William H. Macy Biography

William H. Macy photo

Born: March 13, 1950


Date of Birth: March 13, 1950

Born in Miami, Florida, William H. Macy is the only child of a decorated World War II bomber pilot and a war widow. A popular student in high school, he experienced his first connection with the performing arts playing the role of Mordred in a school production of Camelot. Following his graduation in 1968, he pursued a degree in veterinary science at West Virginia's Bethany College, until he was prompted to transfer after participating in student productions to Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt., in 1970 to study acting. There, Macy's acting aspirations fully flowered under the tutelage of Goddard alum and rising playwright David Mamet.

After completing his degree, Macy drifted out to California, where he worked as a set designer while attempting to assemble an acting troupe to perform on cruise ships. He settled in Chicago for a while, where he appeared in (and contributed voiceovers to) numerous commercials, and earned his SAG membership as "W.H. Macy," a designation he was forced to accept in deference to comedian Bill Macy. He left Chicago in 1978, and relocated to New York in search of expanded acting opportunities.

Though he made his feature-film debut in the 1980 feature Somewhere in Time shortly after his arrival in the Big Apple, Macy spent most of the next decade doing off-Broadway roles and making an endless stream of commercials. He ended up losing his W.H. moniker, but commercial success eluded him enough to force him to relocate to Los Angeles in 1990.

A string of memorable supporting performances in films like Searching for Bobby Fischer, The Client, Mr. Holland's Opus, and Murder in the First followed, as well as a recurring role on the hit series ER from 1994 to 1998 as Dr. David Morgenstern. But it was the Coen brothers' Fargo (1996) that was his breakthrough: his performance was rewarded with a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and after years of toiling in obscurity, Macy was suddenly a hot commodity. He went on to enjoy major supporting roles in Air Force One, Boogie Nights and Wag the Dog (all 1997) and gave more support in 1998 with Psycho and A Civil Action. He continues to work steadily in a variety of films such as Wild Hogs (2007) and Marmaduke (2010). He then appeared in the thriller, A Single Shot (2013) and in Cake (2015). He also starred in the acclaimed drama film Room (2015) and the action thriller Blood Father (2016).

Wed since 1997 to actress and longtime love Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), Macy resides in Los Angeles. They have two daughters, Sofia Grace, born in 2000, and Georgia Grace, born in 2002.

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