Digital Access

Digital Access
Access saukvalley.com and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from SaukValley.com, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
Television

'Maude' co-star, character actor Bill Macy dies at 97

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Bill Macy, the character actor whose hangdog expression was a perfect match for his role as the long-suffering foil to Bea Arthur’s unyielding feminist on the daring 1970s sitcom “Maude,” has died. He was 97.

Macy died Thursday night in Los Angeles, his friend Matt Beckoff said Friday. Further details weren’t immediately available from Beckoff or Macy’s wife, Samantha Harper Macy.

The stint as Walter Findlay on the CBS sitcom that aired from 1972-78 was Macy’s highest-profile in a long stage, film and TV career. He made dozens of guest appearances in series including “Seinfeld,” ‘’How I Met Your Mother” and “ER.”

“Maude” was a spinoff to the landmark sitcom “All in the Family” from producers Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin. Staunch liberal Maude’s sharp exchanges with conservative Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor) were so entertaining that Lear fashioned a series around her.

In a 1998 interview for the TV academy foundation’s archive, Lear said he cast Macy as Maude Findlay’s husband based on his work in an off-Broadway play. In it, his character had a prolonged scene of choking to death on a chicken bone.

It was an unforgettable “tour de force” performance, Lear said.

Macy was born Wolf Garber on May 18, 1922, to Michael and Mollie Garber in Revere, Massachusetts. He had a long career in the theater and film before “Maude,” including as an original cast member of the 1969-72 New York stage sensation “Oh! Calcutta!” that featured fully nude actors. He was in the 1972 movie version of the musical about sexual mores.

Among Macy’s other movie credits are 2006’s “The Holiday”; 1999’s “Analyze This”; the 1979 Steve Martin comedy “The Jerk,” and 1982’s “My Favorite Year” starring Peter O’Toole, an affectionate behind-the-scenes look at a 1950s TV variety series.

Macy, as head comedy writer for temperamental star King Kaiser (Joseph Bologna), used his gifts to great effect, as he later would while playing spouse to demanding Maude.

Among them: his distinctively puffy-eyed, beset-upon expression of suffering, and an ability to slide deftly into explosive frustration.

“Maude” also gave Macy the chance to turn serious. In one story line he descended into alcoholism and struck Maude; in another he offered tender support in a provocative episode when she decided to end an unexpected, late-in-life pregnancy.

In real life, strangers would call him “Mr. Maude” and, presuming that he and Walter really were the same people, console him for having such a difficult wife.

“I used to tell them that people like that really existed,” Macy once explained.

Loading more