William Boyett

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William Boyett
William Boyett.jpg
Boyett in a 1959 Public Safety Council film
Born(1927-01-03)January 3, 1927
DiedDecember 29, 2004(2004-12-29) (aged 77)
Years active1951–1998
  • Willagene Wither (1947-1950)
  • Joan Reynolds (1957–2004) (his death) (2 children)
ChildrenOne daughter, one son

William Boyett (January 3, 1927 – December 29, 2004)[1] was an American actor best known for his roles in law enforcement dramas on television from the 1950s through the 1990s.

Early years[edit]

Boyett was born in Akron, Ohio, and lived there until the 1940s, when he moved with his family to Los Angeles, California. He won a Shakespeare competition in high school which led to acting jobs in radio.[2]

Military service[edit]

Boyett served in the Navy during World War II and afterward performed on the stage in both New York City and Los Angeles.


In 1954, Boyett played respected settler Jim Hardwicke in the Death Valley Days episode "11,000 Miners Can't Be Wrong". It details the competition between Columbia and Sacramento to be the capital of California. When he informs the sheriff (Glenn Strange) that he had killed a man in self-defense, Hardwicke is forced to stand trial. Political influence coerces the jury to find Hardwicke guilty. His lawyer, Ed Barrett (Gordon Barnes), develops a bizarre scheme to free his client from the hangman's noose. Barrett steals from a safe in the local bank a petition with 11,000 signatures of persons who want Columbia to be the capital, rewrites the first page to call for a pardon for Hardwicke, and appeals to the governor, who is impressed that so many signed. The governor orders Hardwicke's release, but Columbia loses out to Sacramento.[3]

Boyett was often cast as a law-enforcement officer, most notably as Broderick Crawford's patrol officer on Highway Patrol, where he appeared in 65 episodes, either as Sgt. Johnson or Sgt. Williams, between 1955 and 1959; Boyett also portrayed a policeman in such diverse series as Gang Busters, The Man Behind the Badge, I Led 3 Lives, M Squad, The Detectives, Sea Hunt, Bat Masterson, Batman, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., and Star Trek: The Next Generation[4]

Jack Webb, the executive producer of Adam-12 selected Boyett for the role of Sgt. "Mac" MacDonald after several performances (such as playing Sgt. Sam Hunter) in both iterations of Webb's Dragnet.[5] (Boyett can also be seen uncredited as a bailiff in the 1954 movie version.)[4] Boyett stayed on Adam-12 for its entire 1968–1975 run.

He also made eight guest appearances on CBS's Perry Mason throughout the series' nine-year run, mostly in law-enforcement roles. In 1962, he played slain police officer Otto Norden in "The Case of the Hateful Hero". The defendant was his rookie partner James Anderson played by Richard Davalos, cousin of series regular Lt. Anderson played by Wesley Lau. He also played a corporate executive, Buck Osborn, in the 1961 episode "The Case of the Renegade Refugee". In the 1961 My Three Sons episode "Fire Watch", he was a forest ranger.

Boyett appeared in a number of television programs, such as Official Detective,[6] Navy Log,[7] Laramie, Tales of the Texas Rangers, I Spy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (uncredited; "The Secret Sceptre Affair" from 1965), The Andy Griffith Show, Family Affair, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, The Rockford Files, The A-Team, Gunsmoke, Knight Rider, Space Patrol, Rescue 8, Whirlybirds, Ripcord, Murphy Brown and Night Court. He also appeared in numerous episodes of Emergency! as Chief McConnikee of Los Angeles County Fire Department's Battalion 14.


Boyett also acted in several motion pictures, such as The Hidden (1987) and The Rocketeer (1991).[2] Boyett earned much praise for his highly unusual role in The Hidden as a hospital patient named Jonathan P. Miller, possessed by an alien being with a taste for red Ferraris and rock and roll music. He also appeared in a well-known short public safety film entitled Last Clear Chance (1959) as Patrolman Hal Jackson. Other small roles as a police officer include the crime dramas Vice Squad (1953) with Edward G. Robinson and Shield For Murder (1954) with Edmond O'Brien.


Boyett died December 29, 2004, in Mission Hills, California, at age 77, of complications from pneumonia and kidney failure.[8][9]


Selected Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1953 Death Valley Days Jim Hardwicke Episode "11,000 Miners Can't Be Wrong"
1959 Have Gun - Will Travel Season 4, Episode 7 "Fragile"
1988 Star Trek: The Next Generation Lt. Dan Bell



  1. ^ Aaker, Everett (August 30, 2006). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters. McFarland & Company. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-7864-6409-8. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "William Boyett". Indiana Gazette. March 22, 1986. p. 4. Retrieved April 6, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  3. ^ "11,000 Miners Can't Be Wrong on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "William Boyett (1927–2004)". IMDb. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  5. ^ "TV listing". Naugatuck Daily News. January 2, 1969. p. 11. Retrieved October 2, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  6. ^ CTVA 'Classic TV Archive-US Crime Series'
  7. ^ "'The Gimmick' Is 'Navy Log' Drama". The Coshocton Democrat. January 11, 1956. p. 4. Retrieved October 2, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  8. ^ "William Boyett, actor who starred in "Adam-12," dead at 77". KESQ-TV News. December 29, 2004. Archived from the original on January 15, 2005.
  9. ^ McLellan, Dennis (January 1, 2005). "W. Boyett, 77; Veteran Stage, Television Actor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 2, 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Associated Press (January 3, 2005). Actor William Boyett, 77, Akron native, dies in L.A. Akron Beacon Journal, p. B6.

External links[edit]