William Hindman, a veteran South Florida actor who also worked in New York, where he replaced Jason Robards as Hickey in Jose Quintero's famous Off-Broadway staging of The Iceman Cometh, died July 9 at Hialeah's Palmetto General Hospital of complications following surgery for lung cancer. He was 76.
Mr. Hindman, who had been seen in the major professional theatres in and around Miami, won a Carbonell Award, South Florida theatre's highest theatre prize, for his appearance in John DeGroot's Papa, in which he played Ernest Hemingway.
He was the father of Miami Herald theatre critic Christine Dolen, who told Playbill On-Line that her father's passion for the theatre ignited her own, leading her to a career of theatrical journalism. Ironically, Dole became critic in the town where her father was active in theatre, and she could never review him because of the conflict of interest.
Mr. Hindman, a Toledo, OH, native raised in Columbus, began acting in high school and continued to act while majoring in Chinese at Ohio State University. After his discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps during Word War II, he worked at Columbus' WCOL radio and at WLWC-TV, the city's NBC affiliate.
In 1956 he moved to New York to seek acting work and found quick success, replacing Jason Robards as Hickey in the historic Quintero production of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, one of several O'Neill revivals that helped re-establish the playwright's stature as an American great. Mr. Hindman acted with the Phoenix Theatre and with the New York Shakespeare Festival in its early days (appearing in Richard III, As You Like It and Othello), and appeared on Broadway in A Case of Libel.
Mr. Hindman settled in Miami in 1964. He worked at the Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium, and at WTMI radio. He was also a member of Players Theatre, which eventually moved from the Museum of Science to the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Among his roles at the Grove were the title role in the play Da and Claudius in Hamlet.
He appeared in television ("Love of Life," "The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd," "Miami Vice") in commericals and in South Florida-made films, appearing as the boys' basketball coach in all three "Porky's" movies, and as a priest in "Absence of Malice."
In later years, Hindman focused his energies on the stage. In addition to the original production of Papa, which he did at Miami Beach's Theatre, at Brian C. Smith's Off-Broadway Theatre in Wilton Manors and at Jan McArt's Cabaret Theatre in Key West, he acted at Actors' Playhouse (Picasso at the Lapin Agile), the Florida Shakespeare Theatre (Simpatico), City Theatre (Summer Shorts), the Actors' Project (Prelude to a Kiss) and the Vinnette Carroll Theatre (Witness for the Prosecution). He became an informal company member at New Theatre in Coral Gables. He appeared there in The Value of Names, Darrow, Beast on the Moon, Mickey and Will, Camping With Henry and Tom, A Christmas Carol, Don Juan in Hell and, two months ago, in another of the O'Neill plays that his daughter said "captivated him," A Moon for the Misbegotten.
There was nothing he wouldn't do to achieve authenticity in a part, Christine Dolen told Playbill On-Line.
"For Moon, he had dyed his white hair red, because the script said it had to be so," Dolen said. "When he died, the last vestiges of red had almost grown out."
Mr. Hindman is survived by six children: Dolen, of Davie, FL.; Kathryn Brooks of Nokomis, FL.; Dr. Dorothy Hindman Mason of Birmingham, AL; Peter Hindman of Athens, GA; William Wilhelm-Safian of San Jose, CA; and Beth Safian-Niv of Western Galilee, Israel. He also had eight grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 7 PM July 19 at Actors' Playhouse in the Miracle Theatre, Coral Gables. In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be made in his name to the Theatre League of South Florida, P.O. Box 630656, Miami, FL 33163, or to the New Theatre Building Fund, 65 Almeria Ave., Coral Gables, FL 33133.
-- By Kenneth Jones