Bill Erwin
Bill Erwin
Bill Erwin, shown here with actress Billie Bird, appeared as a bum in the "I Love Lucy" episode "Lucy and the Loving Cup" in Season 6.
Vital information
Gender: Male
Birthname: William Lindsey Erwin
Born: (1914-12-02)December 2, 1914
Birthplace: Honey Grove, Texas, U.S.
Died December 29, 2010(2010-12-29) (aged 96)
Deathplace: Studio City, Los Angeles U.S.
Character actor
Family and Personal information
Spouse(s): Fran MacLachlan (predeceased her husband); 4 children
Character/Show information
Appeared on/
involved with:
I Love Lucy
Episodes appeared in/
involed with:
"Lucy and the Loving Cup"
Appears as: Bum
I Love Lucy Wiki Script

William Lindsey "Bill" Erwin (December 2, 1914 – December 29, 2010)[1] appeared on I Love Lucy as a bum in the Season 6 episode "Lucy and the Loving Cup".


A gifted veteran film, stage and television actor with over 250 television and film credits, Bill, as a veteran character actor, he was widely known for his role of Sid Fields, an embittered, irascible man on SDeinfeld[2] – for which he received an Emmy nomination – as well his appearances on shows such as I Love Lucy and Star Trek: The Next Generation.[3]

Erwin was a self-taught cartoonist, published in The New Yorker, Playboy and Los Angeles.[2] He won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, four Drama-Logue Awards, Gilmore Brown Award for Career Achievement, Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters' Diamond Circle Award, and Distinguished Alumnus Award from Angelo State University.

Background and personal lifeEdit

Born in Honey Grove, Texas, Bill attended San Angelo College before graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1935, earning a Bachelors degree in Journalism. He completed a Masters of Theater Arts degree in California at the Pasadena Playhouse in 1941. After serving as a Captain in the Army Air Force in World War II, Erwin returned to Hollywood to resume his acting career. His first film role was in 1942 in "You're in the Army Now", with Phil Silverd.

Acting careerEdit

Bill Erwin I Love Lucy

Bill Erwin opposite Lucille Ball as a bum in a scene from the Season six episode "Lucy and the Loving Cup"


In the late 1950s, Erwin was in such films as A Streetcar Named Desire, Man From Del Rio, The Night Runner and The Cry Baby Killer. He played Jack Nicholson's father in Cry Baby Killer, Nicholson's first starring role in 1958. The long out-of-print film was released on DVD on November 22, 2006. He would later co-star alongside Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour in the 1980 romantic fantasy Somewhere in Time – as Arthur Biehl, the Grand Hotel's venerable bellman – and attend annual reunions of cast, crew, and fans of the film at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Erwin has appeared in a number of films directed by John Hughes, with cameos in Planes, Trains and Automobiled, She's Having a Baby, Home Alone, and Dennis the Menace. Hughes often paired him with Billie Bird as his wife.


His television credits were far more numerous in the 1950s, having appeared in such television series as I Love Lucy, Crusader, Trackdown, Colgate Theatre, Perry Mason and Te Rifleman. In the 1960s, Erwin appeared in television series such as: The Andy Griffith Show, Mister Ed, Maverick, The Twilight Zone, 87th Precinct, The Fugitive, and Mannix.

In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, he appeared in Barnaby Jones, Cannon, [Gunsmoke, ER, Highway to Heaven,Who's The Boss?, Full House, The Golden Girls, Moonlighting, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. In Star Trek: TNG, Erwin played Dr. Dalen Quaice, a friend and mentor of Dr. Beverly Crusher. He was the first character to disappear in the episode "Remember Me".

In the Seinfeld episode ("The Old Man"), for which Erwin received an Emmy nomination for outstanding guest actor, he played Sid Fields, who participates in the Foster-A-Grandpa Program, which pairs him with Jerry Seinfeld. Erwin's crochety, aggressive, foul-mouthed character ensures that the relationship is doomed from the beginning. Erwin later reunited with Michael Richards when he guest-starred on the short-lived The Michael Richards Show. In the 2000s, Erwin appeared on Monk, The West Wing, King of Queens, Everwood and My Name Is Earl.

Other mediaEdit

Erwin began his theatrical career as ventriloquist Edgar Bergen's stage manager for Bergen's 1941 tour of the country. Erwin dryly recalled, "I was in charge of the dummies."

Family and deathEdit

He lived in the Hollywood Hills with his wife, actress and journalist Fran MacLachlan Erwin (who predeceased her husband). The couple had two daughters and two sons, Michael and Timothy; two daughters, Lindsey Thomas Erwin and Kelly Erwin; and a sister, Mary Gene Cosper. Erwin died at his home on December 29, 2010, in Studio City, Los Angeles from natural causes, near the production lot where Seinfeld was filmed.


External linksEdit

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