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William H. Macy is an actor known for his diverse characters in films such as Fargo, Boogie Nights and Air Force One.
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William H. Macy made his film debut in Somewhere in Time (1980). In 1991, he had a leading role in Homicide, which earned him good reviews and raised his profile in Hollywood. His career got an even bigger boost when he joined the cast of ER in 1994. In 1996, Macy landed a memorable role in Fargo, and a slew of other high-profile films followed, winning Emmys and getting Oscar nods along the way.
"I think I have a knack for letting people see what's going on in those losers that I play. And I look funny, and it doesn't hurt to get a laugh when you walk on."
Actor, writer, producer and director William Hall Macy was born on March 13, 1950, in Miami, Florida. Macy first discovered acting in high school, performing in a production of Camelot.
At first, Macy attended Bethany College where he studied veterinary medicine. He later transferred to Goddard College in Vermont to pursue his interest in theater. There, Macy studied with David Mamet, an up-and-coming playwright at the time. "He was tough as nails, and boy, am I lucky. He gave us a work ethic that is not common in this business," he later explained.
After graduating in 1972, Macy spent some time in California before joining Mamet in Chicago. They formed the St. Nicholas Theater Company there, and Macy appeared in several productions of Mamet's works. He became an expert at delivering Mamet's distinct dialogue style -- quick, punchy and curse-laden.
Macy made his first film appearance in the romantic drama Somewhere in Time (1980) in a bit part. Living in New York, he had better luck in the theater. Macy landed roles in a number of off-Broadway shows. He also did voice-over and commercial work, and worked as an instructor with Mamet at New York University for a time. The two started the Atlantic Theater Company together in 1985, and Macy directed a number of the company's productions including Mamet's Radio: An Evening of Sketches and Anton Chekov's Three Sisters.
In 1991, Macy had a leading role in the David Mamet film Homicide, which earned him good reviews and raised his profile in Hollywood. His career got an even bigger boost when he joined the cast of the medical drama ER in 1994. He played Dr. David Morgenstern, the head doctor of County General Hospital's emergency room. Leaving the hit show after the second season, Macy netted an Emmy Award nomination for a guest appearance he did on the series in 1997.
Working again with Mamet, Macy appeared in the 1994 film Oleanna. He played a college professor in a contentious relationship with a female student. But Macy's big film breakthrough came from working with filmmakers Ethan and Joel Coen. They cast Macy as a down-on-his-luck car salesman who stages his wife's kidnapping in the dark comedy Fargo (1996). Frances McDormand played a pregnant detective working the case. Both actors gave stellar performances, and both were nominated for Academy Awards.
More film roles soon followed. In the action hit Air Force One (1997), Macy played a military officer.
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