Bill Macy, Bea Arthur’s on-screen husband in the All in the Family spin-off Maude, died Thursday. He was 97.
Macy’s manager Matt Beckoff confirmed the news in a Facebook post. “He was a spitfire right up to the end,” he wrote.
“My condolences to his beautiful wife Samantha Harper Macy,” he added.
Macy is best known for his role of Walter Findlay on Maude, which ran on CBS from 1972-1978. Arthur’s character, Maude Findlay, was introduced as a cousin of Edith Bunker, played by Jean Stapleton on All in the Family.
In a 1998 interview with the Television Academy, the show’s creator Norman Lear said he cast Macy for Maude after watching him on stage.
“I first saw Bill Macy choking to death on a chicken bone in an off-Broadway play… I can’t remember the name of the play, but I will never if I live to be a thousand, and I hope to, I will never forget his choking on this chicken bone,” Lear said. “It took seven minutes [to cast him]. It was a tour de force.”
“I’m glad the show isn’t called Walter because the pressure would be on me,” Macy mentioned of the role in a 1973 interview with the Chicago Tribune, as cited by The Hollywood Reporter. “This way I can stay loose and go out and feed her lines.”
Over the course of his career, Macy also frequented many shows as a guest star, including Seinfeld, St. Elsewhere, Jack & Jill, L.A. Law, and Nothing in Common. In 2010, he appeared on an episode of TNT’s Hawthorne.