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Comedic actor William Windom dead at 88

Monday - 8/20/2012, 5:26pm  ET

LOS ANGELES (AP) - William Windom, who won an Emmy Award for his turn in the 1969 TV comedy series "My World And Welcome To It" and went on to score guest appearances on several popular shows, has died.

Windom died Thursday of congestive heart failure at his home in Woodacre, north of San Francisco, his wife Patricia told the Los Angeles Times. He was 88.

Windom won acclaim in the short-lived NBC series for his role as John Monroe, a writer-cartoonist for a New York magazine who relied on his fantasy life to escape a middle-class Connecticut life.

The series was based on the work of the humorist James Thurber and Windom went on to develop a one-man touring act inspired by the same whimsical Americana.

Born in New York City on Sept. 28, 1923, Windom was named after his great-grandfather, a Minnesota congressman and former U.S. Treasury secretary. He attended Williams College in Massachusetts before joining the Army as a paratrooper in World War II. He later attended the University of Kentucky, among several other higher-education institutions, and decided to pursue acting.

The easy-going Windom was an in-demand television character actor for decades and scored guest appearances on several American TV staples, including episodes of "Twilight Zone" and "Star Trek" and appeared on more than 50 segments of "Murder, She Wrote" beginning in the mid-1980s. There, Windom played a Maine country doctor opposite series star Angela Lansbury's Jessica Fletcher.

He also played the part of the prosecuting attorney who parries in court with Gregory Peck's Atticus Finch in the 1962 movie "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Married five times, Windom is survived by his wife of 37 years and four children, Rachel, Heather, Hope and Rebel.


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