biography

Born Grant John Williams in New York on August 18, 1931 (some sources cite 1930 as his date of birth), Grant Williams began acting in summer stock while still a child. Upon graduating from high school, Williams enlisted in the Air Force. After completing his stint, which included a tour of Korea, Williams returned home to New York, where he began acting lessons with Lee Strasberg and enrolled in college courses. Although he was initially interested in singing, he soon was bitten by the acting bug. By 1953, he took on small roles in Broadway shows such as Late Arrival, but these plays were largely unsuccessful. He had more luck doing television work in New York on the shows Climax and Kraft Television Theatre, which were usually broadcast live. A talent scout spotted Williams for films during his first appearance on Kraft Theatre in 1954.

Grant WilliamsGrant Williams

Various stills of Grant Williams

In 1956, Williams signed a contract with Universal-International and made his film debut in the western Red Sundown (1956; with Rory Calhoun). Although Williams made several westerns during his career, his horror films are best remembered today. His horror features for Universal include the cult classics The Monolith Monsters (1957; with Lola Albright); The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957; with Randy Stuart); and The Leech Woman (1960; with Coleen Gray and Gloria Talbott).

When Grant Williams' contract with Universal-International lapsed in 1959, he inked a deal with Warner Bros. to act in the studio's films and television series. His first assignment came when he was added to the cast of the TV series Hawaiian Eye in December 1960 in the role of Greg McKenzie. Other actors in the cast of Hawaiian Eye include Connie Stevens, Anthony Eisley, Robert Conrad, and Troy Donahue.

the films of grant williams

Four Girls in Town (1956)

Grant Williams and Elsa Martinelli

With Elsa Martinelli in Four Girls in Town

Outside the Law (1956)

Grant Williams and Leigh Snowden

With Leigh Snowden in the crime drama Outside the Law

Red Sundown (1956)

Grant Williams

From Universal-International's Red Sundown

Showdown at Abilene (1956)

Grant Williams and Jock Mahoney

With Jock Mahoney in Showdown at Abilene

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

Grant Williams and Randy StuartGrant Williams in The Incredible Shrinking Man

Williams in the Universal-International cult classic The Incredible Shrinking Man, probably his best-known film. The left photo features Randy Stuart

The Leech Woman (1960)

Coleen Gray, Grant Williams, and Gloria TalbottGrant Williams and Coleen Gray

Stills from the campy Universal horror flick The Leech Woman. LEFT: With Coleen Gray and Gloria Talbott. RIGHT: With Coleen Gray

Hawaiian Eye (ABC TV series, 1959-1963)

Grant Williams on Hawaiian EyeGrant Williams

LEFT: Grant Williams on Hawaiian Eye. RIGHT: Warner Bros. promotional photo

The Iron Horseman (unaired pilot, 1960)

Grant Williams

Williams as Ben Scott from the pilot of The Iron Horseman

Susan Slade (1961)

Grant Williams and Connie Stevens

With Connie Stevens in the tearjerker Susan Slade

The Couch (1962)

Grant Williams and Shirley Knight

Williams as a serial killer in The Couch. Also pictured is Shirley Knight

Brain of Blood (1972)

Grant Williams, John Bloom, and Kent TaylorGrant WilliamsRegina Carrol and Grant Williams

From William's final film, Brain of Blood, directed by Al Adamson. LEFT: Grant Williams and Kent Taylor try to fend off Gor (John Bloom). CENTER: Williams tends to one of Gor's victims. RIGHT: With Regina Carrol

later years

Before being cast in Hawaiian Eye, Grant Williams shot a pilot for a proposed NBC-TV western series titled The Iron Horseman along with co-star Barry Kelley. However, with the explosion of TV westerns beginning to fade, NBC pulled the plug on this series before the debut of the 1960-1961 season. Warner Bros. cast Williams in several higher profile films, including Susan Slade (1961 with Connie Stevens and Troy Donahue); The Couch (1962 with Shirley Knight); and PT 109 (1963 with Cliff Robertson and Ty Hardin). But when his Warner Bros. contract lapsed in 1963, Williams' career slid badly, as his reputation for being difficult took hold, not to mention his increasing reliance on alcohol. In the late 1960s, he attempted to make a comeback on television. However, after a bitter disagreement with Jack Webb during the shooting of a 1969 Dragnet episode, Williams walked away from television. He resurfaced again in the early 1970s with a couple of ultra-low-budget exploitation flicks, How's Your Love Life? (1971; with Mary Beth Hughes) and Brain of Blood (1972; with Kent Taylor).

In the mid 1970s, Grant Williams started an acting school in West Hollywood and settled into the life of an acting coach, but he never accepted another film or television role. His last appearance on television was on the game show Family Feud in 1983 with selected cast members from Hawaiian Eye. About two years after appearing on the show, Grant Williams passed away from peritonitis on July 28, 1985. The lifelong bachelor was 53 years old. He was survived by a brother, Robert.

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filmography

FILM
Brain of Blood (1972) with Regina Carrol, Kent Taylor, and Reed Hadley; directed by Al Adamson
How's Your Love Life? (1971) with John Agar, Eve Brent, and Mary Beth Hughes
The Doomsday Machine (1967/1972) with Bobby Van, Ruta Lee, Denny Miller, Mala Powers, James Craig, and Henry Wilcoxon
PT 109 (1963) with Cliff Robertson, Ty Hardin, Robert Culp, Robert Blake, and James Gregory
The Couch (1962) with Shirley Knight and Anne Helm
Susan Slade (1961) with Connie Stevens and Troy Donahue
13 Fighting Men (1960) with Brad Dexter, Carole Mathews, Robert Dix, and Richard Garland
The Leech Woman (1960) with Coleen Gray, Phillip Terry, and Gloria Talbott
The Lone Texan (1959) with Willard Parker, Audrey Dalton, and Dabbs Greer
The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) with Randy Stuart and Raymond Bailey
The Monolith Monsters (1957) with Les Tremayne and Lola Albright
Outside the Law (1956) with Ray Danton, Leigh Snowden, Mel Welles, and Raymond Bailey
Four Girls in Town (1956) with George Nader, Julie Adams, and John Gavin
Red Sundown (1956) with Rory Calhoun and Martha Hyer
Showdown at Abilene (1956) with Jock Mahoney, Martha Hyer, Dean Jagger, and Lita Baron
Written on the Wind (1956) with Rock Hudson, Lauren Bacall, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone, Edward Platt, and John Larch
Away All Boats (1956) with Jeff Chandler, George Nader, Julie Adams, Lex Barker, and Keith Andes

TELEVISION SERIES
Hawaiian Eye, ABC-TV series produced by Warner Brothers from 1959 through 1963. Williams was a cast member from December 1960 until the series ended in 1963. Also in the cast were Robert Conrad, Troy Donahue, Anthony Eisley, Connie Stevens, and Poncie Ponce
The Iron Horseman proposed NBC-TV series

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
Family Feud, appearance with select cast members from Hawaiian Eye (including Connie Stevens, Anthony Eisley, Poncie Ponce, and Troy Donahue), originally aired April 15, 1983
My Friend Tony, episode The Lost Hours, originally aired February 2, 1969
The Outcasts, episode The Candidates, originally aired January 27, 1969
Dragnet, episode B.O.D. DR 27, originally aired January 25, 1969
The F.B.I., episode Breakthrough, originally aired November 17, 1968
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Baffling Bug, originally aired December 12, 1965
Bonanza, episode Patchwork Man, originally aired May 23, 1965
The Outer Limits, episode The Brain of Colonel Barham, originally aired January 2, 1965
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Ruinous Road, originally aired December 31, 1964
The Munsters, episode The Sleeping Cutie, originally aired December 10, 1964
Mr. Lucky, episode Stacked Deck, originally aired May 28, 1960
Bonanza, episode Escape to the Ponderosa, originally aired March 5, 1960
Alcoa Presents One Step Beyond, episode Dead Ringer, originally aired December 1, 1959
Texas John Slaughter, episode The Man from Bitter Creek, originally aired March 6, 1959
Yancy Derringer, episode Longhair, originally aired March 5, 1959
Gunsmoke, episode Mike Blocker, originally aired February 28, 1959
Man with a Camera, episode Another Barrier, originally aired November 14, 1958
Kraft Television Theatre, in episode I am 15 and I Don't Want to Die, originally aired October 17, 1956
Kraft Television Theatre, episode Alice in Wonderland, originally aired May 5, 1954

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Watch Grant Williams in a 1959 episode of One Step Beyond titled Dead Ringer

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