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The great-grandson of a famous and influential 19th century Minnesota senator, actor William Windom was born in New York, briefly raised in Virginia, and attended prep school in Connecticut. During World War II, Windom was drafted into the army, which acknowledged his above-the-norm intelligence by bankrolling his adult education at several colleges. It was during his military career that Windom developed a taste for the theater, acting in an all-serviceman production of Richard III directed by Richard Whorf. Windom went on to appear in 18 Broadway plays before making his film debut as the prosecuting attorney in To Kill a Mockingbird. He gained TV fame as the co-star of the popular 1960s sitcom The Farmer's Daughter and as the James Thurber-ish lead of the weekly 1969 series My World and Welcome to It. Though often cast in conservative, mild-mannered roles, Windom's offscreen persona was that of a much-married, Hemingway-esque adventurer. William Windom was seen in the recurring role of crusty Dr. Seth Haslett on the Angela Lansbury TV series Murder She Wrote.

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