Guy Williams Biography
Armando Jose Catalano.
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".
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 !