William Hickey

William Hickey, a character actor who achieved popularity late in his career with an Oscar nomination in 1985 portraying the shriveled, wise old Mafia Don in John Huston’s “Prizzi’s Honor,” has died. He was 69.

Hickey died June 29 at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City. The cause was complications of emphysema and bronchitis, according to his companion Lili Afan.

Although Hickey’s acting career began in the late 1940s and encompassed radio, TV and film, he was better known as a respected acting teacher until the release of “Prizzi’s Honor.”

He was associated for more than 40 years with the HB Studios in Greenwich Village, founded by Herbert Berghof and Uta Hagen, who were Hickey’s discoverers and artistic parents.

Hickey’s film career began in 1957 with a role in “A Hatful of Rain” and he subsequently appeared in nearly 30 films, finally achieving popularity with the breakthrough role of the 84-year-old Don Corrado Prizzi. Hickey was 57 at the time.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Hickey acted in radio, danced a little and occasionally found replacement roles on the stage before studying with Berghof and Hagen.

New York stage credits include “St. Joan,” “As I Lay Dying,” “Miss Lonelyhearts,” “On the Town” and “Tovarich.”

In the early days of TV he appeared on “Studio One,” “Philco Playhouse” and “Camera Three.” In recent years he appeared in episodes of “Tales From the Crypt” and “Wings.”

Hickey recently completed DreamWorks SKG’s upcoming feature “Mouse Hunt” starring Nathan Lee and Lee Evans.

Hickey, who lived in Greenwich Village, continued to work at the HB Studio until about two weeks ago.

He is survived by his sister, Dorothy Finn.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety

Loading