Theodore "Chill" Wills  

May 16, 1907 - June 11, 1979
Born: July 18, 1903, in Seagoville, Texas.
Died: December 15, 1978, in Encino, California.

Wills was born in Seagoville in Dallas County, Texas. He was a performer from early childhood, forming and leading the Avalon Boys singing group in the 1930s. After appearing with them in a few westerns, he disbanded the group in 1938 and struck out on a solo acting career.

One of his more memorable roles was that of the distinctive voice of Francis the Mule in a series of popular films. Wills' deep, rough voice and Western twang were perfectly matched to the personality of the cynical, sardonic mule. As was customary at the time, Wills was given no billing for his vocal work, though he was featured prominently on-screen as blustery General Ben Kaye in the fourth entry, Francis Joins the WACS.

Wills also appeared in numerous serious roles, including that of Uncle Bawley in Giant, a 1956 film starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean. Wills was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1960 for his role as the beekeeper in the film The Alamo.

Wills' last role was in 1978 as a janitor in Stubby Pringle's Christmas.

On his death in Encino, California, Chill Wills was interred in the Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale.