Bill Macy, best known for his role on the sitcom Maude, has passed away at the age of 97. Born Wolf Garber on May 18, 1922, to Michael and Mollie Garber in Revere Massachusetts, Macy worked as a taxi driver before starting a formidable career in show business.
Macy received a stepping stone into the industry when he was cast on Broadway as an understudy for Walter Matthau in the 1985 production of Once More, With Feeling. On the set of the off-Broadway production of Oh! Calcutta!, Macy met his wife, Samantha, and the couple wed in 1975. Displaying his raw comedic talent in a play where his character is choking on a chicken bone, Macy was eyed by sitcom producer Norman Lear. Hailed as a legendary producer, Lear revolutionized television with the creation of sitcoms All in the Family, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, and Maude. A spinoff to landmark sitcom, All in the Family, Maude aired on CBS from 1972-78. Starring The Golden Girls’ Bea Arthur as the title character, Maude follows a strong-willed feminist living with her fourth husband, Walter Findlay. Lear recruited Macy to portray Walter after the actor played the small role of a police officer in All in the Family.
The news of Macy’s death was announced by his producer and manager Matt Beckoff. Beckoff expressed his fondness for the actor stating “He was a spitfire right up to the end.'' Macy passed away last night at 7:13 pm in Los Angeles and is survived by his wife Samantha Harper Macy. Check out Beckoff's post below:
During the actor’s time on Maude, Macy made an imprint in the sitcom world and displayed his knack for serious acting. Revered as a sitcom ahead of its era, Maude tackled numerous issues including, cosmetic surgery, sexual assault, race relations, and ageism. Macy garnered critical praise for an episode called “Walter’s Problem”, where his character loses his job, succumbs to alcoholism, and strikes Maude across her face. Masterfully juggling humor and seriousness, Macy and Arthur’s chemistry remains undeniable.
Toting an impressive list of more than 70 appearances in film and television, Macy has appeared in Carl Reiner’s The Jerk, starring Steve Martin. Working opposite Hollywood's finest like Mel Brooks, Robert De Niro, and Billy Crystal, Macy scored roles in Analyze This, The Holiday, NYPD Blue, and Seinfeld. Macy left a permanent mark on the sitcom world, not only with his performances but with his reputation for being a hard-working, kind and generous actor. Undoubtedly, Bill Macy will be greatly missed.
R.I.P. Bill Macy - May, 18 1922 - October 17, 2019
Source: Matt Beckoff