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William Needles

  • Birthplace: Yonkers, New York
  • Birthday: January 02
Date of passing: 
January 12, 2016

William Needles was an actor best known for his work in more than 100 productions at Ontario, Canada’s Stratford Festival. He performed in the festival for nearly 50 years, including roles in Alice Through the Looking Glass and Henry VI. Needles, a member of the Order of Canada, was also Canada’s oldest working actor.

In addition to many Canadian productions, he also appeared on the American television series Omnibus and The Great Detective, as well as the television movie Pajama Tops, a French inspired farce about affairs and mistaken identities. Additionally, he appeared in the 1983 horror film Spasms, starring Peter Fonda and Oliver Reed.

Needles was born in New York and raised in Canada. He studied at the Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago before joining the Stratford Festival in its 1953 inaugural season  in a production of Richard III.

William Needles was an actor best known for his work in more than 100 productions at Ontario, Canada’s Stratford Festival. He performed in the festival for nearly 50 years, including roles in Alice Through the Looking Glass and Henry VI. Needles, a member of the Order of Canada, was also Canada’s oldest working actor.

In addition to many Canadian productions, he also appeared on the American television series Omnibus and The Great Detective, as well as the television movie Pajama Tops, a French inspired farce about affairs and mistaken identities. Additionally, he appeared in the 1983 horror film Spasms, starring Peter Fonda and Oliver Reed.

Needles was born in New York and raised in Canada. He studied at the Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago before joining the Stratford Festival in its 1953 inaugural season  in a production of Richard III.

He also appeared on the London stage and on Broadway, including a production of Hadrian VII.

In 1961, he played Banquo in a television production of Macbeth, starring Sean Connery in the title role.

Additionally, Needles taught acting for many years at the University of California, Irvine. One of his former students, Jon Lovitz, parodied Needles as the Saturday Night Live character Master Thespian.

Needles died January 12, 2016, in Alliston, Ontario, Canada. He was 97.

 

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