The Andy Griffith Show’s Bill Erwin had “wise eyes” and a “round rosy face” to thank for his career in Hollywood.
At least, that’s what the film critics were saying in the 1980s.
At that point, Erwin had already had luck with recurring roles in I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, and The Waltons. And he would go on to be nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series category after playing an “old man” on Seinfeld.
Erwin also had short but unforgettable cameos in Home Alone and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles—all because of his unforgettable mug. And that concept wasn’t lost on people.
In 1982, a reporter for Victor Valley Daily Press wrote that Erwin had a special place in film because of his “silver hair,” ” wise eyes,” “knowing smile,” and ” voice filled with authority.”
That same year, another reporter wrote that “his round rosy face with those blue eyes and that thatch of silver hair [makes] him one of the most recognizable character actors around today.”
But interestingly, Bill Erwin once thought he’d never cut it as an actor because he was too average-looking.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actor Thought he was Average-Looking
“When I was a young man, it was sometimes difficult for me to get work,” Erwin said, according to MeTV. “If you are very handsome or very ugly, you can work in Hollywood. The problem is to work when you are more or less average-looking.”
Erwin thought he looked like “millions” of other hopefuls with his “round, honest face” in his early days. But as he aged, he started looking more unique. And when that started happening, he saw a major uptick in work.
But even when he struggled to find jobs, he never thought to give up. Acting was his true passion in life. And Erwin whole heartily believed that persistence was the key to success.
He even kept a framed quote above his desk that read, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.” And that quote ended up being true.
“Now that I look like I do – the silver hair and the mustache to match – I am getting better parts than I ever had before in my life,” Erwin shared.
The two-time Andy Griffith Show actor started his career when he was 27, and he continued to star in television and film until he was 92. By the time Erwin retired, he had racked up 247 acting credits.
“It appears that most actors my age have either become superstars or long since given up the struggle,” he continued. “I have just kept working away, seeking to improve my skills. Then there’s that old word ‘persistence.’ I’m standing on the threshold with the eagerness of a juvenile.”