William H. Macy

Biography: A consummate character actor adept at playing loners and losers of all stripes, Macy owes his career in large part to one man: writer-director David Mamet. The two met when Macy, who had been studying veterinary medicine in West Virginia, transferred to Goddard College in Vermont, where Mamet taught. They both subsequently moved to Chicago in the early 1970s and founded the St. Nicholas Theater Company, where Macy starred in a number of early Mamet plays (American Buffalo, The Water Engine), brilliantly spitting out the author's signature staccato dialog. In the '80s, Macy relocated to New York, where he occasionally landed TV guest spots, but made his biggest impression off-Broadway, embodying a host of unhappy, hapless souls. He also continued his fruitful collaboration with Mamet. In addition to working together on a number of plays (Bobby Gould in Hell, Oleanna), the two men co-founded the lauded Atlantic Theater Company. So it's not surprising that Mamet gave Macy hisA consummate character actor adept at playing loners and losers of all stripes, Macy owes his career in large part to one man: writer-director David Mamet. The two met when Macy, who had been studying veterinary medicine in West Virginia, transferred to Goddard College in Vermont, where Mamet taught. They both subsequently moved to Chicago in the early 1970s and founded the St. Nicholas Theater Company, where Macy starred in a number of early Mamet plays (American Buffalo, The Water Engine), brilliantly spitting out the author's signature staccato dialog. In the '80s, Macy relocated to New York, where he occasionally landed TV guest spots, but made his biggest impression off-Broadway, embodying a host of unhappy, hapless souls. He also continued his fruitful collaboration with Mamet. In addition to working together on a number of plays (Bobby Gould in Hell, Oleanna), the two men co-founded the lauded Atlantic Theater Company. So it's not surprising that Mamet gave Macy his first significant big-screen roles, including turns in House of Games, Homicide and the 1994 adaptation of Oleanna, in which he played a professor accused of sexual harassment. But ironically, Macy's Hollywood breakthrough had nothing to do with his buddy. As a desperate car salesman who ill-advisedly hires two thugs to kidnap his wife in Joel and Ethan Coen's Fargo, Macy used his hangdog persona to hilarious effect and deservedly earned an Oscar nod for the 1996 film. Now that Hollywood recognized both his face and his name, the offers came pouring in, and Macy popped up in so many projects (including Wag the Dog, Air Force One and Boogie Nights, all in 1997), he seemed like the hardest-working man in show business. He also gained exposure through recurring roles on TV's ER and Sports Night, starring opposite his real-life wife, Felicity Huffman, in the latter. Macy remained incredibly prolific in the '00s, appearing in big-budget flicks (Jurassic Park III, Seabiscuit), indies (The Cooler, Thank You for Smoking) and a number of critically acclaimed TV movies, including Door to Door as a cerebral palsy-stricken salesman, which earned him Emmys for both acting and writing. But he always made time for Mamet, even appearing as the President of the United States in the writer's CBS action series, The Unit, in 2007, and taking over the lead role in Mamet's Broadway production of Speed-the-Plow in 2009, after original star Jeremy Piven unexpectedly left the show. In 2010, Macy reunited with ER producer John Wells to play an alcoholic father on the Showtime dramedy series Shameless. Expand

William H. Macy's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average career score: 58
Highest Metascore: 89 Searching for Bobby Fischer
Lowest Metascore: 15 The Layover
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 49
  2. Negative: 8 out of 49
49 movie reviews
Title: Year: Credit: User score:
42 Maybe I Do Jan 27, 2023 Principal Cast / Sam tbd
39 Krystal Apr 13, 2018 Director / Dr. Wyatt Ogburn / Wyatt 5.5
15 The Layover Sep 1, 2017 Director / Director / Cast / Cast / Principal Cast / Principal Cast 4.6
66 Blood Father Aug 12, 2016 Kirby / Kirby / Kirby Curtis / Kirby Curtis 5.0
tbd Stealing Cars Apr 1, 2016 Philip Wyatt tbd
86 Room Oct 16, 2015 Grandpa / Grandpa / Robert / Robert tbd
tbd Dial A Prayer Apr 10, 2015 Bill tbd
36 Walter Mar 13, 2015 Dr. Corman 6.5
49 Cake Jan 23, 2015 Leonard / Leonard / Leonard / Leonard 6.5
tbd Two-Bit Waltz Nov 21, 2014 Carl / Carl tbd
52 Rudderless Oct 17, 2014 Director / Executive Producer / Written By / Cast 7.9
51 Trust Me Jun 6, 2014 Gary / Gary / Gary / Gary 8.9
86 Ernest & CĂ©lestine Feb 28, 2014 Head Dentist 7.7
83 The Wind Rises Nov 8, 2013 Satomi / Satomi 8.0
53 A Single Shot Sep 20, 2013 Pitt / Pitt 6.7
tbd Citizen Hearst Mar 11, 2013 Narrator tbd
79 The Sessions Oct 19, 2012 Father Brendan / Father Brendan / Father Brendan / Father Brendan 7.6
37 Dirty Girl Oct 7, 2011 Ray / Ray tbd
63 The Lincoln Lawyer Mar 18, 2011 Frank Levin / Frank Levin 5.2
53 Shorts Aug 21, 2009 Dr. Noseworthy / Dr. Noseworthy 10
57 Bart Got a Room Apr 3, 2009 Ernie Stein 6.6
53 The Tale of Despereaux Dec 19, 2008 Lester / Lester tbd
53 He Was a Quiet Man Nov 30, 2007 Gene Shelby 7.4
27 Wild Hogs Mar 2, 2007 Dudley Frank 5.1
54 Bobby Nov 17, 2006 Paul / Paul tbd
51 Everyone's Hero Sep 15, 2006 Lefty Maginnis / Lefty Maginnis tbd
61 Edmond Jul 14, 2006 Edmond 5.1
23 Doogal Feb 24, 2006 Brian 3.7
66 Transamerica Dec 2, 2005 Executive Producer / Executive Producer 6.9
41 Sahara Apr 8, 2005 Admiral Jim Sandecker / Admiral Jim Sandecker tbd