Guinn "Big Boy" Williams

Guinn Terrell Williams Jr. (April 26, 1899 – June 6, 1962) was an American actor who appeared in memorable westerns such as Dodge City (1939), Santa Fe Trail (1940), and The Comancheros (1961). He was nicknamed "Big Boy" as he was 6' 2" and had a muscular build from years of working on ranches and playing semi-pro and professional baseball, and at the height of his movie career was frequently billed above the title simply as "Big Boy Williams."

Guinn "Big Boy" Williams
Poster of the movie The Law of 45's.jpg
Williams in The Law of the 45's (1935)
Guinn Terrell Williams Jr.

(1899-04-26)April 26, 1899
DiedJune 6, 1962(1962-06-06) (aged 63)
Other namesBig Boy
Years active1919–1961
Spouse(s)Barbara Weeks
(m. 19??; div. 19??)
Kathleen Collins
(m. 19??; div. 19??)
(m. 1943)
Danger Trails (1935)
Santa Fe Trail – L. to R. : Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Alan Hale Sr., Ronald Reagan, and Errol Flynn (1940)
Lobby card with Fannie Brice and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams (1928)
Lobby card with Fannie Brice and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams (1928)
Williams and Marion Aye in 1921's The Vengeance Trail
Blaze Away (1922)


His father, Guinn Williams (1871–1948), a Democratic congressman, represented the 13th Texas Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives from 1922 to 1932.[1] When Williams Jr. returned from World War I as an Army officer, he found out his father had secured for him an appointment to West Point that Williams Jr. saw no need to attend after his war service; he decided to become a baseball player instead. He was introduced by Will Rogers into motion pictures and polo, where he became a champion player and was given the name "Big Boy" by Rogers.[2]

Williams made his screen debut in the 1919 comedy, Almost A Husband, with Will Rogers and Cullen Landis, was the titular leading man to singing comedienne Fannie Brice in My Man (1928), and was featured in a large supporting role in Frank Borzage's Lucky Star (1929) with Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. Throughout the 1920s, Williams would have a string of successful films, mostly Westerns in which he wore a ten gallon hat.

He then appeared in The Great Meadow alongside Johnny Mack Brown, which was Brown's breakout film. Throughout the 1930s, Williams acted in supporting roles, mostly in westerns, sports, or outdoor dramas. He was always employed, and was successful as both a B picture leading man and a supporting actor in A pictures. He often played alongside Hoot Gibson and Harry Carey during that period. In 1944, he was cast in a large role as sidekick to Robert Mitchum in Mitchum's first leading role (billed as "Introducing Bob Mitchum") in Zane Grey's Nevada, a remake of a 1927 film starring Gary Cooper. In 1941, he became one of many actors cast by Universal Pictures in their large film serial, Riders of Death Valley. From the late 1930s to the mid-1940s, Williams appeared in supporting roles in a number of A-pictures, sometimes with high billing, such as You Only Live Once, and in Columbia's first Technicolor film, The Desperadoes (1943).[3]

Williams was frequently teamed with Alan Hale, Sr. as sidekicks to Errol Flynn in several of his pictures. In 1960, he was cast in the epic film The Alamo and in Home from the Hill with Robert Mitchum. His last role was opposite his close friend John Wayne and Stuart Whitman in The Comancheros.

Personal lifeEdit

In the 1920s, he had an affair with Mary Philbin while she was engaged to Paul Kohner.[4]

He was married to three actresses, the first being silent film actress Kathleen Collins. For a time, he was married to B-movie actress Barbara Weeks. His last wife was Dorothy Peterson, whom he first met in the 1940s. Prior to meeting her he had been engaged to Lupe Vélez but she broke off the engagement at their friend Errol Flynn's home by breaking a framed portrait of Williams over his head[5] and then urinating on the picture.[6]

Like his father, Williams was active in an array of notable and state related causes. He worked with the regional Agricultural Credit Association, The Production Credit Corporation, The Goat Raisers Association, The Texas Wool and Mohair Company, and the Bankers Association (all of which coincided both in his native Texas and adopted California). Throughout his life Williams was active both in community affairs and the Methodist churches of Decatur, Texas, San Angelo, Texas, and Los Angeles, California.[7]

Williams died unexpectedly of uremic poisoning[8] on June 6, 1962, aged 63. Williams was interred in the Enduring Faith section at Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.




  1. ^ "WILLIAMS, Guinn – Biographical Information".
  2. ^ "Bartee Haile: 'Big boy' Williams has eerie premonition of his death". August 23, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  3. ^ Maltin, Leonard, TV Movies and Video Guide, 1991 Edition, Plume, Page 283
  4. ^ Kohner, Pancho (April 5, 2011). Lupita Tovar the Sweetheart of Mexico. ISBN 9781456877378.
  5. ^ pp. 192–193 Vogel, Michelle Lupe Velez: The Life and Career of Hollywood's Mexican Spitfire McFarland, 2012
  6. ^ p.297 Flynn, Erroll My Wicked, Wicked Ways Aurum Press, 2002
  7. ^ Morning News, January 10, 1948, Who Was Who in America (Vol. 2).
  8. ^ "Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams".

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