Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Paul Williams (Virgil)

Paul Hamilton Williams (born 19th September 1940 in Omaha, Nebraska) is best known in the Apes universe for the role of Virgil in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes (1973).

Paul Williams as Virgil in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes (1973) with Roddy McDowall (Caesar)

Williams’s primary career is in songwriting. He is responsible for numerous well-known songs in the easy listening style, most notably I Won’t Last A Day Without You, We’ve Only Just Begun and Rainy Days And Mondays (recorded by The Carpenters in the 1970s), The Family Of Man, Out In The Country and An Old Fashioned Love Song (recorded by Three Dog Night), the Oscar-winning Evergreen (Love Theme From “A Star Is Born”) for Barbra Streisand, Fill Your Heart (co-composed with Biff Rose, and later covered by Tiny Tim and David Bowie), and his contributions to movie soundtracks, most notably Phantom Of The Paradise (1974), Bugsy Malone (1976) and The Muppet Movie (1979), for which he co-wrote The Rainbow Connection

Most recently he collaborated with electronic duo Daft Punk on their album Random Access Memories (2013) and contributed to Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (2017).

Battle For The Planet Of The Apes (1973): Williams with Roddy McDowall (Caesar) and Austin Stoker (MacDonald).

Following his appearance as orang-utan Virgil in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, Williams appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in full Virgil make-up and costume, performing Here’s That Rainy Day (YouTube link here). 

His film career has included roles in Watermelon Man (1970), Phantom Of The Paradise (1974), Smokey And The Bandit (1977) and its sequels, The Muppet Movie (1979) and The Doors (1991). He went on to make guest appearances on TV, including Hawaii 5-0, The Muppet Show, Fantasy Island, Police Woman, The Love Boat, Baretta and Star Trek: Voyager (in which he played Koru, the leader of an alien race who had never heard music).

Williams had some problems with addiction in the 70s and 80s, but has been clean and sober since 1990. He became a Certified Drug Rehabilitation Counsellor through UCLA.

"I was going to thank all the little people, then I remembered I am the little people."

- his acceptance speech after winning his 1977 Oscar for Evergreen in 1977.

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