Sunday, February 18, 2024

William Boyett (actor)


William Boyett as -- what else? -- a cop
Actors are, more often than not, typecast. Few were typecast more than William Boyett. 

Boyett went into acting around 1950 and started appearing in TV shows. His second role was that of a detective, and he was quickly typecast. Looking at the characters names, you find "Grand Jury Bailiff," "Policeman Cooper," "Agent Lansing," "Special Agent Bob Marshall,""Lt. Keith," "Military Policeman Escort," "Policeman," "Constable Malloy," "State Trooper," "Pier Cop," "Sgt. Geary," "Detective Sergeant Harris," and others (including roles as military officers).

He got his break as a regular in Highway Patrol, where he played Officer Johnson, Broderick Crawford's assistant.* He appeared in over 60 episodes.

When the show ended, he went back to being a cop.  He did several episodes of Dragnet, and Jack Webb liked him enough to give him another regular role as Sgt. "Mac" MacDonald in Adam-12, Mac was the boss of  Malloy and Reed and appeared in more episodes than anyone but them and the woman who did the voice of the despatcher.

After the show ended, he continued to act in TV, including in Star Trek: The Next Generation, where he played a policeman. You kind of wonder if this became a bit of a joke in Hollywood: "We need a cop, let's see if Boyett is available."

But Boyett was clearly a professional, and always was able to do his role believably. Spotting him in old TV shows is plenty of fun.

*And often carried the narrative, since Crawford was an alcoholic and had troubles playing the part.

No comments: