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James William McCutcheon (May 23, 1924January 9, 2002) was an American character actor known for his roles in film, television, and theatre, several of which won him Emmy and Tony awards.

McCutcheon was born in Russell, Kentucky, the son of Robert Kenna McCutcheon, who was a railroad conductor and Florence Louise (née Elam). McCutcheon's first major role was Leo the Leprechaun on The Howdy Doody Show. He followed this appearance with a recurring role (from 1984 to 1992) as Uncle Wally on the PBS children's television series Sesame Street, for which he won an Emmy. He also had a prominent role in the 1989 movie, Steel Magnolias, in which he played Owen Jenkins, beau of Ouiser Boudreaux (Shirley MacLaine).

He was also active in film and on the stage. His first film appearance was in 1964's Santa Claus Conquers the Martians; later on, he was seen in movies including Family Business and Steel Magnolias. McCutcheon was a familiar face to young audience in the 1960s when he appeared on several Tootsie Roll television commercials. His theatre credits include a role as Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, which won him a Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. Other stage appearances include You Can't Take It with You and The Man Who Came to Dinner.

A resident of Mahwah, New Jersey, McCutcheon died on January 9, 2002, of natural causes, aged 77. He had three children, Carol, Jay, and Kenna.


  • Bill McCutcheon Filmography