Guy Williams is a popular television actor who rises to prominence during the late 1950s. Thanks to his time portraying the titular character on the hit Disney series Zorro. The show began airing in 1957, and Guy received his role after auditioning for Walt Disney personally. Zorro ends after three seasons, Guy continues working in the entertainment industry until his retirement during the early 1970s. Following Zorro, Guy is in the subsequent hit series Lost in Space. Also, he is in a few episodes of the long-running Western Bonanza. Guy hires onto the Western series with the intention of becoming a main character but leaves after filming five episodes. Join Facts Verse as we explore why Guy Williams only lasted for five episodes of Bonanza.
Williams is growing up, his parents want him to be an insurance broker but he wants to be an actor. The young man certainly had the looks for it, though his dreams took a while to become a reality. The fledgling star ends up catching his break after receiving the role in the 1957 series Zorro, by Walt Disney. Guy auditions for the mogul personally and knows that he makes it in the industry when he received the part.
After premiering in 1957, the television series Zorro goes on to last for three seasons. At this point, it lives on in popularity thanks to syndication deals around the world. Guy remains is popular for playing the titular character on Zorro through the remainder of his life. He works on several other notable shows after the series comes to an end. One such show is the long-running Western series Bonanza, in which Williams plays a part and lasts for five episodes.
Williams is born in 1924, though he knows by the name of Joseph Catalano at the time of his birth. Guy’s father was an insurance broker, which resulted in the young man being pushed into the profession by his parents. Despite his parents’ insistence, Guy remained adamant that he wanted to be a star. He makes his way into the entertainment industry. Guy works as a welder, an accountant, a salesman, and as an inspector of aircraft parts. All the while, Guy knew what he really wanted to do was become a star.
Guy’s dream of becoming a star certainly isn’t without its merits. As the young man grows up with charm and good looks to spare. His earliest work in the entertainment industry came as a fashion model. However, he had a hard time impressing casting directors in the industry thanks to his decidedly foreign-sounding name. It was this dilemma that prompted Guy Williams to come up with his stage name.
Over the course of the 1940s, Guy Williams received a good deal of success working in the modeling industry. The young man can be on billboards and in magazines, with his most notable appearances being in Harper’s Bazaar. As Guy become more successful as a model, he continued trying to secure roles on the screen. It was in 1946 that Guy Williams first caught the attention of Hollywood, securing a one-year contract with MGM.
Upon receiving his first Hollywood contract, Guy Williams ventures out to California from his then-home of New York City. He had been doing the majority of his modeling work. Guy’s first excursion to California only lasted around a year before he returned to New York. His contract with MGM ends up being a bit of a bust. The fledgling star only appears in a handful of films as a result. It grants the young man his first experience in the industry proper. He will move out to California again later with more promising prospects and a bigger resume.
He returns to New York after his first contract work with MGM. Guy Williams starts appearing in a number of television commercials that impart the fledgling star a good deal of notoriety. His commercial work, Guy starts up tenure at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. Slowly, it starts branching out into television series with work on such productions as Studio One.
In 1952, Guy Williams inspires to move out to Hollywood once again after receiving a contract with Universal Studios. Guy’s contract with Universal Studios proves more lucrative than the one with MGM. The star can be in a handful of pictures over the course of the early 1950s as a result. Some of the movies that Guy is in around the time, The Golden Blade and Take Me to Town. It is better than his time with MGM. Guy’s time with Universal Studios still isn’t everything that he hopes for, and his big break on Zorro will come. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
In 1953, while Williams is in Hollywood working for Universal Pictures, he involves in a horseback-riding accident that damages him. Guy falls off the horse and drags for roughly 200 meters, resulting permanent scar across the actor’s right shoulder. This incident bookended Guy’s time at Universal Studios with a sour note. He ends up returning to New York City once again shortly afterwards.
After returning to New York City in the mid-1950s. Guy works steadily in the industry before receiving his big break thanks to his titular role on the Disney series Zorro. Before taking his role on Zorro, Guy worked for a time as a freelance actor for Warner Bros. Pictures. The still-fledgling star had begun wondering if he was ever going to be able to truly make it in the entertainment industry. Thankfully, his big break was just around the corner!
When Guy Williams first heard about auditions being held by Walt Disney for someone to play the titular character on the series Zorro, the aspiring star knew that the part would be just right for him. In addition to being a successful insurance broker, Guy’s father had been a talented and passionate fencer that had taught his son everything that there was to know about the exotic sport. This made Guy one of the few actors in the entertainment industry that was proficient at fencing, and fencing just so happened to be one of the main skills that Walt Disney was looking for in his Zorro actor.
As a result of Guy Williams’ good looks, charm, and fencing skills, he ended up receiving the titular lead role on the series Zorro with minimal effort. Finally, Guy Williams had caught his big break in the entertainment industry! In order to fit into the titular role perfectly, Guy grew out his facial hair and took a few guitar-playing lessons. Soon, Guy Williams was officially transformed into the role he had been born for!
Guy Williams ended up playing the titular character on the series Zorro for all of it’s three seasons before it eventually came to an end at the close of the 1950s. After the series came to an end, Guy worked for a period of time in Europe, where he filmed roles in productions such as Captain Sinbad and Damon and Pythias. Following his brief period of time in the European entertainment industry, Guy returned to Hollywood in 1964. It was upon this second return to Hollywood that the actor would appear in Bonanza.
Guy Williams was brought onto Bonanza to replace Pernell Roberts, though Guy proved much less popular with the audience than Pernell had been. Pernell had played the character of Adam Cartwright, while Guy was given a role as a new member of the Cartwright family, named Will. Besides not being quite as popular with the audience as Pernell, Guy also found that he didn’t much enjoy his time on Bonanza. After five episodes, Guy Williams turned his back on the series, and the producers reached out to Pernell Roberts, eventually talking the star into returning for the next season.
Bonanza fans were grateful that they got Pernell Roberts back, and Guy Williams was grateful that he no longer had to toe the line on the long-running Western series. Guy had felt that his work on the series wasn’t challenging enough, even though Bonanza was one of the most successful shows on television at that point. After leaving Bonanza, Guy went on to take a role on the science fiction series Lost in Space.
Lost in Space premiered in 1965, and Guy Williams played the lead role of John Robinson. The show was initially a huge hit with audiences and critics, but it’s ratings ended up decreasing significantly after only a few years. Combined with the exuberant budget of the science fiction series, these diminished ratings caused the original Lost in Space to come to an end after only three seasons.
Following the end of Lost in Space in 1968, Guy continued working sporadically in the entertainment industry for a few years until his retirement in the mid-1970s. Guy retired to Buenos Aires and lived out the remainder of his life there before passing away in 1989, after suffering a stroke.
After performing the titular character on the hit Disney series Zorro for all of it’s three seasons, actor Guy Williams went on to perform a five-episode-long stint on the long-running Western series Bonanza that left a bad taste in his mouth. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Guy Williams knew how to fence in real life before taking on the titular role on the 1957 series Zorro, and that he received the role after auditioning for Walt Disney himself? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!