Best Known For
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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He then played a CIA agent in the political spoof Wag the Dog (1997) and a porn film director in Boogie Nights (1997). For Pleasantville (1998), Macy played a father from a 1950s television show who becomes unnerved by changes in his family brought on by the arrival of teenagers from the late 1990s (played by Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire).
Back on television,
Macy appeared on several episodes of the Aaron Sorkin comedy Sports Night, which starred his wife, actress Felicity Huffman. The two also worked together on the 1999 television movie A Slight Case of Murder, which Macy wrote. His roles on both programs earned him Emmy Award nominations.
In 2002, Macy wrote and starred in the inspirational television movie, Door to Door, with co-star Helen Mirren. The film, which is based on a true-life story, focused on the story of a man afflicted with cerebral palsy who finds unlikely success as a door-to-door salesman. Carla Meyer, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, praised Macy. He "never panders to his character. He adopts a stooped walk and big prosthetic ears to play Porter, but the props soon fade away. The actor captures his character's natural salesmanship with determined eyes, delighted grin and quick show of temper at any hint of condescension." For his work on the movie, Macy won two Emmy Awards in 2003 -- one as a writer and the other as an actor.
That same year, Macy starred in The Cooler with Maria Bello and Alec Baldwin. He played a downtrodden man who breaks other people's lucky streaks at a casino just by his very presence. His character's luck starts to change, however, when he starts a relationship with a waitress (played by Bello). Often called upon to play such characters, Macy explained to Newsweek why he thinks he gets cast in these types of roles. "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."
Making the most out of smaller roles, Macy did a memorable turn as a horse-racing announcer in the 2003 hit Seabiscuit. He also appeared as a senator in the dark comedy Thank You for Smoking (2005). Macy took the lead, however, in the television movie The Wool Cap, which he adapted from the 1962 comedic film Gigot starring Jackie Gleason. He played Gigot, a troubled mute who reluctantly ends up taking care of a child abandoned by her mother.
Tackling lighter fare, Macy starred with John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and Tim Allen in the middle-aged motorcyclist comedy Wild Hogs (2007). The film proved to be so popular that a sequel is reportedly in the works. One of his latest projects did not fare so well, however. Maiden Heist starred Macy, Morgan Freeman and Christopher Walken as museum security guards who steal back works of art moved from their workplace. Despite the stellar cast, the film ended up going straight to DVD in the United States in 2009.
That same year, Macy agreed to help complete the run of Speed-the-Plow, helping to fill in for actor Jeremy Piven after Piven claimed that he developed mercury poisoning.
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