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William H. Macy: Award-Winning Actor Known for 'Fargo' and 'Shameless'
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William H. Macy is an acclaimed American actor known for his versatile performances in both independent and mainstream films. With a career spanning several decades, Macy has earned two Emmy Awards and four Screen Actors Guild Awards, and his role in Fargo garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He is also recognized for his portrayal of Frank Gallagher in the long-running television series Shameless.

 

Macy's Early Life and Education

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William Hall Macy Jr. was born on March 13, 1950, in Miami, Florida, and spent his formative years in Georgia and Maryland. His father, William Hall Macy Sr., was a decorated World War II bomber pilot who later managed a construction company and an insurance agency. Macy attended Allegany High School in Cumberland, Maryland, and initially enrolled at Bethany College to study veterinary medicine before transferring to Goddard College in Vermont. At Goddard, he studied under playwright David Mamet, which profoundly influenced his career in theater.
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William H. Macy's Breakthrough in Fargo

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William H. Macy's breakthrough role came in the 1996 film Fargo, where he portrayed Jerry Lundegaard, a desperate and inept car salesman entangled in a kidnapping scheme gone awry. Macy's performance was critically acclaimed, earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and significantly raising his profile in Hollywood. His portrayal of Lundegaard's escalating panic and moral disintegration showcased his ability to bring depth and nuance to complex characters, solidifying his reputation as a versatile and talented actor.
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William H. Macy (Photos)

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William H. Macy's Filmography

William H. Macy's extensive career includes a diverse range of roles in both film and television. Below is a table summarizing some of his notable film and television credits:
YearTitleRole
2024Kingdom of the Planet of the ApesTrevathan
2023Maybe I DoSam
2017The LayoverDirector
2017KrystalWyatt
2016Blood FatherKirby Curtis
2015RoomGrandpa
2015WalterDr. Corman
2014RudderlessTavern Owner/Emcee
2013Trust MeGary
2012The SessionsFather Brendan
2011-2021ShamelessFrank Gallagher
2003SeabiscuitTick Tock McGlaughlin
1999MagnoliaQuiz Kid Donnie Smith
1997Boogie NightsLittle Bill
1996FargoJerry Lundegaard
Macy's ability to portray a wide array of characters, from the desperate car salesman in Fargo to the complex and flawed Frank Gallagher in Shameless, has solidified his reputation as a versatile and talented actor.
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William H. Macy's Awards and Honors

William H. Macy's illustrious career has been recognized with numerous awards and nominations, reflecting his talent and versatility in both film and television.
YearAwardCategoryResult
2021Emmy (Primetime)Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
2018Golden GlobeBest Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or ComedyNominated
2018Emmy (Primetime)Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
2018Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy SeriesWon
2017Emmy (Primetime)Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
2017Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy SeriesWon
2016Emmy (Primetime)Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
2016Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
2015Golden GlobeBest Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or ComedyNominated
2015Emmy (Primetime)Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
2015Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy SeriesWon
2014Emmy (Primetime)Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy SeriesNominated
2007Emmy (Primetime)Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieNominated
2007Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureNominated
2005Golden GlobeBest Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for TelevisionNominated
2005Emmy (Primetime)Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieNominated
2005Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or MiniseriesNominated
2004Golden GlobeBest Performance By an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion PictureNominated
2004Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureNominated
2004Emmy (Primetime)Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieNominated
2003Golden GlobeBest Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for TelevisionNominated
2003Emmy (Primetime)Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieWon
2003Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or MiniseriesWon
2000Emmy (Primetime)Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieNominated
2000Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureNominated
1998Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureNominated
1997Academy AwardActor in a Supporting RoleNominated
1997Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting RoleNominated
Macy's accolades highlight his exceptional contributions to the entertainment industry, particularly his standout performances in Shameless and Fargo.
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Acclaimed American Actor (Interviews)

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William's Memorable Roles in Independent Films

William H. Macy has made a significant impact in independent cinema, delivering memorable performances in a variety of critically acclaimed films. Here are some of his most notable roles in independent productions:
  • Fargo (1996): Macy's portrayal of Jerry Lundegaard, a desperate car salesman, earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
  • Boogie Nights (1997): He played Little Bill, a film crew member in Paul Thomas Anderson's exploration of the adult film industry.
  • Magnolia (1999): Macy portrayed Quiz Kid Donnie Smith, a former child prodigy, in another Paul Thomas Anderson ensemble drama.
  • The Cooler (2003): His role as Bernie Lootz, a casino employee with perpetually bad luck, showcased Macy's ability to bring depth to quirky characters.
  • The Sessions (2012): Macy played Father Brendan, a sympathetic priest, in this independent drama about a man with an iron lung seeking to lose his virginity.
These performances demonstrate Macy's versatility and his ability to bring nuance and authenticity to complex characters in independent films.
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Macy's Directorial Ventures

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William H. Macy made his directorial debut with the independent drama Rudderless in 2014, a film that explores the healing power of music through the story of a grieving father who discovers his late son's original songs and forms a band to perform them. The film, which stars Billy Crudup and Anton Yelchin, was well-received and closed the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Macy's second directorial effort, The Layover (2017), is a comedy featuring Lea Michele and Kate Upton. He continued to explore diverse genres with his third film, Krystal (2017), a dramedy about a young man who falls in love with a former stripper. Macy's transition to directing has allowed him to leverage his storytelling skills and experience from his extensive acting career, adding a new dimension to his contributions to the film industry.
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William H. Macy's Enduring Marriage and Hobbies

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William H. Macy has been married to actress Felicity Huffman since 1997, and they share two daughters, Sophia and Georgia. Their relationship, which began in the early 1980s, has endured various personal and professional challenges, including Huffman's involvement in the 2019 college admissions scandal. Despite these difficulties, Macy has remained a steadfast supporter of his wife, advocating on her behalf and celebrating her return to acting. Outside of his acting career, Macy enjoys woodworking and playing the ukulele, hobbies that provide a creative outlet beyond the screen.
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Legendary Actor's Enduring Legacy

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William H. Macy has established himself as one of the most versatile and respected actors of his generation. His ability to seamlessly transition between film, television, and theater has solidified his status as a legendary figure in American entertainment. Macy's career, spanning over four decades, is marked by critically acclaimed performances in both independent and mainstream productions. His portrayal of complex characters, from the desperate Jerry Lundegaard in "Fargo" to the morally ambiguous Frank Gallagher in "Shameless," showcases his exceptional range as an actor. Macy's contributions to the industry extend beyond acting, as he has also ventured into directing and writing, further demonstrating his multifaceted talent. With numerous awards and nominations to his name, William H. Macy continues to be a prominent and influential figure in 21st-century American cinema and television.
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