William Schallert Biography

Biography by Published on Updated on 16 Jul, 2020
Facts of William Schallert
Date of Birth: 1922 , July-6
Date of Death: 2016 , May-8
Age: 99 years old
Birth Nation: United States of America
Height: 6 Feet 1 Inch
Name William Schallert
Birth Name William Joseph Schallert
Father Edwin Francis Schallert
Mother Elza Emily Baumgarten
Nationality American
Birth Place/City Los Angeles, California, USA
Profession Character Actor
Net Worth $2 million
Eye Color Brown
Hair Color Black
Married to Leah Waggner (February 26, 1949 - 2015, her death)
Children 4
Education University of Southern California
Movies The Foxes of Harrow, Mighty Joe Young, Perfect Strangers, Twilight Zone: The Movie
TV Show It's a Great Life, Maverick, The Twilight Zone, Get Smart, Hawaii Five-O
Died May 8, 2016
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William Schallert was an American character actor. By the time he passed away in May 2016, he had over 287 acting credits to his name.   

When was William Schallert Born?

William Schallert was born William Joseph Schallert on July 6, 1922, the son of Edwin Francis Schallert, a drama critic for the Los Angeles Times, and Elza Emily Baumgarten, a magazine writer, and radio host. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Schallert attended the University of Southern California, before enlisting to become an Army Air Corps fighter pilot during World War II.

After the war ended, Schallert resumed his studies from UCLA and graduated in 1946.


Schallert started acting when he was a student at UCLA. He helped found the Circle Theatre (now, the El Centro Theatre) in Hollywood, California, in 1946, with his UCLA classmates.  

He had his first on-screen role the following year in 1947. He went on to make numerous appearances in television shows, including recurring appearances in shows like Fireside Theatre, Space Patrol, and Four Star Playhouse.

He made his feature film debut in 1947 and has been in countless movies since then. Some of his most high-profile movie roles include 1949's The Reckless Moment, 1951's The Man from Planet X, 1958's The Tarnished Angels, 1959's Pillow Talk, 1967's In The Heat Of The Night, 1968's Speedway, 1979's The Jerk, 1984's Teachers, and 1987's Innerspace.

William Schallert as The Admiral in Get Smart SOURCE: IMDb

Schallert is perhaps most well-known for playing The Admiral on the NBC comedy series Get Smart, and Defense Counsel Herbert in the original Hawaii Five-O. Additionally,  he played various characters in the Western drama series, Gunsmoke, and Stanley Perkins in the drama series, The Waltons.  

From 1979 to 1981, Schallert served as the President of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). During his tenure, he founded the Committee for Performers with Disabilities, externalizing his own struggles with peripheral neuropathy to help others with physical disabilities.

In later years, Schallert went on to make appearances in TV shows like How I Met Your Mother, Recount, True Blood, and The Deep End. His final screen appearance came in a 2014 episode of the CBS sitcom, 2 Broke Girls.

Was William Schallert Married? Did He Have Children?

William Schallert was married from February 26, 1949, to 2015 with actress Leah Waggner that only ended when Wagner passed away aged 87.

William Schallert and Leah Waggner SOURCE: Getty Images

They had four children together, all sons: William Joseph, Jr. (born in 1949), Edwin G. Schallert (born in 1952), Mark M. Schallert (born in 1954), and Brendan C. Schallert (born in 1961). 

When Did William Schallert Die? What was the Cause of His Death?  

William Schallert died aged 93 on May 8, 2016, at his Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles home. There is no suspicion of foul play and he reportedly died of natural causes.     

What was Willaim Schallert Worth at the Time of His Death?

At the time of his death, Willaim Schallert was reportedly worth around $2 million. A 44-year veteran of acting, he made nearly 400 appearances across various movies and television shows.