Chill Wills

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Chill Theodore Wills (born July 18, 1902 in Seagoville , Texas , † December 15, 1978 in Encino , California ) was an American film and theater actor and musician .


Chill Wills grew up as one of five brothers and was on stage with them at a young age. Under the stage name The Wills Brothers Quartet , they performed at fairs and vaudeville stages in the southwestern US states. In Kansas City , Wills also met his first wife, Hattie Elizabeth Chappelle, whom he married in 1928. With her he had his two children, daughter Jill (* 1939) and son Will (* 1942).

With Chill Wills and His Avalon Boys , a music group he co-founded in the late 1920s, Wills was able to build on the successes of his childhood as an adult. During an appearance in Hollywood around 1934, the group was discovered by a talent scout from RKO Pictures , who hired them as a background band for some barely successful low-budget westerns. However, they had a notable appearance in 1937 in the western comedy Zwei ritten nach Texas ( Way Out West ) with Laurel and Hardy , which even received an Oscar nomination for best film music. Chill Wills can be seen in the film singing the American folk song The Trail of the Lonesome Pine with Laurel and Hardy .

In the late 1930s, when the group went their separate ways, Wills embarked on a solo acting career that would span a decade of 40 years. Wills was increasingly seen as a sought-after actor who could prove his talent in over 100 films.

One of his most famous films is the Western Alamo , which was directed by John Wayne in 1960 . Chills, who received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 1961 for his portrayal of a companion of Davy Crockett (John Wayne) named Beekeeper , then began an unprecedented campaign for votes for the AMPAS to win the gold statue. But the aggressive tone that Wills displayed was rigorously punished by the Academy , so that on the one hand Wills did not get an Oscar, and on the other hand the film Alamo itself could only claim one gold statue out of seven Oscar nominations . Even John Wayne had to publicly apologize for his actor's behavior. Fortunately, this faux pas did not affect his career, as he was in front of the camera until shortly before his death.

In parallel to his work in film and television, Wills was also politically active. He was a member of the Democratic Party and supported the Governor of Alabama, George Wallace , in the presidential campaign of 1968 ; although the company was not crowned with success.

Chill Wills' wife Hattie died on November 11, 1971, the 43rd year of marriage. Two years later, on December 7, 1973, Wills married Novadeen Googe. He was married to her for the last five years of his life. Chill Wills died at the age of 76 years to cancer .

A star on the Walk of Fame is dedicated to him today .


Chart positions
Explanation of the data
The Trail of the Lonesome Pine ( Laurel & Hardy and The Avalon Boys feat. Chill Wills)
  UK 2 
11/22/1975 (10 weeks)
  • The peculiar first name Chill is an invention of his parents. Since it was the hottest day in Texas on the day of his birth, his parents decided, ironically, to call him Chill.
  • Chill Wills was 188 centimeters tall.

Filmography (selection)



  1. chart data: UK / Gold / Silver database UK

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