William Hall Macy, Jr. (Born March 13, 1950) is an actor, screenwriter, teacher and director in theater, film and television. His film career has been built mostly on his appearances in small independent films, though he has appeared in summer action films as well. Macy has described himself as "sort of a Middle American, WASPy Lutheran kind of guy...Everyman."
Macy was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Jerry Ludegaard in Fargo. He has won two Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award, and has been nominated for nine Emmy Awards and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards in total. He is also a three-time Golden Globe Award nominee. Since 2011 he has played the main antagonist in the Showtime television series Shameless. Macy and actress Felicity Huffman have been married since 1997.
Macy was born in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Georgia and Maryland. His father, William Hall Macy, Sr., was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal for flying a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber in World War II; he later ran a construction company in Atlanta, Georgia, and worked for Dun & Bradstreet before taking over a Cumberland, Maryland-based insurance agency when Macy was nine years old. His mother, Lois, was a war widow who met Macy's father after her first husband died in 1943; Macy has described her as a Southern belle.
Macy graduated in 1968 from Allegany High School in Cumberland, Maryland. Afterwards, he studied veterinary medicine at Bethany College in West Virginia. By his own admission a "wretched student," he transferred to Goddard College and became involved in theatre, where he performed in ensemble productions of The Three Penny Opera, A Midsummer Night's Dream and a wide variety of conemporary and improvisational pieces. At Goddard, he first met playwright David Mamet.
After graduating from Goddard in 1971, Macy moved to Chicago, Illinois, working as a bartender to pay the rent. Within a year, he and David Mamet, among others, founded St. Nicholas Theater Company, where Macy originated roles in a number of Mamet's plays, such as American Buffalo and The Water Engine.
Macy spent time in Los Angeles, California, before moving to New York City, New York, in 1980. While living there, he had roles in over 50 Off Broadway and Broasway plays. One of his early on-screen roles was a turtle named Socrates in the direct-to-video film The Boy Who Loved Trolls, under the name W. H. Macy. He also had a minor role as a hospital orderly on the sictom Kate & Allie in the fourth season episode General Hospital. He has appeared in numerous films that Mamet wrote and directed, including House of Games, Things Change, Homocide, Oleanna, Wag the Dog, State and Main, and Spartan.
Macy may be best known for his lead role in Fargo, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. The role helped boost his career and recognizability, though at the expense of nearly confining him to a narrow typecast of a worried man down on his luck. Other Macy roles in the 90s and 2ks included Benny & Joon, Above Suspicion, Mr. Holland's Opus, Ghost of Mississippi, Air Force One, Boogie Nights, Pleasantville, Gus Van Sant's remake of Psycho, Happy, Texas, Mystery Men, Magnolia, Jurassic Park III, Focus, Panic, Welcome to Collinwood, Seabiscuit, The Cooler, and Sahara.
Macy has also had a number of roles on television, including a guest appearance on The Unit, as the President of the United States. In 2003 he won two Emmy Awards, one for starring in the lead role, and one as co-writer, of the made-for-TNT film Door to Door. Door to Door is a drama based on the true story of Bill Porter, a door-to-door salesman in Portland, Oregon, born with cerebral palsy.
His work on ER and Sports Night has also been recognized with Emmy nominations.
In a November 2003 interview tih USA Today, Macy stated that he wanted to star in a big-budged action movie "for the money, for the security of a franchise like that." He serves as director -in-residence at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York, where he teaches a technique called Practical Aesthetics. A book describing the technique, A Practical Handbook for the Actor, is dedicated to Macy and Mamet.
In 2007, Macy starred in Wild Hogs, a film about middle-aged men reliving their youthful days by taking to the open road on their Harley-Davidson motorcycles from Cincinnati to the Pacific Coast. Despite being critically panned with a 14% "rotten" rating from Rotten Tomatoes, it was a financial success, grossing over $168 mililon. In 2009, Macy completed filming on The Maiden Heist, a comedy that co-starred Morgan Freeman and Christopher Walken.
On June 23, 2008, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce announced Macy and his wife, Felicity Huffman, would each receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the upcoming year. On January 13, 2009, Macy replaced jeremy Piven in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow on Broadway. Piven suddenly and unexpectedly dropped out of the play in December 2008 after he experienced health problems. Norbert Leo Butz covered the role from December 23, 2008, until Macy took over the part. Dirty Girl, which starred Macy along with Juno Temple, Milla Jvovich, Mary Steenburgen and Tim McGraw, premiered September 12, 2010, at the Toronto International Film Festival.
In the 2012 film The Sessions, Macy played a priest who helps a man with a severe disability find personal fulfillment through a sex surrogate.
In Summer 2010, Macy joined the Showtime pilot Shameless, as the main antagonist Frank Gallagher (US). The project ultimately went to series, its first season premiered on January 9, 2011. Macy has received high critical acclaim for his performance.
Macy and actress Felicity Huffman have been married since September 6, 1997; they have two daugthers, Sophia Grace and Georgia Grace.
Macy and Huffman appeared at a rally for John Kerry in 2004. Macy also plays the ukulele and is an avid woodturner; he has appeared on the cover of the specialist magazine Fine Woodworking. He is a national ambassador for the United Cerebral Palsy Association.
Since shooting Wild Hogs, Macy has picked up a strong interest in riding motorcycles.
In 1997 Macy auditioned for the role of Brian Griffin on Seth MacFalane's popular show Family Guy.