Grant Williams (actor)

For other people with the same name, see Grant Williams (disambiguation).

John Joseph Williams (August 18, 1931 – July 28, 1985), known as Grant Williams, was an American film, theater and television actor. He is best remembered for his portrayal of Scott Carey in the science fiction film The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957).


Early life

Born in New York City to a Scottish father and an Irish mother, Williams began acting in summer stock as a child. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving from 1948 to 1952, before and during the Korean War.

He was discharged as an Air Force staff sergeant. It would seem that Williams attended one or more colleges after his Air Force stint, but the sources are deeply discordant about which. He had, in fact, enrolled in Queens College, Flushing, New York, but cut his attendance short when he enlisted. Among the universities cited by the various sources are: the University of Illinois, City College of New York, Columbia University, and New York University. According to Rual Askew of the Dallas Morning News, who interviewed Williams in March 1957 and published a profile of the actor, Williams earned a B.A. in Journalism from New York University. According to other press sources (such as a February 1959 syndicated article in the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah), Williams obtained a degree in journalism from a correspondence school.


After his Air-Force service, he enrolled at the Actors Studio in New York City under Lee Strasberg. Williams' early theatrical experience was intensive, but, contrary to what several Internet sources (and Williams himself) have stated, never included Broadway. His work in the theater was all "off-Broadway," at prestigious venues such as the Barter Theatre of Abingdon, Virginia (1953), and the Blackfriars Theatre in New York (1953). Following small roles on television, Williams was spotted by a talent scout on Kraft Television Theater in 1954, and signed with Universal Pictures in March 1955. He made his film debut in Jack Arnold's Red Sundown in March of the following year, in the small but memorable bravura role of hired thug Chet Swann.

This film was followed by another picture directed by Arnold, the noir thriller Outside the Law (1956), by the western Showdown at Abilene (1956), by some... more

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