William Phipps, whose work in sci-fi films made him a staple of the genre, and who voiced Prince Charming in the Disney animated classic Cinderella (1950), has died at 96, Variety reports.
Phipps died Friday, June 1, in Santa Monica, according to his friend, author Tom Weaver. He had battled lung cancer, which was complicated by pneumonia.
Phipps was born in Indiana on February 4, 1922, making his way to Hollywood in 1941 on a lark to pursue acting. After serving in the Navy during WWII, he studied acting using the G.I. Bill.
His earliest successes were on the stage, where he was a favored player by Charles Laughton (1899-1962) and Elsa Lanchester (1902-1986).
He made his film debut in Edward Dmytryk's (1908-1999) acclaimed noir film Crossfire (1947), about the murder of a Jewish man by a group of veterans. He appeared in many more films for the same tudio, RKO, mostly B pictures, many of them westerns.
His one iconic role was as the voice of Prince Charming, which punctuated his career in westerns and his success in a string of sci-fi films, among them Five (1951), The War of the Worlds (1953), Invaders from Mars (1953), Cat-Women of the Moon (1953), and The Snow Creature (1954).
Phipps was also busy on early TV, having debuted in the medium in the 1947 TV film Pastoral, starring Anthony Quinn (1915-2001).
He had recurring roles on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (1956-1961), Boone (1983-1984), and the soap Santa Barbara (1984).
Phipps made guest appearances on such fondly remembered series as Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok (1951), The Adventures of Kit Carson (1954), The Cisco Kid (1954), The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin (1955), The Millionaire (1956), Maverick (1958), The Rifleman (1959), The Twilight Zone (1960), Surfside 6 (1961), Peter Gunn (1961), Cheyenne (1956 & 1961), Batman (1966), F Troop (1966), The Green Hornet (1966), six episodes of The Virginian (1962-1969), Bonanza (1970), Police Woman (1976), Baretta (1976), Charlie's Angels (1977), four episodes of The Waltons (1975-1980), Lou Grant (1981), The Dukes of Hazzard (1983), Hill Street Blues (1986), 227 (1989), Empty Nest (1990), and dozens more.
DADDY HAS DIED. The wonderful actor #williamedwardphipps who created the role of "Daddy Buford Turnover" on stage in my play "Daddy's Dyin' (Who's Got The Will?" has died at 96. He also played Brother Barnes in my film #sordidlives. RIP Bill! 😢 https://t.co/hQINFiYIk7
— Del Shores (@DelShores) June 3, 2018
His final acting role was in the Del Shores (b. 1957) film Sordid Lives (2000), on which he served as a co-producer. He had previously, in 1987, originated the titular role in Shores's play Daddy's Dyin': Who's Got the Will?
Phipps was preceded in death by two wives.