A still of Bill Goodwin, listed on EBay as Buy It Now for $17.50.
Among my unlikely crushes is Bill Goodwin, an actor whose name is pretty much forgotten today. He was good-looking in an ordinary-guy sort of way; like your high-school friend’s cute dad, or the dentist you might have Thoughts about as he shoved his hands in your mouth.
He had supporting roles in scads of 1940s and ’50s movies (So Proudly We Hail!, Bathing Beauty, The Stork Club, Spellbound, The Jolson Story, So This Is New York, It’s a Great Feeling, The Opposite Sex), but was mostly known for his radio work. His light, affable voice was briefly (1947) heard on his own radio show, and he announced and did ads for Frank Sinatra, Blondie and finally George Burns and Gracie Allen; he followed them to TV in 1950, and for the first year of their show basically played himself.
He dropped by, chatted, did comedy bits, and plugged Carnation Evaporated Milk, from contented cows (I always wondered how you “evaporated” milk, and how you knew the cows were contented and not just quietly depressed).
“Easygoing charm” perfectly sums up Bill Goodwin. He’s hard to find clips of, but this one from Burns and Allen perfectly captures his goofy charm:
He left Burns and Allen in 1951 and worked steadily on TV and radio till he died of a heart attack—aged only 47!—in 1958, and was pretty much completely forgotten. Except by Your Girlfriend, who still loved seeing him on the occasional old movie or TV rerun.