"I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." -- Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Happy Birthday (91) - Guy Williams (b. 1/14/1924)

Zorro, the perennial masked hero, has been portrayed in film, on TV and on stage by many, such as: Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Robert Livingston, John Carroll, Reed Hadley, Tyrone Power, Guy Williams, Frank Langella, Alain Delon, George Hamilton, Henry Darrow, Antonio Banderas, Christian Meier, and others in a wide variety of adaptations of the stories of Zorro by Johnston McCulley.

But, unofficially, many Zorro fans consider Guy Williams, the greatest Zorro ever.

Guy Williams, an Italian-American, was born in New York on 1/14/1924 and died on 4/30/1989.

Guy Williams and Gene Sheldon
as Zorro and Bernardo, his servant 

He gained fame acting in Walt Disney's TV production of  Zorro which ran from 1957 to 1959. The series was cancelled at the height of its popularity due to Disney's conflict with the broadcasting company that aired the show.

Guy's fans have created many online fansites as well as campaigned for variety of historic markers including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to honor their favorite Zorro.

Below are just a few of the Guy Williams/Zorro fan sites.

Guy Williams' Family website

Guy Williams Web Shrine with links


Beth Wilson's Guy Williams on Bonanza

Bill Cotter's Disney Page

Disney's Zorro Page

Many of Guy Williams fans wonder what happened to him after Disney's TV show Zorro was cancelled.

To learn the answer to that question and much more about Guy Williams' life and career, read Antoinette G. Lane's fine biography, "Guy Williams: Man Behind the Mask" listed on Amazon.

I interviewed Ms. Lane and posted the interview "An interview with Antoinette G. Lane" in an earlier blog post and a shorter version was featured on Boomer Cafe, "Zorro, a Masked Hero to Many Baby Boomers."

According to Ms. Lane, Guy's early training in fencing and horseback riding as well as his early modeling career made him a perfect candidate to star in Disney's Zorro.

Personally, I have a fond affection for the entire Walt Disney production of his 1950s TV show Zorro.

I learned from Ms. Lane's biography that Disney brought movie-making production techniques and quality to television production. This can be seen in the choreographed sword fights and horseback riding and chase scenes.

Disney also used Mexicans and Native Americans as actors and extras. The stories were set in the early history of California when it was ruled by the Spanish, providing an authentic historical context for the story.

Today, we celebrate the life
of a wonderful man and actor, Guy Williams.

Thanks to Kathy G. for the photograph.

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