Born: March 13, 1950
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, U.S.
William Hall Macy, Jr. (born March 13, 1950) is an American actor, screenwriter, teacher and theater director. His film career has been built mostly on his appearances in small, independent films, though he has also appeared in summer action films. Macy has described himself as "sort of a Middle American, WASPy, Lutheran kind of guy... Everyman".
Macy has won two Emmy Awards and three Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Since 2011, he has played Frank Gallagher, a main character in the Showtime television series Shameless. Macy and actress Felicity Huffman have been married since 1997.
Macy was born in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Georgia and Maryland. His father, William Hall Macy, Sr. (1922-2007), was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal for flying a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber in World War II; he later ran a construction company in Atlanta, Georgia, and worked for Dun & Bradstreet before taking over a Cumberland, Maryland-based insurance agency when Macy was nine years old. His mother, Lois (née Overstreet; 1920-2001), was a war widow who met Macy's father after her first husband died in 1943; Macy has described her as a "Southern belle".
Macy graduated from Allegany High School in Cumberland, Maryland in 1968, going on to study veterinary medicine at Bethany College in West Virginia. By his own admission a "wretched student," he transferred to Goddard College and became involved in theatre, where he performed in ensemble productions of The Three Penny Opera, A Midsummer Night's Dream and a wide variety of contemporary and improvisational pieces. At Goddard, he first met playwright David Mamet.
After graduating from Goddard in 1971, Macy moved to Chicago, Illinois, working as a bartender to pay the rent. Within a year, he and David Mamet, among others, founded St. Nicholas Theater Company, where Macy originated roles in a number of Mamet's plays, such as American Buffalo and The Water Engine. While in Chicago in his twenties, he did a TV commercial. He was required to join AFTRA in order to do the commercial, and received his SAG card within a year, which for an elated Macy represented an important moment in his career.
Macy spent time in Los Angeles, before moving to New York City in 1980, where he had roles in over 50 Off Broadway and Broadway plays. One of his early on-screen roles was as a turtle named Socrates in the direct-to-video film The Boy Who Loved Trolls (1984), under the name W. H. Macy (so as not to be confused with the actor Bill Macy). He also had a minor role as a hospital orderly on the sitcom Kate & Allie in the fourth-season episode "General Hospital" (also as W. H. Macy). He has appeared in numerous films that Mamet wrote and/or directed, such as House of Games, Things Change, Homicide, Oleanna (reprising the role he originated in the play of the same name), Wag the Dog, State and Main and Spartan.
Macy may be best known for his lead role in Fargo, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. The role helped boost his career and recognizability, though at the expense of nearly confining him to a narrow typecast of a worried man down on his luck. Other Macy roles of the 1990s and 2000s included Benny & Joon, Above Suspicion, Mr. Holland's Opus, Ghosts of Mississippi, Air Force One, Boogie Nights, Pleasantville, Gus Van Sant's remake of Psycho, Happy, Texas, Mystery Men, Magnolia, Jurassic Park III, Focus, Panic, Welcome to Collinwood, Seabiscuit, The Cooler and Sahara.
Macy has also had a number of roles on television, including a guest appearance on The Unit, as the President of the United States. In 2003, he won a Peabody Award and two Emmy Awards, one for starring in the lead role, and one as co-writer, of the made-for-TNT film Door to Door. Door to Door is a drama based on the true story of Bill Porter, a door-to-door salesman in Portland, Oregon, born with cerebral palsy.
His work on ER and Sports Night has also been recognized with Emmy nominations.
In a November 2003 interview with USA Today, Macy stated that he wanted to star in a big-budget action movie "for the money, for the security of a franchise like that. And I love big action-adventure movies. They're way cool." He serves as director-in-residence at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York, where he teaches a technique called Practical Aesthetics. A book describing the technique, A Practical Handbook for the Actor (ISBN 0-394-74412-8), is dedicated to Macy and Mamet.
In 2007, Macy starred in Wild Hogs, a film about middle-aged men reliving their youthful days by taking to the open road on their Harley-Davidson motorcycles from Cincinnati to the Pacific Coast. Despite being critically panned with a 14% "rotten" rating from Rotten Tomatoes, it was a financial success, grossing over $168 million. In 2009, Macy completed filming on The Maiden Heist, a comedy that co-starred Morgan Freeman and Christopher Walken.
On June 23, 2008, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced Macy and his wife, Felicity Huffman, would each receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the upcoming year. On January 13, 2009, Macy replaced Jeremy Piven in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow on Broadway. Piven suddenly and unexpectedly dropped out of the play in December 2008 after he experienced health problems; Norbert Leo Butz covered the role from December 23, 2008, until Macy took over the part. Dirty Girl, which starred Macy along with Juno Temple, Milla Jovovich, Mary Steenburgen and Tim McGraw, premiered September 12, 2010 at the Toronto International Film Festival.
In summer 2010, Macy joined the Showtime pilot Shameless as the protagonist Frank Gallagher. The project ultimately went to series, its first season on premiered January 9, 2011. Macy has received high critical acclaim for his performance, eventually getting an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2014.
In the 2012 film The Sessions, Macy played a priest who helps a man with a severe disability find personal fulfillment through a sex surrogate. He made his directorial debut with the independent drama Rudderless, and stars Billy Crudup, Felicity Huffman, Selena Gomez and Laurence Fishburne. He is currently directing The Layover, a road trip sex comedy starring Alexandra Daddario and Kate Upton in which Macy will also appear.
In 2015, he had a small role as Grandpa in the drama film Room, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film reunited him with his Pleasantville wife, Joan Allen.
Macy and actress Felicity Huffman dated on-and-off for 15 years before they married on September 6, 1997; they have two daughters, Sophia Grace (born August 1, 2000) and Georgia Grace (born March 14, 2002).
Macy and Huffman appeared at a rally for John Kerry in 2004. Macy also plays the ukulele and is an avid woodturner; he has appeared on the cover of the specialist magazine Fine Woodworking and was featured in an article in the April 2015 issue of American Woodturner (publication of American Association of Woodturners). He is a national ambassador for the United Cerebral Palsy Association.
Since shooting the film Wild Hogs, Macy has picked up a strong interest in riding motorcycles.
|Somewhere in Time||Critic|
|1983||Without a Trace||Reporter|
|1985||The Last Dragon||J. J.|
|1987||Radio Days||Radio Actor|
|House of Games||Sgt. Moran|
|1988||Things Change||Billy Drake|
|1992||The Water Engine||Charles Lang|
|Benny & Joon||Randy Burch|
|Searching for Bobby Fischer||Petey's Father|
|1994||The Client||Dr. Greenway|
|1995||Murder in the First||D.A. William McNeil|
|Dead on Sight||Steven Meeker|
|Tall Tale||Railroad Magnate||Uncredited|
|Mr. Holland's Opus||Vice Principal Gene Wolters|
|Down Periscope||Commander Carl Knox|
|Ghosts of Mississippi||Charlie Crisco|
|1997||Colin Fitz Lives!||Mr. O'Day / Colin Fitz|
|Air Force One||Major Norman Caldwell|
|Boogie Nights||Little Bill Thompson|
|Wag the Dog||CIA Agent Charles Young|
|The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue||Justin (voice)|
|A Civil Action||James Gordon|
|The Con||Bobby Sommerdinger|
|1999||Happy, Texas||Sheriff Chappy Dent|
|Mystery Men||The Shoveler|
|A Slight Case of Murder||Terry Thorpe|
|The Night of the Headless Horseman||Ichabod Crane (voice)|
|Magnolia||Quiz Kid Donnie Smith|
|2000||State and Main||Walt Price|
|2001||Jurassic Park III||Paul Kirby|
|Focus||Lawrence "Larry" Newman|
|2002||It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie||Glenn|
|Welcome to Collinwood||Riley|
|2003||The Cooler||Bernie Lootz|
|Easy Riders, Raging Bulls||Narrator||Documentary|
|Stealing Sinatra||John Irwin|
|Seabiscuit||Tick Tock McGlaughlin|
|2004||Cellular||Sgt. Bob Mooney|
|In Enemy Hands||Chief of Boat Nathan Travers|
|2005||Sahara||Admiral James Sandecker|
|Thank You for Smoking||Senator Ortolan K. Finistirre|
|2006||Doogal||Brian the Snail (voice)|
|Everyone's Hero||Lefty Maginnis (voice)|
|Choose Your Own Adventure DVD Series||Rudyard North|
|2007||Wild Hogs||Dudley Frank|
|He Was a Quiet Man||Gene Shelby|
|2008||The Deal||Charlie Berns|
|Bart Got a Room||Ernie Stein|
|The Tale of Despereaux||Lester (voice)|
|2009||The Maiden Heist||George|
|2011||The Lincoln Lawyer||Frank Levin|
|2012||The Sessions||Father Brendan|
|2013||A Single Shot||Pitt|
|2014||The Wind Rises||Satomi (voice)||English version|
|Ernest & Celestine||Head Dentist (voice)|
|Rudderless||Tavern Owner / Emcee||Director|
|Stealing Cars||Philip Wyatt|
|Room||Robert "Grandpa" Newsome|
|Dial a Prayer||Bill|
|1978||The Awakening Land||Will Beagle||3 episodes|
|1984||The Boy Who Loved Trolls||Socrates the Turtle (voice)||Television film|
|1985-1988||Spencer: For Hire||Efrem Connors||3 episodes|
|1986||Kate & Allie||Carl||Episode: "General Hospital"|
|1987||The Equalizer||Dr. Spaulding||Episode: "Hand and Glove"|
|1988||The Murder of Mary Phagan||Randy||Television film|
|1988||Lip Service||Television film; director only|
|1990||Law & Order||John McCormack||Episode: "Everybody's Favorite Bagman"|
|1992||Law & Order||Powell||Episode: "Sisters of Mercy"|
|The Heart of Justice||Booth||Television film|
|1993||Bakersfield P.D.||Russell Karp||Episode: "Cable Does Not Pay"|
|L.A. Law||Bernard Ruskin||Episode: "Rhyme and Punishment"|
|1994-2009||ER||Dr. David Morgenstern||31 episodes|
|1998||Superman: The Animated Series||The Director||Episode: "Where There's Smoke"|
|The Con||Bobby Sommerdinger||Television film|
|The Lionhearts||Leo Lionheart||13 episodes|
|King of the Hill||Dr. Rubin (voice)||Episode: "Pregnant Paws"|
|1999||Batman Beyond||Aaron Herbst (voice)||Episode: "Disappearing Inque"|
|1999-2000||Sports Night||Sam Donovan||6 episodes|
|2000||Batman Beyond||Karros (voice)||Episode: "Big Time"|
|2002||Door to Door||Bill Porter||Television film|
|2003||Out of Order||Steven||6 episodes|
|2004||Reversible Errors||Arthur Raven||Television film|
|2005||The Wool Cap||Charlie Gigot||Television film|
|2006||The Simpsons||Himself (voice)||Episode: "Homer's Paternity Coot"|
|Nightmares and Dreamscapes||Sam Landry / Clyde Umney||Television film|
|2006-07||Curious George||Narrator||30 episodes|
|2007||The Unit||President of the United States||Episode: "The Broom Closet"|
|2011-present||Shameless||Frank Gallagher||60 episodes|
|1992||Independent Spirit Awards||Best Supporting Male||Homicide||Nominated|
|1995||Best Male Lead||Oleanna||Nominated|
|1997||Academy Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Fargo||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Awards||Best Actor||Nominated|
|Florida Film Critics Circle Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|Independent Spirit Awards||Best Male Lead||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series||ER||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama||Fargo||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role||Nominated|
|1998||Boston Society of Film Critics Awards||Best Supporting Actor||A Civil Action||Won|
|Florida Film Critics Circle Awards||Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast||Boogie Nights||Won|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Nominated|
|1999||American Comedy Awards||Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture||Pleasantville||Nominated|
|National Board of Review||Best Cast||Magnolia||Won|
|2000||American Comedy Awards||Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture||Happy, Texas||Nominated|
|Florida Film Critics Circle Awards||Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast||Magnolia||Won|
|National Board of Review||Best Cast||State and Main||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series||Sports Night||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||A Slight Case of Murder||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Actor - Miniseries or a Television Film||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture||Happy, Texas||Won|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Magnolia||Nominated|
|2001||Florida Film Critics Circle Awards||Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast||State and Main||Won|
|Online Film Critics Society Awards||Best Cast||Won|
|2003||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film||Door to Door||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Won|
|Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special||Won|
|Satellite Awards||Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film||Won|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie||Won|
|2004||Golden Globe Awards||Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture||Seabiscuit||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Stealing Sinatra||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama||The Cooler||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Seabiscuit||Nominated|
|2005||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film||The Wool Cap||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Nominated|
|Outstanding Made for Television Movie||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Stealing Sinatra||Won|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie||The Wool Cap||Nominated|
|2006||Hollywood Film Festival||Best Cast||Bobby||Won|
|2007||Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards||Best Cast||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie||Nightmares and Dreamscapes||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Bobby||Nominated|
|Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie||Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King||Nominated|
|2011||Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Actor in a Drama Series||Shameless||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Actor - Television Series Drama||Nominated|
|2012||Prism Awards||Best Performance in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2014||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2015||Golden Globe Award||Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2016||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
William H. Macy supports the following charitable cause: Alzheimer's.