On recordings, the American actor William Daniels can be heard on original soundtracks such as the historical 1776 and the visionary On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. He has little chance of being confused with singer Billy Daniels, he of "That Old Black Magic," but the two Daniels come from similar dens of courage in terms of hardworking show business traditions. William Daniels has been performing since the age of six, when he would join his sister for a song-and-dance act. There was also the Daniels Family, comprising an additional sibling. Billy Daniels claimed to have sang for 12 sponsors a day, 365 days a year, but the Daniels Family were hardly slouches either during a period when the group took on three radio shows each week.
In 1945 William Daniels was noticed in the play Life With Father, but quite a few years followed until he scored an attention-getting role in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. In 1960 Daniels won several awards for his part in the Edward Albee play The Zoo Story. On screen, Daniels might be best remembered for the 1967 turn as Dustin Hoffman's father in The Graduate. He played John Adams in both the 1969 Broadway musical 1776 and the 1972 film version. In the '80s he appeared in the television soap opera St. Elsewhere while simultaneously providing the voice of an automobile on the fantasy series Knight Rider. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi