Photoplay (Jul-Dec 1945)

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That Engaging Young Willianis Exciting, unexpected things always happen to Bill— including lovely Barbara Hale BY HELEN LOUISE WALKER Bill goes at a gym workout with gusto. Whatever he wants he goes after. Next picture “Deadline At Dawn” There are some people born into this world to whom Things — important, exciting, unexpected Things — just seem to happen. This story is about a boy and a girl who were both that kind of people. . . . The boy was Bill Williams whom you took to your hearts in “Those Endearing Young Charms” and whom you will be seeing shortly as a full-fledged star in “Deadline At Dawn.” The girl — well, we’ll come to her in a minute. Bill was an earnest young man who planned to be a construction engineer. He studied hard for that career and he knew all about economy and sacrifice. And what happened to him when Fate grew fanciful? He found himseK in Hollywood with a long-term contract and the whole of the big RKO lot agog over its tawny-haired, amber-eyed, bronzed acquisition. “Heaven’s own answer to Technicolor!” people keep on saying. A more astonished young man than Bill you never saw! Bill’s real name is William Katt and he was born in Brooklyn to Theodore and Johanna Meyer Katt. His father, owner of a delicatessen, died when Bill was six and his mother went to work, to support him. “She worked long, hard hours,” Bill says. “She had to leave me with the family upstairs a lot of the time and they had a lot of kids of their own. I was the littlest one in the group and I remember that for a long time I slept in the bathtub because that was the only place they had to put me! When my mother married again a few years later, I felt sure that she did it mostly to provide a home for me. After a while she died, too . . . and I was alone.” But 'she had seen him through Public School 122, through Brooklyn Technical High School and into Pratt Institute where he planned to study construction engineering. He had always been crazy about mathematics and about what he called “the tools which men used to build important things. . .” He still is. But his prowess at athletics interfered eventually with all these yearnings, whether for better or for worse Bill isn’t quite prepared to say even yet. He took his studies very seriously and he took his fun with gusto — ^football, hockey and swimming. It was great fun but certainly not serious business when, in 1934 and 1935, he was Junior National Champion in the 220 and 440 swimming events. It was surprising to Bill when he found himself swimming for the New York Athletic Club, Park Central, Dragon and finally the Sands Point Beach Club. But the most astormding thing was that all this culminated by his becoming a member of — of all things! — the Municipal Opera Company in St. Louis! To this day he can’t explain that sequence of events. {Continued on page 122)