Chill Wills Overview:

Legendary character actor, Chill Wills, was born Chill Theodore Wills on Jul 18, 1902 in Seagoville, TX. Wills died at the age of 76 on Dec 15, 1978 in Encino, CA .

Chill Theodore Wills was born on July 18th, 1902 in Seagoville, Texas. Since his childhood, Wills proved to be gifted as a musician and began performing at a young age. By age 12 Wills was performing at tent shows, vaudeville and local stock companies. He continued to perform into his twenties and eventually formed the singing group, The Avalon Boys, in the early 1930s, where he acted as the groups lead singer. As the groups popularity grew, so did their opportunities and soon Hollywood was knocking.

By the mid-1934 The Avalon Boys were appearing in comedy films with their most notable appearance being in the Laurel and Hardy film Way Out West. When the group disbanded Wills remained in Hollywood where, thanks to his western drawl and stoic personality, he was easily able to find work as a character actor in the Hollywood western. He quickly made a name for himself by appearing a series of small budget westerns such as Trouble in Sundown, Timber Stampede, and Racketeers of the Range. By the 1940's Wills was playing bigger roles in superior film such as Western Union, The Westerner, and Apache Trail. Outside of the western, Wills also appeared in films like Meet Me in St. Louis, I'll be Seeing You, and Family Honeymoon.

In 1960 Wills was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his performance as the Beekeeper in The Alamo. However, thanks to fairly tasteless and aggressive campaign, not only did he not win the award but may have cost the film other awards as well. Wills continued acting into the 1960s and 1970s and like, many other stars, began working on the growing medium of television, appearing in series like Frontier Circus, Route 66, and Rawhide. His final screen appearance was in 1978 as a Janitor in the made for TV film Stubby Pringle's Christmas. Later that year on December 15th, 1978, Chill Wills died. He was 76 years old. 

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).

HONORS and AWARDS:

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Although Wills was nominated for one Oscar, he never won a competitive Academy Award.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1960Best Supporting ActorThe Alamo (1960)BeekeeperNominated
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He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures.

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Chill Wills Quotes:

Uncle Bawley: Bick, you shoulda shot that fella a long time ago. Now he's too rich to kill.


Sheriff Cramer: Gene, I'd like to borrow that pistol from you if you don't mind.
Gene Autry: Now look here, Sheriff...
Sheriff Cramer: It might go off accidental-like and hurt somebody.
Gene Autry: All right. Remember that's two you owe me.
Sheriff Cramer: I'm keepin' count.


Sheriff Cramer: By the way, Miss Mary, you and your brother didn't happen to run into a fellow named Gene Autry did you?
Mary Evans: Gene Autry?
Sheriff Cramer: Yeah, he's a friend of mine. Nice fella, too, if he's on your side. Different story if he's on t'other.


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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1960






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Chill Wills on the
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Chill Wills Facts
Son, Will Wills (b.1942)

Endorsed George Wallace in the 1968 presidential election.

Daughter, Jill Wills (b.1939)

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