Member for over 40 years
Bill Hillman is the name I started using as an actor. My friends call me Bill, so my performer name stuck and separates me from that other guy (William Byron Hillman) - the name my mother screamed when angry. The full name stuck as an author and filmmaker.
Like most actors, I started early. I was a stage hog in school and neighborhood musicals and theatre dramas. I did the usual traveling part and eventually landed in Hollywood along with a million or so other guys looking to become a star. Instead I fell in love behind the camera and had the confidence to step out every once in a while to have fun with my fellow actors. Becoming a star never happened, but I've sure had a ball along the way. Getting called to do a part never stops being a thrill. The excitement continues to match the very first day I arrived in Hollywood.
Here I am in QUIGLEY with Gary Busey- and at the table
Doing an Infomercial as Santa - and at Halloween looking rather "white and scary" or kissing a co-star in The Adventures of Ragtime
Or being a client with Perry King
Learning lines and searching for coffee.
THE ADVENTURES OF RAGTIME
ICE STATION ZEBRA
THE MAN FROM CLOVER GROVE
DAYS OF OUR LIVES
This was Doctor Lewis on DAYS OF OUR LIVES
In the beginning I had fun working on and off a new soap opera DAYS OF OUR LIVES. First I played Doctor Lewis, and a few months later in the second year I played Doctor Dunbar. I wore surgical masks so when called back for a third stint I landed Doctor Richards and the audience got a good look at my entire face.
A casting director saw me on the soap and cast me as an Army Corporal sent to arrest Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery). While on the set, the stuntman got sick and I was asked if I could drive a jeep and replace him. They forgot to mention the gag was to race up a hill and fly over the top. Coming from a drag-racing background where we performed insane youthful crazy car performances I said, "no problem" and drove the jeep swiftly up a steep hill. We flew over the top and went airborne. All four wheels spun above the ground and then we landed heavily with a cloud of dust following us down a very long hill. I thought Elizabeth Montgomery was going to have a heart attack. Instead she laughed and giggled for hours. Said she hadn't that much fun in years.
ICE STATION ZEBRA
The film was great fun to work on. I spent hours with Rock Hudson, Ernie Borgnine, Lawrence Harvey, Jim Brown, Tony Bill, Lloyd Noland and Patrick Mcgoohan. I got to work for 19 weeks as an actor, and actually work for the Producer John Calley behind the scenes. I spent time with screenwriters Douglas Heyes, W.R. Burnett, and Harry Julian Fink. I met the author of the book, Alistair MacLean, and drove director John Sturges crazy with questions. When Rock Hudson introduced me to the editor, Ferris Webster, my career took a detour. While working on Zebra I had the pleasure of befriending actors Rock Hudson, Ernie Borgnine, Ron Masak, Jed Allan, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, Ted Hartley and Lee Stanley.