Known for movies

Short Info

Date Of BirthJanuary 26, 1915
DiedMarch 6, 1970, Palm Springs, California, United States
SpouseJeanette J. Hopper, Jane Gilbert
FactPrior to being a Navy frogman doing underwater demolition in the Pacific during WW II his hair was dark blonde. The stress of the danger turned it permanently white.

William Hopper was born in New York City on January 26, 1915. His parents, both successful stage actors, divorced when he was a child. Hopper was educated at a number of private schools, including the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. He began his acting career in the 1930s, appearing in a number of Broadway productions. He made his film debut in 1938, and over the next few years appeared in a number of films, including some major studio productions.

Hopper’s career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the United States Navy. He resumed his acting career after the war, and in the 1950s he became a successful television actor, appearing in a number of popular series. He is best remembered for his role as private investigator Paul Drake in the television series “Perry Mason.” Hopper appeared in over 200 episodes of the series, which ran from 1957 to 1966.

In addition to his work on “Perry Mason,” Hopper appeared in a number of other television series and made-for-television movies. He also appeared in a number of feature films, including “The Sons of Katie Elder” (1965) and “True Grit” (1969).

Hopper was married three times. His first marriage, to actress Hedda Hopper, ended in divorce. His second marriage, to actress Dolores Dorn, also ended in divorce. His third marriage, to actress Jane Gilbert, lasted from 1971 until his death in 1970. Hopper had three children, all from his first marriage.

Hopper died of cancer on March 6, 1970, at the age of 54.

General Info

Full NameWilliam Hopper
Date Of BirthJanuary 26, 1915
DiedMarch 6, 1970, Palm Springs, California, United States
Place Of BirthNew York City, New York, United States
Height1.91 m
EducationUniversity of Glasgow


SpouseJeanette J. Hopper, Jane Gilbert
ChildrenJoan Hopper
ParentsHedda Hopper, DeWolf Hopper


NominationsPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
MoviesRebel Without a Cause, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Bad Seed, The Deadly Mantis, Track of the Cat, Conquest of Space, Public Wedding, Mystery House, Good-bye, My Lady, The High and the Mighty, Over the Goal, The Footloose Heiress, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, The First Texan, The Fighting ...
TV ShowsPerry Mason

Social profile links


1I didn't dislike movie people, but they were nothing special to me. I'd been around them all my life. My mother's [Hedda Hopper] the kind who could say "Howdeedo" to the king of England and feel perfectly at home. But I couldn't.


1William Hopper died only 4 years after the death of his mother, Hedda Hopper.
2Had a continuously difficult relationship with his famous mother, Hedda.
3Pushed into acting by his mother, Hopper began in summer stock and on the New York stage. He was signed as a small-part contract player at Paramount, 1935-37. Subsequently received leads at Warner Brothers in second features. Career faltered due to his lack of ambition and ambiguity towards the acting profession in general, and he returned again to bit parts. Stressful wartime military service in the Navy led to a drinking problem. After being demobbed, worked for nine years as a car salesman. Resumed acting in 1954, eventually finding his niche as investigator Paul Drake, right hand man to Raymond Burr's 'Perry Mason', the role for which he is chiefly remembered.
4Suffered a stroke on 14 February 1970.
5Prior to being a Navy frogman doing underwater demolition in the Pacific during WW II his hair was dark blonde. The stress of the danger turned it permanently white.
6Brother-in-law of actress Margaret Lindsay.
7Son of the actress-turned-gossip-columnist Hedda Hopper and DeWolf Hopper Sr.




They Died with Their Boots On1941Lt. Frazier (uncredited)
Blues in the Night1941Billiard Player (uncredited)
The Maltese Falcon1941Reporter (uncredited)
Navy Blues1941Ensign Walters (uncredited)
Passage from Hong Kong1941Watson (uncredited)
International Squadron1941Radio Operator (uncredited)
Dive Bomber1941Pilot Telling Joe 'Tim Landed RAF Plane' (uncredited)
Manpower1941Power Company Telephone Operator (uncredited)
Highway West1941Frank Carson - Murdered Cashier (uncredited)
Bullets for O'Hara1941Richard Palmer (as DeWolf Hopper)
The Bride Came C.O.D.1941Keenan's Pilot (as DeWolf Hopper)
Throwing a Party1941Short
Affectionately Yours1941Airline Attendant (uncredited)
Strange Alibi1941Apartment House Clerk (uncredited)
A Shot in the Dark1941Reporter (uncredited)
Knockout1941First Reporter (uncredited)
Here Comes Happiness1941Best Man (as DeWolf Hopper)
Footsteps in the Dark1941Police Secretary (uncredited)
Flight from Destiny1941Travin (as DeWolf Hopper)
The Case of the Black Parrot1941Ship's officer reporting false alarm (uncredited)
Santa Fe Trail1940Officer (scenes deleted)
Lady with Red Hair1940Lyceum Theater Attendant (uncredited)
Always a Bride1940Man at Campaign Meeting Carrying Michael (uncredited)
The Flag of Humanity1940ShortSentry (uncredited)
Knute Rockne All American1940New York Reporter When Knute is Ill (uncredited)
No Time for Comedy1940First-Nighter (uncredited)
Money and the Woman1940J.L. Burns, Bank Depositor (uncredited)
Ladies Must Live1940Joe Barton (as DeWolf Hopper)
Pony Express Days1940ShortSt. Joseph Telegrapher (uncredited)
The Man Who Talked Too Much1940Reporter #2 (uncredited)
Gambling on the High Seas1940Police Boat Radio Operator (uncredited)
Brother Orchid19402nd Reporter on Return Ship (uncredited)
Flight Angels1940Lefty (as DeWolf Hopper)
Tear Gas Squad1940George (as DeWolf Hopper)
'Til We Meet Again1940Man (uncredited)
The Singing Dude1940ShortCowboy (uncredited)
Virginia City1940Lieutenant Reporting Murrell's Attack (uncredited)
Castle on the Hudson1940Reporter (uncredited)
Calling Philo Vance1940Clerk at Hotel Nino in Chicago (uncredited)
The Fighting 69th1940Private Turner (as DeWolf Hopper)
Invisible Stripes1939Society Gent in Top Hat (uncredited)
A Child Is Born1939Intern Going to See Operation (uncredited)
The Return of Doctor X1939Interne (as DeWolf Hopper)
On Dress Parade1939Soldier Getting Radio Report from H4 (uncredited)
Pride of the Blue Grass1939Joe (as DeWolf Hopper)
On Your Toes1939Ronald - Peggy's Escort (uncredited)
Espionage Agent1939Student (uncredited)
Dust Be My Destiny1939Reporter (uncredited)
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase1939Reporter (as DeWolf Hopper)
Angels Wash Their Faces1939Photographer (uncredited)
The Bill of Rights1939ShortCourier (uncredited)
The Old Maid1939John (as DeWolf Hopper)
The Cowboy Quarterback1939Handsome Sam Saxon (as DeWolf Hopper)
Daughters Courageous1939Striped-Shirted Man at Beach (uncredited)
Midnight1939Flammarions' Party Guest (uncredited)
Stagecoach1939Sergeant (uncredited)
Mystery House1938Lal Killian
Love, Honor and Behave1938Yale Tennis Player (uncredited)
Daredevil Drivers1938Neeley Bus Driver
The Adventurous Blonde1937Matt
Over the Goal1937Ken Thomas
Love Is on the Air1937Eddie Gould
Back in Circulation1937Pete Eddington - a Reporter (uncredited)
The Footloose Heiress1937Jack Pierson
Mr. Dodd Takes the Air1937Second Production Manager (uncredited)
Public Wedding1937Anthony (Tony) Burke
Dick Tracy1937Dirigible Pilot (uncredited)
Join the Marines1937Marine (uncredited)
Larceny on the Air1937Announcer (as De Wolf Hopper)
Beware of Ladies1936Reporter (uncredited)
The Accusing Finger1936Reporter (as DeWolf Hopper Jr.)
Easy to Take1936Radio Monitor Room Man (uncredited)
The Big Broadcast of 19371936Ship's Officer (uncredited)
Murder with Pictures1936Photographer (uncredited)
The King Steps Out1936Soldier (uncredited)
Sunshine Dad1916Infant in carriage (as DeWolf Hopper Jr.)
Myra Breckinridge1970Judge Frederic D. Cannon (uncredited)
Perry Mason1957-1966TV SeriesPaul Drake
Studio 571956-1957TV SeriesKip
Slim Carter1957Joe Brewster
20 Million Miles to Earth1957Col. Robert Calder
The Deadly Mantis1957Dr. Nedrick Jackson
The Joseph Cotten Show: On Trial1957TV SeriesArnold Bait
Schlitz Playhouse1957TV SeriesDan Mailer
The Restless Gun1957TV Series
Matinee Theatre1956TV Series
Lux Video Theatre1955-1956TV SeriesGeorge / Jim Johanson / Brad Scott
The Bad Seed1956Col. Kenneth Penmark
Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre1956TV SeriesRick Gordon
Gunsmoke1956TV SeriesTasker / John Henry Jordan
The First Texan1956William Barrett Travis
The Millionaire1956TV SeriesCapt. Jonathan Carroll
Good-bye, My Lady1956Walden Grover
Celebrity Playhouse1956TV Series
The 20th Century-Fox Hour1956TV SeriesPhilip Harland
Fury1956TV SeriesDr. Steve Brown / Steve Wilson
Casablanca1955TV SeriesWilliam Randall
Warner Brothers Presents1955TV SeriesWilson
Rebel Without a Cause1955Judy's Father
One Desire1955'Mac' MacBain
The Ford Television Theatre1955TV SeriesJoe Cramer
Robbers' Roost1955Robert Bell
Conquest of Space1955Dr. George Fenton
Track of the Cat1954Arthur Bridges
This Is My Love1954District Attorney
Sitting Bull1954Charles Wentworth (as Bill Hopper)
The High and the Mighty1954Roy (as William Dewolf Hopper)
Mayor of the Town1954TV SeriesGirard
The Last Ride1944Swank, Mechanic / Henchman (uncredited)
Murder on the Waterfront1943First Sentry (uncredited)
Action in the North Atlantic1943Canadian Soldier (uncredited)
Air Force1943Sergeant (uncredited)
The Hard Way1943Hotel Desk Clerk (uncredited)
Gentleman Jim1942Undetermined Role (uncredited)
Beyond the Line of Duty1942ShortUniversity of Texas Classmate (uncredited)
You Can't Escape Forever1942Soldier (uncredited)
Desperate Journey1942Radio Operator (uncredited)
Across the Pacific1942Orderly (uncredited)
Divide and Conquer1942ShortMinor Role (uncredited)
Busses Roar1942Dark-Haired Sailor at Bar (uncredited)
Secret Enemies1942Agent (uncredited)
Escape from Crime1942Hastings (uncredited)
Spy Ship1942Reporter (uncredited)
Juke Girl1942Atlanta Postal Clerk (uncredited)
Yankee Doodle Dandy1942Reporter (uncredited)
Larceny, Inc.1942Traffic Policeman (uncredited)
Murder in the Big House1942Reporter (uncredited)
Lady Gangster1942John (as DeWolf Hopper)
The Male Animal1942Reporter on Porch (uncredited)
Bullet Scars1942Citizens Bank Teller (uncredited)
You're in the Army Now1941Supply Man - Gas Masks (uncredited)
The Body Disappears1941Terrence Abbott (as DeWolf Hopper)
All Through the Night1941Reporter (uncredited)


The Cowboy Quarterback1939performer: "Underneath a Western Sky" 1936 - uncredited


Stump the Stars1963TV SeriesHimself - Guest Panelist
Lux Video Theatre1955TV SeriesHimself - Announcer / Himself - Host
Hedda Hopper's Hollywood No. 21941Documentary shortHimself - Party Guest (uncredited)
Breakdowns of 19371937ShortHimself

Archive Footage

Brother Can You Spare a Dime1975Documentary as DeWolf Hopper Jr.
The Deadly Mantis1966ShortDr. Nedrick Jackson (uncredited)


Nominated Awards

1959Primetime EmmyPrimetime Emmy AwardsBest Supporting Actor (Continuing Character) in a Dramatic SeriesPerry Mason (1957)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

Write A Comment

Pin It