As one of five children (including three brothers and a sister), Bissell was an avid yachtsman and fencer in his youth. He attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and while there began a serious pursuit of acting with the Carolina Playmakers. After a stint on the Broadway stage, Bissell began a career as one of the most recognizable character actors in the history of film and television.
Son of prominent surgeon Dr. J. Dougal Bissell.
Stepfather of Brian Forster.