For other people named William Daniels, see William Daniels (disambiguation).
William David Daniels (born March 31, 1927) is an American actor and former president of the Screen Actors Guild (1999 to 2001). He is known for his performance as Dustin Hoffman's character's father in The Graduate (1967), as Howard in Two for the Road, as John Adams in 1776, as Carter Nash in Captain Nice, as Mr. George Feeny in ABC's Boy Meets World and its sequel, Disney Channel's Girl Meets World, as the voice of KITT in Knight Rider, and as Dr. Mark Craig in St. Elsewhere, for which he won two Emmy Awards.
William Daniels was born in Brooklyn, New York to Irene and David Daniels, although he has spoken with a Boston Brahmin accent (with some transatlantic influence) in many of his roles. His father was a builder. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1949, where he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity.
William Daniels began his career as a member of the singing Daniels family in Brooklyn, New York. He made his television debut as part of a variety act (along with other members of his family) in 1943, on NBC, then a single station in New York. He made his Broadway debut in 1945 in Life With Father, and remained a busy Broadway actor for decades afterwards. His Broadway credits include roles in 1776, A Thousand Clowns, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and A Little Night Music. He earned an Obie Award for The Zoo Story (1960).
Daniels's motion picture debut was as a school principal in the 1963 anti-war drama Ladybug Ladybug. In 1965, he reprised his Broadway role as a child welfare worker in the screen version of A Thousand Clowns. In 1967 he starred in The Graduate, with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. In 1969, Daniels starred as John Adams in the Broadway musical 1776; he also appeared in the film version in 1972. Two years later, he co-starred with Larry Hagman, Linda Blair and Mark Hamill in Richard Donner's telefilm Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic.
Daniels's first network television appearance came in 1952 when he portrayed the young John Quincy Adams, eldest son of John and Abigail Adams in the Hallmark Hall of Fame drama A Woman for the Ages. In 1976, he reprised the role as the middle-aged and elder John Quincy Adams in the acclaimed PBS miniseries The Adams Chronicles (George Grizzard played John Adams). He also starred in the short-lived series Captain Nice as police chemist Carter Nash, albeit telling an interviewer in TV Guide he hated the role.
He appeared as acid-tongued (but well-meaning) Dr. Mark Craig in St. Elsewhere from 1982 to 1988, for which he won two Emmy awards. Concurently, he provided the voice of KITT in Knight Rider from 1982 to 1986. Daniels said in 1982, "My duties on Knight Rider are very simple. I do it in about an hour and a half. I've never met the cast. I haven't even met the producer."
He reprised the voice-only role of KITT in 1991 for the television movie Knight Rider 2000, again in the movie The Benchwarmers. He performed the role in AT&T and GE commercials about talking machines, and twice in The Simpsons as well as at the Comedy Central Roast of his co-star David Hasselhoff.
He also performed the voice for a special edition GPS sold by Radio Shack.
Daniels then portrayed teacher (later principal) George Feeny at John Adams High School in Boy Meets World from 1993 to 2000. In addition to the previously mentioned 1967 superhero sitcom Captain Nice, he was a regular on the 1970s TV series Freebie and the Bean and The Nancy Walker Show. A familiar character actor, he has appeared as a guest star on numerous TV comedies and dramas, including Soap, The Rockford Files, Quincy, M.E., and many others.
In 2012, Daniels appeared in the 9th season of Grey's Anatomy as Dr. Craig Thomas, an unlikely mentor to the character of Dr. Cristina Yang played by actress Sandra Oh. His character, Dr. Thomas, died in the operating room while performing a procedure to repair a heart defect midway through the season, which forced Yang to move back to Seattle.
In 2014, Daniels reprised his role as Mr. Feeny in the pilot episode of the "Boy Meets World" spinoff, Girl Meets World. His role was a cameo at the end credits praising the adult Cory Matthews for his parenting.
Bartlett and Daniels both served on Screen Actors Guild's Board of Directors.
Daniels has been married to actress and fellow Emmy Award-winner Bonnie Bartlett since June 30, 1951. The couple have two children.
Daniels refused the 1969 Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor in a Musical in 1776 due to his insistence that the part of John Adams was a leading role rather than supporting. He was ruled to be ineligible for the Best Actor nomination because of the technicality that his name was not billed above the title of the show.
In 1986, both Daniels and his wife, Bonnie Bartlett, who played his fictional wife on St. Elsewhere and Boy Meets World, won Emmy Awards on the same night, becoming the first married couple to accomplish the feat since Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in 1965. Lunt and Fontanne were the first to win Emmy Awards for a film, and Bartlett and Daniels were the first couple to win for a television series.
A Woman for the Ages
John Quincy Adams
A Thousand Clowns
Two for the Road
The President's Analyst
The Fabulous Doctor Fable
A Case of Rape
The Parallax View
Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic
One of Our Own
Francis Gary Powers: The True Story of the U-2 Spy Incident
That Was the Year That Was - 1976
Killer on Board
The One and Only
Big Bob Johnson and His Fantastic Speed Circus
Lawrence Stepwell III
Sergeant Matlovich vs. the U.S. Air Force
The Chinese Typewriter
City in Fear
The Blue Lagoon
Father Damien: The Leper Priest
All Night Long
Richard H. Copleston
The Million Dollar Face
Rehearsal for Murder
Judge Harold Bedford
The Little Match Girl
Howard Beach: Making a Case for Murder
On Thin Ice: The Tai Babilonia Story
Knight Rider 2000
Back to the Streets of San Francisco
Judge Julius Burns
Magic Kid 2
Blades of Glory
Robert Montgomery Presents
Episode: "Three Men From Tomorrow"
Armstrong Circle Theatre
Episode: "Five Who Shook the Mighty",
Episode: "Separate Parents",
Episode: "The Spy Next Door"
Episode: "Man in the Middle"
Episode: "A Kettle of Precious Fish",
Episode: "Idyllis of a Running Back"
Episode: "The Locked Room",
Episode: "A Voice Loud and Clear"
East Side/West Side
Episode: "I Before E Except After C"
The Doctors and the Nurses
Episode: "Field of Battle",
Episode: "A Couple of Dozen Tiny Pills"
For the People
Episode: "Any Benevolent Purpose"
Episode: "The Ring of Anasis"
Carter Nash / Captain Nice
The Good Guys
Episode: "Let 'em Eat Rolls"
The Ghost & Mrs. Muir
Episode: "Mr. Perfect"
Judd, for the Defense
Episode: "Epitaph on a Computer Card"
Episode: "Hear No Evil"
Love, American Style
Segment: "Love and the Old Lover"
Stillwald, the Bank Manager
Episode: "All Honorable Men"
Episode: "Butch Cassidy Rides Again",
Episode: "The Day New York Turned Blue"
Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Police Lt. Jack Matteo
Episode: "The Vampire"
Episode: "Hunger Knows My Name"
Episode: "Irish Luck"
The Bob Newhart Show
Edgar T. Vickers Jr.
Episode: "Fathers and Sons and Mothers"
The Adams Chronicles
John Quincy Adams (age 50-81)
McMillan & Wife
Episode: "Point of Law"
The Rockford Files
Episode: The Italian Bird Fiasco,
Episode: So Help Me God
The Nancy Walker Show
Lt. Commander Kenneth Kitteridge
Dr. Charlie Volmer
Episode: "A Star is Dead",
Episode: "Dark Angel",
Episode: "Last Rights"
The Incredible Hulk
Dr. John Bonifant
Episode: "Death in the Family"
Season 1, Episode 16
Grandpa Goes to Washington
Greatest Heroes of the Bible
Episode: "Joshua and the Battle of Jericho"
G. Gordon Liddy
The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo
Dr. Walter Taylor
Episode: "Who's the Sexiest Girl in the World"
Episodes: The Night the Cylons Landed Part 1 & 2
Freebie and the Bean
District Attorney Walter W. Cruikshank
Trapper John, M.D.
Episode: "Second Sight"
Episode: "Bye, Bye Benjamin"
Hart to Hart
Episode: "Hartless Hobby"
Dr. Mark Craig
Faerie Tale Theatre
Episode: "The Princess Who Had Never Laughed"
The General Motors Playwright Theatre
Detective Lieutenant Fine
Episode: "Family Outing"
Boy Meets World
Touched by an Angel
Episode: "And a Nightingale Song"
Episode: "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace" (Voice),
Episode: "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (Voice)
Star Trek: Voyager
Hospital Ship 4-2, Allocation Alpha
Voice. Episode: "Critical Care"
Episode: "My Sacrificial Clam"
Lost at Home
Episode: "Our Town"
The Lyon's Den
Judge Franklin Campbell
The King of Queens
Episode: "Icky Shuffle"
Voice. Episode "Ron Millionaire"
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
Voice. Episode: "Runaway Pants/Scythe 2.0"
Commissioner Andrew Schmidt
Episodes: "Serving the King Part 1 & 2"
Judge Milton Brody
Episode: "Smoke Signals"
Episode: "Ghost Tits"
Dr. Craig Thomas
Girl Meets World
Cameo, Episode: "Girl Meets World" (season 1),
Recurring role (season 2)
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license