the Popper" production, which was filmed in London, England. After the film making ended, Guy Williams still starred on "Captain Sinbad", which was also filmed in London. Later on, he traveled to Italy in order to work on the film "Damon and Phytias". He stayed in Europe for 8 months. Within this period of time, the actor and his family took the advantage to visit all the european countries. As he visited the Italian Casinos and played very well, Guy Williams won the enough amount of money to buy a house in Venice, Italy. With so many travels, his agent never could get in contact with him. Thus, by that time the actor lost many work oppotunities in the United States. As he returned to the USA, he accepted some "Bonanza" appearances. His character was created to replace Pernell Roberts that played the role of  Adam and wished to leave the series. Trying to prepare the  leaving of Roberts, Williams was chosen to perform Will Cartwright, Ben's nephew. However, the public did not accepted the replacement and Paramount Pictures got to convince Roberts to renew his contract. Despite the success of the series, Guy Williams was not happy with "Bonanza", due to the heavy environment behind the scenes and the huge pressure that he suffered for having replaced a very dear character from the "Bonanza" series. 

Guy Williams decides to star on "Lost In Space" show

        Satisfied about leaving the series, Guy was contacted by Irwin Allen to star his new production, "LOST IN SPACE". As he read the script, Williams did not get an interest for playing the role on the series. Some people tell that the only reason he accepted to sign the contract was the fact that the Fox Studios were located very close to his house - so close that he was able to be back home every day and have lunch with his family !