Wednesday, September 28, 2011

William Windom

Today is William Windom's 88th birthday. The well-known American character actor -- Commodore Matt Decker in the original Star Trek, the Thurberesque John Monroe in My World and Welcome to It -- has no direct connection to the presidency of the United States, though he did play "The President" in Escape from Planet of the Apes (1971).

He is, however, the great-grandson of William Windom (1827-1891), 33rd and 39th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, first serving under Garfield and Arthur and later Benjamin Harrison, besides being a Representative and then Senator from Minnesota. Windom was regarded highly enough to earn a depiction on a series of $2 silver certificates issued after his death in office.

Windom also took a very modest stab at the presidency. In 1880, he received 10 votes on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention that year in Chicago as a favorite son candidate. The nomination ultimately went to the dark-horse James A. Garfield, who went on to the White House and an early grave.

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