BirthdayDecember 0, 1919
BirthplaceYonkers, USA

Celebrity biographies

  1. About William Needles

    Full name: William Needles
    Also known as: William Needles, Needles, William
    Professions: Actor

  2. William Needles Known for

    Charles Tupper: The Big Man (1961), Macbeth (1961), Spasms (1983), Pajama Tops (1984)

  3. William Needles Biography

    William Needles (George) William Needles, C.M., LL.D., actor and teacher, was born in 1919 in Yonkers, New York, and raised in Kitchener, Ontario. Ira Needles, his father, was president of BF Goodrich, Canada, and chancellor and a founder of the University of Waterloo. William received his theater training at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. After serving in the infantry in WWII (when, during the battle of Okinawa he recalls focusing on soliloquies from Hamlet and Henry V to keep his sanity), he performed in Toronto, first in radio drama and then television.A member of the acting company of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival since its inception in 1953, he has appeared in over one hundred roles with the company, among which are Albany in King Lear (1964 and 1972); the Duke of Venice in The Merchant of Venice (1996); the White King in Alice Through the Looking Glass (1996); the Lord Mayor in Richard III (1997); the Shepherd in Oedipus Rex (1997); Merriman in The Importance of Being Earnest (2000); Mortimer in Henry VI: Revenge in France (2002). Beginning with the Festival under Tyrone Guthrie, he has acted under eight artistic directors over the years. He has also appeared in over twenty motion pictures, including the CBC's Macbeth as Banquo opposite Sean Connery in the title role.Although not trained specifically for Elizabethan style or verse performance, he is widely recognized as a leading interpreter of Shakespeare. Asked how he acquired his skills, he credits the initial Stratford company of actors gathered by Tyrone Guthrie, including such notables as Sir Alec Guinness, Irene Worth, and Douglas Campbell (actor). "We learned from listening to those very, very capable English actors reading the verse and acting," he recalls. He has also given memorable performances as the Inquisitor in Shaw's Saint Joan and as the Chaplain in Brecht's Mother Courage. He has played in London and on stages across the North American continent, including the Manitoba Theater Center, South Coast Repertory in Southern California, and in New York.In the mid-1950s, Needles was one of five members of the actors' union, Canadian Actors Equity, to put a symbolic Canadian dollar into a pot to launch the Actors' Fund of Canada, which supports actors and other members of the theatrical professions in financial need. On November 15, 2000, the Governor General of Canada named Needles a Member of the Order of Canada (C.M.)., stating, "Vital to the heart and soul of the Stratford Festival, he has provided leadership and inspiration there for nearly 50 years." His Stratford company star is located in front of the Knox Presbyterian Church in Stratford. He holds an honorary doctorate (LL.D.) from the University of Waterloo, and a certificate as a Master Teacher Cum Laude from the University of California, Irvine, where he taught acting for many years at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. In 2012 he was the recipient of a Queen's Jubilee Medal.He has five child

  4. William Needles Family

  5. Sources