Guy Williams


  1. Anthony Dexter, Valentino, 1950.  The second of Dexter’s 25 screen roles (go on, name one) is his most famous film. The Nebraska farm boy was a real clone of the silent movie icon – aka Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguolla. “Incredible!” declared George Melford who directed Valentino’s The Sheik in 1921. “The same eyes, ears, mouth – the same grace in dancing.”  The Columbia Pictures publicity machine insisted  that 75,000 applicants led to 400 screen tests – none seemed to be Italian. Certainly not the final seven. Producer Edward Small (his name condemned his work in advance – Small productions!) finally went through Argentine Fernando Lamas, two Mexicans, (Arturo de Córdova, Ricardo Montalban) and three Yanks (John Derek, Jon Hall, Guy Williams) before voting Dexter. UK director Ken Russell made a glossier (well, typically Russellian) version in 1976.  His Rudolph wasn’t Italian either. But Russian! The ballet star Rudolph (geddit?) Nureyev.

  2. Jerome Courtland, The Saga of Andy Burnett, TV, 1957-1958.    Knowing he was close to winning Zorro, Williams withdrew from testing for another Disney series – a short-lived part of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Colour.   A veteran of WWII in the Pacific, Courtland later turned series director of everything from The Flying Nun to Dynasty.

  3. Henry Darow, Zorro and Son, TV, 1983.    When Disney tried rebooting the mysterious hero, the suits’ first idea was to call up Zorro, himself, from the 1957-1961 series.   Instead, the role went to one of Williams’ 130 rivals for the mask and rapier 26 years before. Darrow was the sole actor involved in three US versions of Zorro and the first Latino to play the hero on TV.  For five episodes.

 Birth year: 1924Death year: 1989Other name: Casting Calls:  3