The photo below comes from a December 9, 1934 copy of the Duluth News-Tribune that I picked up on eBay. The photo accompanies an article by Edwin Turnbladh, Hollywood Correspondent of the News-Tribune.
Mrs. Warren William (Krech), formerly Helen Barbara Nelson, is described as “red-headed and practical” by The Washington Post (September 9, 1934). That brief article mentions that the couple had been married since soon after the end of the World War and though Mrs. William is constantly house-shopping the couple has lived in the same little hillside house in Hollywood since their arrival about three years prior to the time of publication. The article mentions Warren William’s hobbies of fencing and archery and the couple’s shared love of boats and dogs.
Bob Becker’s article “Mostly About Dogs,” which appeared in the January 5, 1936 issue of the Chicago Daily Tribune, includes a photo of Warren William with one of his wire-haired terriers–William, an enthusiastic tinkerer and inventor, as will be covered here in the future, has outfitted the dog with a strange looking wide collar. It kind of looks like the dog is wearing a wire steering wheel around his neck. The caption on the photo remarks that the device is supposed to keep the dog from crawling through holes in fences.
Jill in B. C. says
A couple of years ago I stumbled on a movie on TCM (where else) which featured an actor unfamiliar to me. I say unfamiliar even though I’ve been an ‘old movie’ buff all my life.
As I watched the actor I thought ‘who the hell is that?’ How come I don’t remember this guy.
Well, I might have seen him as a child, but I’m now middle-aged and I now see middle-aged men in a different way than when I was a child 🙂
As I kept watching the actor I noticed the effortless way he ‘acted’, the engaging way he spoke, not to mention that incredible smile of his. This guy was great at playing the charming devil. He could deliver a clever line like nobody else.
It was an actor named Warren William in one of his Lone Wolf movies.
Wow, I could have watched the guy all day.
I can’t believe that there isn’t more information out there about Warren William.
Thank goodness for this website, Warren-william.com.
I’ve done more searching on the internet, and have also found an interesting
article about Warren William’s homelife.
The long article, entitled ‘King Rat of the Pre-Coders’, was written by Ken Weiss.
Here’s the part of the article that describes Warren William’s homelife –
“In 1936 a British newspaper, The Star, featured an article titled “The Trick House of Hollywood.” A sub-head announced “Warren William’s Home Is Full of Gadgets.” The uncredited writer reports that, according to Helen William, “her husband has three passions – inventing, gardening and keeping tidy.” The article reveals previously unknown aspects of William’s personality.
“The actor’s home is a fine old house standing in spacious grounds at the foot of the Encinos amidst orange groves some miles outside Hollywood. Even before you enter the grounds you are faced with one of the actor’s gadgets. Outside the gates, on a long boom, is what appears to be a lantern. Hanging from it is a long tassel and to enter the Williams’ home you have to pull the lantern down by the tassel, open the sides and speak to the house on the telephone that pops out. The idea is to announce yourself and your business. If you are a legitimate visitor the tall iron gates open automatically and close again behind you. The house itself is large and rambling and queerly designed because so much of it has been adapted – more evidence of Warren William’s incurable desire to try new ideas. There is nothing bizarre or extravagant about it, with the exception of two rooms – Mrs. Warren William’s boudoir and her bathroom. The walls and ceilings of these are paneled completely with mirrors, so that when Mrs. William is in them you can see hundreds of reflections of her. That is the actor’s idea of a pretty compliment to his wife.
“Probably the most interesting room is the chart room. It is at the very top of the house, underneath the rafters. The actor built it himself and frequently sits up there by day and by night plotting the courses of imaginary voyages he takes in his ‘ship.’ This chart room is reached through the bedroom – to give it greater privacy. To climb into it, one has to balance perilously on a narrow flight of steps that rise from each side at the back of the bed. Circular in shape, with double windows heavily clamped with brass fittings, as in a ship, with a section of mast rising from the center of the floor and disappearing through the ceiling, the chart room has a ship’s compass, electrically illuminated seascapes on the wall to give the illusion of being at sea, ropes, an old sea chest and a litter of nautical instruments on the chart table to add to the atmosphere . . . William built the room himself, converting it from an attic. When the occupant is tired of the sea he can look out of the window across a beautiful orange grove, to the hills covered with semi-tropical California trees and shrubs.
[We see a photo of WW standing in front of “a special revolving cupboard for hats which he invented and built.” In two of the photos WW is holding a long-stemmed pipe. Another photo shows him looking through some 78 rpm record albums. It’s mentioned that he’s “fond of music.”]
“When he is not making pictures or inventing something, Warren William works in the garden. He is a keen gardener, and has transformed the hillside around his home into a series of terraces full of beautiful blooms. He grows, among other things, gardenias and bird-of-paradise blooms, limes, orange trees and walnuts. When Warren William starts gardening he does so thoroughly. He has a large tractor and with this he plows the land and removes tons of soil from one spot to another to carry out some improvement plan that has occurred to him . . . He has a sun ray water heating system on the roof for his dog kennels. It gives him warm water for bathing the dogs and costs nothing because the sun warms the water which is stored in a tank on the roof.” This endearing picture of William, puttering around the house, gardening, altering landscapes with his tractor, keeping his distance from Hollywood’s high life, is a far cry from his on-screen persona.
Later that year, another British publication, Movie Classic, ran a similar article titled “Homes of the Stars.” There’s a picture on the top of the first page showing William with his dog, a white scotch terrier. He’s standing on a stone bridge which spans a small “brooklet,” evidently man made, lined with white rocks. In the background is a large three-story home surrounded by trees. Another photo shows him in his living room, which has a piano and seems quite spacious and informal. A caption tells us the “living room is a symphony of unusual colors ranging from eggplant, jade green, chartreuse and Italian red.”
You can read the whole article here – http://www.classicimages.com/articles/2005/08/23/current_issue/warren-william.txt
Thanks, Jill, I’ve seen both of these and used them for some source material, but don’t believe I’ve ever printed them out in whole like this.
That’s funny, “Who the hell is that?” might be the most common way to discover Warren William, because if you don’t know him yet you’re usually impressed.
Thanks for the comment and the time it took to transcribe those articles!
Pat Roby says
I just recently heard of this amazing man and will be watching his movies. Thanks for listing them.
Thank you for finding us, Pat! The best place to start right now would be TCM who are airing 6 of Warren’s movies this Friday, December 2 in honor of his birthday. Plus they are currently airing his appearances as The Lone Wolf on Saturday mornings. If you don’t have the channel then it gets a little trickier!
remarkable. wonderful website tribute to a fine man.