William Edward Phipps

William Edward Phipps (February 4, 1922 – June 1, 2018) was an American actor and producer, sometimes credited simply as William Phipps, perhaps best known for his roles in dozens of classic sci-fi and westerns, both in films and on television.

William Phipps
Promotional headshot, 1951
William Edward Phipps

(1922-02-04)February 4, 1922
DiedJune 1, 2018(2018-06-01) (aged 96)
Resting placeValley Oaks Memorial Park
Alma materEastern Illinois University
OccupationActor, film producer
Years active1945–2000

Early years


Phipps grew up in St. Francisville, Illinois. His parents divorced when he was six years old. By the time he was in high school, he was using his stepfather's last name of Couch. He developed a love of acting at a young age and performed in several plays in grade school and high school. One of the plays in which he performed, during his junior year of high school in 1937, was Before Morning, a 1933 play made into a film that same year.[1]


After graduating from high school in 1939, he attended Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, where he majored in accounting, was elected freshman class president and served as head cheerleader. After two years of college, he moved to Hollywood, to pursue a career in acting and resumed his original last name of Phipps.[2]

World War II

During that same year, the United States entered into World War II, and Phipps enlisted in the United States Navy, serving as a radio operator on several ships all across the Pacific. He served three years, then settled in Los Angeles to begin his career. He enrolled in the Actors' Lab in Hollywood, alongside fellow actor Russell Johnson.


Phipps' big break came when he and Johnson were double-cast in a play at the Actors Lab. They drew straws to see which actor would perform in the matinée, and which would take the evening show. Phipps drew the evening show, which was attended that same evening by actor Charles Laughton. Laughton was impressed by Phipps' performance, and came backstage afterwards to ask Phipps to perform in Laughton's own play. Phipps' career took off, and he was soon in his first feature film, Crossfire (1947).[3] In 1949, Phipps auditioned for the speaking voice of Prince Charming in the upcoming Disney film Cinderella. The studio was pleased with his performance and Phipps was offered the part by Walt Disney himself.


After nearly thirty years in the business, performing in film and television in a wide variety of roles, Phipps took a break from Hollywood and moved to Hawaii.[4] While there, he hosted a movie presentation program called "Hollywood Oldies", on Maui's Cable 7.[5] After a little more than five years in Hawaii, he returned to Hollywood to portray President Theodore Roosevelt in the 1976 television movie Eleanor and Franklin.

Retirement and post-career

Phipps' last movie role was in the 2000 independent film Sordid Lives, in which he also served as one of the film's producers. In 2005, several of Phipps' films were the subject of an EIU (Eastern Illinois University) film festival in his honor. He received an honorary doctorate from the university the following year.[6]


William Edward Phipps died on June 1, 2018 in Santa Monica, California, USA, at age 96 years old from lung cancer. He is buried in Valley Oaks Memorial Park.[7][8] At the time of his death, he was the last surviving cast member of the 1950 animated film Cinderella.


Year Title Role Notes
1947 Crossfire Leroy
1948 The Arizona Ranger Ranger Mac
Train to Alcatraz Tommy Callahan
They Live by Night Young Farmer
Station West Sergeant Uncredited
Desperadoes of Dodge City Ted Loring
Belle Starr's Daughter Yuma Talbott
1949 Scene of the Crime Young Gun Owner Uncredited
1950 The Man on the Eiffel Tower Janvier
Key to the City Reporter Uncredited
Cinderella Prince Charming Voice
The Outriders Young Union Guard
Rider from Tucson Bud Thurber
Rider from Tucson Tug Bailey
1951 Five Michael
No Questions Asked Roger
The Red Badge of Courage Officer Uncredited
1952 Rose of Cimarron Jeb Dawley
Fort Osage Nathan Goodspeed
Loan Shark Ed Haines Uncredited
Flat Top Red Kelley
1953 The Blue Gardenia Lt. George Foster Voice, Uncredited
The War of the Worlds Wash Perry
Invaders from Mars Sgt. Baker
Julius Caesar Servant to Antony
Savage Frontier Johnny Webb
The Twonky Student
Northern Patrol Frank Stevens
Fort Algiers Lt. Gerrier
Cat-Women of the Moon Douglas 'Doug' Smith
Red River Shore Ned Barlow
1954 Riot in Cell Block 11 Mickey
Executive Suite Bill Lundeen
Jesse James vs. the Daltons Bill Dalton
Francis Joins the WACS Jeep driver Uncredited
Two Guns and a Badge Dick Grant - Rancher
The Snow Creature Lieutenant Dunbar
The Violent Men Bud Hinkleman Uncredited
1955 Rage at Dawn Bill Peterson Jr. Uncredited
Smoke Signal Pvt. Porter
The Eternal Sea Legless Sailor Uncredited
The Far Horizons Oarsman / Camp Sentry Uncredited
Lord of the Jungle Kenny Balou
The Indian Fighter Lt. Blake
1956 The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit Army Sergeant Uncredited
Great Day in the Morning Ralston Uncredited
The First Texan Lt. Jack LeBlanc Uncredited
Away All Boats Ship Machinist Uncredited
The Boss Stitch
Lust for Life Emile Bernard
The Desperados Are in Town Bit Man at Cotton Gin Uncredited
The Wild Party Wino
1957 Badlands of Montana Walt Branton
The Brothers Rico Joe Wesson
Kiss Them for Me Lt. Al Hendricks Uncredited
Escape from Red Rock Arky Shanks
1958 The Day of the Trumpet Pvt. Steve Haines
The Walter Winchell File Stony Jones Episode: "David & Goliath"
Man on the Run Jay
1959 The FBI Story Baby Face Nelson Uncredited
1962 The Virginian Jack Wheeler Episode: "Impasse"
1962 Black Gold Albert Mailer
1963 Showdown Deputy Uncredited
1964 The Evil of Frankenstein Rena's Father additional sequence: US, Uncredited
1965 Harlow Reporter Uncredited
1966 Incident at Phantom Hill Trader
Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round Kleiner Uncredited
Not with My Wife, You Don't! Sergeant Uncredited
1967 Gunfight in Abilene Frank Norton
1983 The Dukes of Hazzard Barney Benson
1984 Dune Narrator TV version, Uncredited
1988 Messenger of Death Doc Turner
1993 Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey Quentin
2000 Sordid Lives Rev Barnes (final film role)


  1. "Before Morning". William Phipps' Facebook page. May 6, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  2. "Area man has led a 'charmed' Hollywood life". Daily News. January 27, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  3. "Actor's abode also home of ten Hollywood actresses". The Times-News. April 11, 1951. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  4. Double Feature Creature Attack. McFarland. February 19, 2003. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  5. "Hollywood Oldies". William Phipps' Facebook page. May 29, 2010. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  6. "William Phipps". Embarras Valley Film Festival, 2005. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  7. "OBITUARY - William Edward Phipps FEBRUARY 4, 1922 – JUNE 1, 2018". Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  8. William Edward Phipps
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