Bill Bixby, from Martians to Marvel

Bill Bixby

An only child, Bill Bixby was born in San Francisco on January 22, 1934. His first television appearance on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis led to roles on shows of various genres. But it was his comic work on The Danny Thomas Show that led to a notable appearance on The Andy Griffith Show and then a recurring role on The Joey Bishop Show.

In the fall of 1962, Bixby auditioned for My Favorite Martian. According to Hollywood legend, he shook hands with the producer, Jack Chertok, and said, “Hi, I’m Bill Bixby,” to which Chertok responded, “No, you’re not. You’re Tim O’Hara.”

Bixby acted in numerous stage productions and films (he was in two Elvis Presley vehicles, Clambake and Speedway). But it’s for his work in television that he is best known. In 1971 Bixby received an Emmy nomination for The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. He starred in his third TV series, The Magician and then a fourth, The Incredible Hulk (1978). In 1982, Bill Bixby hosted Against the Odds, a weekly children’s series on Nickelodeon. In 1983 he began his last regular role on TV in Goodnight Beantown.

Bill Bixby

Bill The Magician

Bixby frequently directed episodes of many of the shows in which he appeared, and in 1992 became the primary director of the sitcom Blossom. Bixby continued to direct Blossom while battling cancer until five days before his death on November 21, 1993. Actor, director and respected humanitarian, Bill Bixby was proud to say, “My shows are the kind children can watch with their parents without embarrassment. And parents can watch with their children without embarrassment.”