Actor Bill Daily

William Edward Daily (August 30, 1927 – September 4, 2018) was an American actor and comedian known for his sitcom work as Major Roger Healey on I Dream of Jeannie, Howard Borden on The Bob Newhart Show, and Dr. Larry Dykstra in ALF (1987-1989).

Early life and early career

Willard Carroll Smith James Daily was born on August 30, 1927, in Des Moines, Iowa, the son of Fern Ellis and Raymonde Daily. Two weeks after his son was born, Daily’s father went out to get a loaf of bread and never returned. In 1939, Daily and his family moved from Des Moines to Chicago, Illinois, where he spent the rest of his youth. Following graduation from Lane Technical High School, Daily studied for a time at the Peterson Theatre School, then left home to become a professional musician, playing upright bass with jazz bands in numerous clubs across the Midwest. In the early 1950s he was drafted into the United States Army, serving in the Korean War with an artillery unit and later with an entertainment unit.

Comedy career

1950s to early 1960s

Following his time in the Army, Daily began performing stand-up comedy and gradually began playing some of the bigger clubs in the country. After graduating from the Goodman Theatre School, Daily worked for the NBC television station in Chicago, WMAQ, as an announcer and floor manager. He eventually became a staff director. Daily stated that preparing for a Chicago-area Emmy Award telecast, he asked a young Bob Newhart to come up with a routine about press agents that resulted in the routine “Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue”. During his days off, Daily drove to Cleveland to write, direct and perform on The Mike Douglas Show. In 1963, Steve Allen appeared on The Mike Douglas Show, saw Daily do a comedy bit and offered him a job in Los Angeles as an announcer, writer and performer on his syndicated show.

Mid-1960s to early 1970s

Daily appeared in guest spots on My Mother the Car, The Farmer’s Daughter and Bewitched, until veteran sitcom writer Sidney Sheldon liked Daily’s work and hired him for the supporting role of Army Major Roger Healey, on I Dream of Jeannie in 1965. As astronaut Tony Nelson’s best friend and NASA colleague, Roger often helped to solve the absurd social, military or other existential dilemmas that Nelson’s sultry, but naive genie (Barbara Eden) would unwittingly cause one or both of them at Cape Kennedy, during the early years of NASA’s Mercury, Gemini. and Apollo program.

In 1972, two years after I Dream of Jeannie was canceled, Daily was back on television in a non-military aviator’s uniform, as Howard Borden in The Bob Newhart Show. Borden, a commercial airline navigator who later became a co-pilot, lived across the hall from Bob Newhart’s Bob Hartley character, and would frequently pop into the Hartleys’ apartment to borrow things, mooch a meal, or have the Hartleys take care of his son when he had custody of him.

Mid-1970s to 1990s

Daily occasionally served as a panelist on the 1970s CBS game show Match Game. After Richard Dawson’s departure, Daily was a semi-regular for the final three years of the show’s CBS and syndicated run.

For the two years that followed The Bob Newhart Show, Daily returned to stand-up, but in 1980, after years of making a living as a second banana, Daily was offered his own show. Called Small & Frye, the show featured Daily as a neurotic doctor; it lasted only three months before being canceled. Daily, a lifelong lover of magic, made three syndicated specials introducing young magicians called Bill Daily’s Hocus-Pocus Gang which aired in 1982 and 1983.

In 1987, Daily was named director of the New Mexico Film Commission.

In 1988, Daily tried his hand again at starring roles, this time as another doctor on the sitcom Starting From Scratch. The show fared slightly better than Frye, but was canceled after one season. Daily’s most notable post-Newhart role was another supporting character, that of Larry the psychiatrist on the cult favorite ALF (1986). Jack Riley appeared as an unnamed patient, clearly reprising Elliot Carlin from The Bob Newhart Show. ALF claimed to have learned all he knew about psychology from watching the earlier series.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Daily reprised his I Dream of Jeannie role of Roger Healey in two made-for-TV reunion movies: I Dream of Jeannie… Fifteen Years Later (1985) and I Still Dream of Jeannie (1991). In 1990, he reunited with Bob Newhart as a new, overbearing neighbor in the Newhart episode “Good Neighbor Sam”. Also in 1991, he reprised the role of Howard Borden in The Bob Newhart Show: The 19th Anniversary Special, which aired in November of that year. In 1997, he was a guest star on Caroline in the City.

Although mostly retired, Daily still did some live comedy and occasional television guest appearances into the 2000s. From 2006 to February 2009, he was a guest host on radio station KBQI in Albuquerque.

Personal life and death

Daily married his first wife, Patricia Anderson, in 1949; in 1976, the couple divorced. Daily had two adopted children: a son, Patrick, and a daughter, Kimberley who is deceased. In 1980 he married Vivian Sanchez, with whom he traveled on the road, performing Lover’s Leap for two years. He and Sanchez later divorced.

In 1993, Daily married his third wife, Becky. The couple remained together until her death in 2010. His manager and publicist was Patterson Lundquist.

Daily died of natural causes on September 4, 2018, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, five days after turning 91. His ashes were scattered outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. His death was announced by his family three days later.


Film and Television
Year Title Role Notes
1964 Bewitched Mr. Johnson Episode: “A Vision of Sugar Plums”
1965 The Farmer’s Daughter Manfred Episode: “Katy by Moonlight”
1965–1970 I Dream of Jeannie Captain/Major Roger Healey 131 episodes
1965 My Mother the Car Phil Durkin Episode: “The De-Fenders”
1965 The Farmer’s Daughter Gallery Manager Episode: “Forever Is a Cast Iron Mess”
1969 In Name Only Peter Garrity TV movie
1971 The Barefoot Executive Navigator
1972 Love, American Style Larry Segment: “Love and the Single Sister”
1972 Getting Together McAdam Episode: “Broken-Hearted Melody”
1972 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Peter “Pete” Peterson Episode: “His Two Right Arms”
1972–1978 The Bob Newhart Show Howard Borden 140 episodes
1972 Love, American Style Donald Baxter Segment: “Love and the Country Girl”
1978 Murder at the Mardi Gras Jack Murphy TV movie
1978 Flying High Bob Griffen 2 episodes
1979 $weepstake$ Fred Episode #1.1
1979 Rendezvous Hotel Walter Grainger TV movie
1979 CHiPs Balford Episodes: “Roller Disco” (Parts 1 & 2)
1979 The Love Boat Paul Turner Segment: “Rent a Family” (Parts 1 & 2)
1980 Valentine Magic on Love Island Charles TV movie
1981 Aloha Paradise Curtis Shea 8 episodes
1982 The Powers of Matthew Star Frank Trenton Episode: “Daredevil”
1983 Trapper John, M.D. Mr. Stevens Episode: “The Spy Who Bugged Me”
1983 Small & Frye Dr. Hanratty 6 episodes
1985 Comedy Factory The Mayor Episode: “Honey, It’s the Mayor”
1985 I Dream of Jeannie… Fifteen Years Later Col. Roger Healey TV movie
1987–1989 ALF Dr. Lawrence ‘Larry’ Dykstra 4 episodes
1988–1989 Starting from Scratch Dr. James Shepherd 22 episodes
1990 Newhart Sam Leary Episode: “Good Neighbor Sam”
1990 The Munsters Today Count Strimpkin Episode: “Thicker Than Water”
1991 I Still Dream of Jeannie Col. Roger Healey TV movie
1991 The Bob Newhart Show: The 19th Anniversary Special Howard Borden TV special
1991 Alligator II: The Mutation Mayor Anderson Direct-to-video
1992–1993 Bob Vic Victor 2 episodes
1997 George and Leo The Pilot Episode: “The Cameo Show”
1997 The Naked Truth Doc Episode: “He Ain’t Famous, He’s My Brother”
1997 Caroline in the City Charlie’s Father 2 episodes
2011 Horrorween GrandPa voice (final film role)

External Links

Actor Bill Daily – Wikipedia

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