1968 - 1980
William David Elliott
Dionne Warwick (m. 1966; div. 1967); (m. 1967; div. 1975)
Dionne Warwick, Damon Elliott, Don Marshall (actor)
William Elliott was an African American actor and musician. He had a recurring role in Bridget Loves Bernie as Otis Foster and a recurring role as Officer Gus Grant in The New Adam-12. He also appeared in Elvis Presley's 1969 film Change of Habit.
Elliott was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He spent four years in the United States Navy as an electrician. He later worked for US Steel and left the job. He also turned down an opportunity to study at Massasuchetts Institute of Technology to be a drummer. He later formed his own music group and ended up marrying the background vocalist. She was Dionne Warwick. Prior to becoming husband and wife, Elliott was at the home of Warwick's parents to ask for their daughter's hand. He was invited by her father to have a talk in the living room. Her father knew of Elliott's reputation of being a ladies man and happened to be cleaning his gun in preparation for a hunting trip. The talk to the future son in law may have had an effect on Elliott. They were married in the mid-1960s, and would have two sons, David and Damon. He would divorce, then remarry Warwick. They then divorced for the second time in 1975, ending ten plus years of marriage.
An early appearance on television was in the television series, Dragnet. The episode Community Relations: DR-10 aired in 1968 and also featured Don Marshall, Rafer Johnson and O.J. Simpson in a minor role. In the early 1970s, he had a reoccurring role as Otis Foster in the Bernard Slade created show Bridget Loves Bernie which starred David Birney and Meredith Baxter.
He had an early uncredited role as a revolutionary in the Jules Dassin directed Uptight which was released in 1968. He then played the part of Robbie in the Elvis Presley film, Change of Habit which was released in 1969. Then he appeared as Leon in The Old Man Who Cried Wolf which starred Edward G. Robinson. The film which was released in 1970, also starred Percy Rodrigues and Martin Balsam. It was about an old man who witnessed a murder but nobody believed him. The next film he appeared in was a made-for-television movie. In They Call It Murder which starred Jim Hutton, Robert J. Wilke and Ed Asner, he played the part of Deputy Bob Terry. He played the lead role in the Henry Hathaway film Hangup that was released in 1974. In the film he played an honest police officer who comes to grief as he is in love with a drug addict played by Marki Bey. Because Warner Brothers wouldn't distribute the film, Elliott took charge of it and it was subsequently distributed by a lesser known distributor and pushed as a Blaxploitation film. It failed in the box offices and attracted a fair amount of criticism.
Elliott appears on the Together Again! album by Willis Jackson with organist Jack McDuff. His drumming can be heard on the track "Tu'gether" which was released in 1964. In the same year, he collaborated with saxophonist Joe Thomas and they released the Speak Your Piece album. In 1974, it was announced in the August 3 issue of Billboard that Elliott was opening a studio at the location of the old Brooks Randall Motor Club site at Bronson Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. The studio that featured recording facilities, a sound stage, rehearsal and dressing rooms was to cater for the motion picture and recording industry.