Comic actor Bill Macy, perhaps best known for playing the husband of Bea Arthur's character on the classic comedy series Maude, has passed away. According to his producer and manager Matt Beckoff, Macy died Thursday night in Los Angeles, though an exact cause of death wasn't revealed. Passing away at the age of 97, Macy is survived by his wife of 44 years, Samantha Harper; the two had first met in the '60s by co-starring in the original Broadway production of Oh! Calcutta!.
Born in 1922 and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Macy worked as a taxi driver for about a decade in the city to make ends meet. With an itch for acting, Macy then turned to Broadway to begin his career as a professional actor, and by 1958, he was co-starring on stage with the likes of Walter Mathau in Once More, With Feeling. It was while working on Broadway when Macy was noticed by TV producer Norman Lear, who recognized the actor's potential as a television star. After Lear "first saw Bill Macy choking on a chicken bone in an off-Broadway play," the producer flew him out to Hollywood and cast him in a role as a police officer in the hit sitcom All in the Family.
Macy's most memorable role is that of appliance store owner Walter Findlay, who's also the fourth husband of Bea Arthur's titular character on Maude. A spin-off of All in the Family, Maude became a successful television series on its own, airing 141 episodes across six seasons. Because of the chemistry between Macy and Arthur, the series was a hit critically as well, bringing in a variety of Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations, managining to win one of each. After Bea Arthur left the series bringing about the end of its run, co-creator Norman Lear later cast Macy again for the short-lived comedy series Hanging In.
Walter Findlay might be Macy's most well-known role, but the actor can also be recognized from dozens of other movie and TV performances he's taken on over the span of many decades. Another one of his fan favorite roles was that of sketch comedy show writer Sy Benson in the 1982 classic My Favorite Year, which also featured Peter O'Toole and and Jessica Harper. Macy has also appeared in movies like Analyze This, Surviving Christmas, and Serial, and some of his other notable TV roles include parts on St. Elsewhere, The Facts of Life, NYPD Blue, Seinfeld, and My Name Is Earl. Macy delivered his final acting performance in 2010 as Mr. Rickles on the TNT series Hawthorne.
Macy lived a good, long life, entertaining an untold amount of people over the years along the way. The one of a kind actor will be missed and our thoughts are with his family and close friends at this time. His legacy will live on forever, and may he rest in peace. News of Macy's passing comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.