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William Steele (actor)

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William Steele
William Anton Gittinger

(1888-03-28)March 28, 1888
DiedFebruary 13, 1966(1966-02-13) (aged 77)
Years active1912–1956

William Anton Gittinger (March 28, 1888 – February 13, 1966), best known as William Steele, was an American actor of small roles in Westerns, particularly those of John Ford.


Although his screen credits and many records indicate a wide variety of names and spellings, Steele's own signatures on his military documents indicate that he was born William Anton Gittinger on March 28, 1888 (not 1889, as some sources have it) in San Antonio, Texas. Little is known of his life prior to his arrival in Los Angeles around 1910. As the film industry in Hollywood was just blossoming, and as he apparently had great experience with horses, Steele easily obtained work in quickie Westerns. He fought in Europe in World War I, then returned to Hollywood.[1] While he was extremely inconsistent in the names he used, he worked consistently in Westerns throughout the silent era and up until the 1950s. His final appearance was as the wounded posse member Nesby in Ford's The Searchers in 1956, his tenth film for Ford. He died ten years later, not quite 78 years old. He was survived by his wife Josephine, an actress. He is buried under his birth name at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.[2]

Stage names

  • Billy Gettinger
  • Bill Gettinger
  • William Gettinger
  • William Gittenger
  • Bill Steele
  • Robert Steele
  • W.A. Steele
  • William A. Steele
  • William Steuer
  • William Steele

Partial filmography


  1. ^ World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Los Angeles County, California; Roll: 1530902; Draft Board: 14
  2. ^ National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans Grave sites, ca.1775-2006
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William Steele (actor)
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