Two-time Tony-nominated actor William "Biff" McGuire has died at the age of 94. The announcement was made by Seattle Rep, Mr. McGuire’s home base theatre, where he appeared in over 30 productions.
Mr. McGuire made his Broadway debut in 1944 in the short-lived Bright Boy. He had several roles in Broadway plays and musicals throughout the late ‘40s and ‘50s, including the original production of South Pacific.
Mr. McGuire is survived by his wife, actress Jeannie Carson, who he met in 1960 when he was cast as Woody Mahoney in the revival of Finian’s Rainbow opposite Carson as Sharon McLonergan. The two were married that same year, and the following year starred together as King Arthur and Guenevere in the original national tour of Camelot. The couple continued their onstage partnership, often appearing opposite each other in the classic repertoire of Seattle Rep.
After spending several years on the West coast, with dozens of film and television roles, including The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Serpico, Mr. McGuire returned to Broadway in 1992 in Conversations With My Father. His next two Broadway roles would earn Tony nominations for Best Featured Actor in a Play: The Young Man From Atlanta in 1997 and Morning’s at Seven in 2002.
Doug Hughes, who worked with Mr. McGuire many times in his tenure as associate artistic director at Seattle Rep, recalled that the reserved, sometimes even shy, actor "had a special gift for repose, for a commanding stillness in the midst of a play’s action that magnetized an audience."
Mr. McGuire was born on Oct. 25, 1926, in New Haven, Connecticut. He appeared in a total of 20 Broadway productions in a career that spanned seven decades. Along with wife Carson, survivors include two children and two grandchildren.