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|Born||John Grant Williams
August 18, 1931
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||July 25, 1985
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Grant Williams (August 18, 1931 - July 25, 1985) was an American film actor and operatic tenor. He is best remembered for his portrayal of Scott Carey in the seminal science fiction film The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), which has since become a cult classic.
Born John Joseph Williams in New York City to a Scottish father and an Irish mother, Williams began acting in summer stock as a child. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving from 1948 to 1952, before and during the Korean War. He was discharged as an Air Force staff sergeant. He then attended Queens College, in Flushing, Queens, New York, the University of Illinois, Illinois, and finally the City College of New York in New York City.
Williams originally was a singer and performed for five seasons with the New York City Opera. In 1959, he portrayed The Tennore Buffo in the world premiere of Hugo Weisgall's Six Characters in Search of an Author. Williams also sang with The Robert Shaw Chorale and played piano professionally. He then became interested in acting and enrolled at the Actors Studio in New York City under Lee Strasberg. Following several small roles on Broadway and television, he was spotted by a talent scout on Kraft Television Theater in 1954, and signed with Universal Pictures two years later. He made his film debut in Red Sundown the same year.
In 1957, in his most memorable role, Williams starred as Scott Carey in his seventh film, The Incredible Shrinking Man, with Randy Stuart playing his wife, Louise. Despite good reviews and the success of the film, his career continued with only lackluster roles. Universal Pictures dropped his contract in 1959, and he signed in 1960 with Warner Brothers, where he had a continuing role as the private detective Greg McKenzie in the ABC television series Hawaiian Eye, co-starring Robert Conrad, Anthony Eisley, and Connie Stevens. Several film and television roles followed, including the role of the psychopathic killer in Robert Bloch's The Couch but fame still eluded him.
As his acting career declined, he opened a dramatics school in Hollywood. He also was the author of several books on acting. Williams continued to act occasionally in movies and television. His last released film appearance was in Doomsday Machine (1972 film) but being actually shot in 1969, it made Brain of Blood (1972) his very last acting job for the screen.
Grant Williams died on July 25, 1985 of peritonitis at the age of 53, after being treated for blood poisoning at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Los Angeles. He was buried in the Los Angeles National Cemetery in section 218, space 83. Williams had never married and was survived by a brother. He was a cousin of Scottish opera singer Mary Garden.
- Red Sundown (1956)
- Away All Boats (1956) (uncredited)
- Outside the Law (1956)
- Showdown at Abiline (1956)
- Written on the Wind (1956)
- Four Girls in Town (1957)
- The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)
- The Monolith Monsters (1957)
- The Lone Texan (1959)
- 13 Fighting Men (1960)
- The Leech Woman (1960)
- Susan Slade (1961)
- The Couch (1962) (screenplay by Robert Bloch)
- PT 109 (1963)
- How's Your Love Life? (1971)
- Brain of Blood (1972)
- Doomsday Machine (shot in 1969, completed and released in 1972)