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Benny Thomasson

Biography

This man is among the legends of Texas fiddling, and beyond a musician of such great power and scope that he’s often in comparison to luminaries such as for example Charlie Parker for jazz or Isaac Stern for classical music. And therefore just the audio of his device, instantly recognizable through the first few pubs he has, creates an instantaneous sense of strength within the music that less players would need to have a few occasions functioning up a perspiration to create, if indeed they could. His musical reach is really as big because the condition he originated from, increasing out in the introduction of Western swing in addition to providing a traditional history of traditional fiddling. He’s one of the better types of so-called “fiddlers,” who despite specialized and musical distinctions are violinists exactly like other people, playing the violin within a virtuoso way without the advantage of classical training. Minus the regular he place, there would definitely end up being no players from the Tag O’Connor variety. Actually, the white device the second option hotshot fiddler performs was presented with to him by Thomasson himself. He was among ten children inside a music-loving family members. Both his dad, Luke Thomasson, and uncle, Ed Thomasson, had been well-known region fiddlers, and Benny offers frequently recalled in interviews a memory space of his dad training a fresh tune, which ultimately became the fiddle regular “Midnight on the Drinking water.” Local music artists hung throughout the house jamming and just how Benny tells it, in the past a musician didn’t need to shop around for gigs. Anywhere Luke proceeded to go, for example, someone would inquire him to try out his fiddle. Keeping visits or sticking with almost any schedule will be difficult, because one by no means knew just how long among these spontaneous fiddle fests might last. Benny began playing fiddle at age three, but he do want his father’s help hold the device at the advantage of a bed to place the throat down on. Still, this early begin gave him the required time to ready for the musical profession awaiting him. By age 19, he was wanting to make his tag at an area fiddle competition. Thinking he was one of the biggest players alive, he got up and provided it his all. No, this tale will not end with him recording every one of the best honors and getting acknowledged as among the great geniuses of music. He was actually ignored because he previously yet to build up his effective personal sound and idea. However the event was a activate the trunk, the musical wake-up contact that frequently makes a player determine that five or six hours of every day could possibly be spent training instead of other things that one may have been performing. He visited focus on a repertoire of fiddle music, developing his personal variations in areas without producing any too extreme changes. The strategy worked well for him and he started to finally become noticed by additional musicians and the general public as well. He continued to win the Tx State Fiddling Tournament 15 occasions, plus three consecutive wins within the world-wide event kept in Crockett, TX, and several other contests. His capability to mow down competitors having a influx of his bow partly originated from the outstanding repertoire he created, including two-part pieces he previously discovered from his father, Canadian and Irish reels discovered by ear, and in addition from released fiddle choices and the present day Texas breakdown design. The musical idea of Tx fiddling also linked along with the occasionally verbose or exaggerated character of goings-on for the reason that condition, since a fiddle tune that may just have two parts to it in Virginia seems in Tx with five different areas. Again, this is an aspect that may provide a fiddler a little extra artillery within a showdown. He further improved the audio and resonance of his device by utilizing a number of interesting fiddle tunings. But maybe among the finest top features of his playing was the technique he previously learned from family members, most of whom performed in an old design of fiddle where the bowing hands makes a more substantial change than what would become considered the correct fiddling technique in afterwards generations. This enables the gamer to generate more notes with this hands, though it can limit the total amount played with another. This fiddler’s bowing hands was once thought to appear to be a pendulum swinging. Music artists of Thomasson’s era had been helped mightily within their profession endeavors with the development of radio. Thomasson and his brothers had been in a number of groupings that performed on broadcasts, including an old-time music plan sponsored with the Sears Roebuck business, also among the great resources for mail-order banjos, fiddles, and guitars. This specific display afforded excellent publicity and Thomasson and his sibling, guitarist Lewis Thomasson, got the work because they occurred showing up for a arbitrary audition one evening once the show’s suppliers still experienced no idea what music these were going to make use of to start the brand new display. The recognition of old-time music around the air flow eventually became comprehended by numerous record businesses who delivered their scouts actually from coast to coast within the ’20s and ’30s. Although some great old-time players remaining recorded documents due to these actions, listeners aren’t so lucky regarding Benny Thomasson as the results of the 1929 recording program he do for Okeh with another sibling, Jim Thomasson, possess disappeared. It might have already been the delivery of the tune “I Fall to Parts,” since evidently someone with butterfingers slipped the wax get good at somewhere along the way of it getting shipped cool off towards the big town. non-etheless, the fiddler composed for the documenting debacle later on in his profession. In the past due ’60s, he documented for the Region label with great outcomes. His Nation Fiddling From your Big State is definitely virtually a fiddle competition minus the hoopla because within its grooves the fiddler presents an array of both old-time and traditional western swing numbers such as for example might be offered in a competition event. Actually, the idea of a fiddler planning some pieces to become performed in competition is definitely acknowledged to Thomasson, and is just about the recognized norm for individuals in such occasions. Within the ’70s, Thomasson relocated to Washington condition, where he struck up musical interactions with lots of the youthful local local players who have been involved with a resurgence appealing in old-time music and different other conventional American styles. A guitarist called Dudley Hill, who was simply totally enamored with Thomasson’s recordings in the State label, approached the fantastic master within the halls of a higher school in which a Washington condition fiddle competition was being kept. “MAY I play with you?” Hill asked with most likely something of the tremble in his tone of voice. The two continued to create a musical and personal relationship, playing on many of each other’s information, the outcomes released on Voyager albums such as for example Thomasson’s Say Aged Man IS IT POSSIBLE TO Play the Fiddle or Hill’s From a North Family. The previous launch contains some wonderful types of the fiddler’s use backup in casual jam sessions. Becoming on the Western Coast even offered Thomasson usage of Hollywood. Younger disciple Byron Berline were able to set up an on-screen appearance in the first Arnold Schwarzenegger film Stay Hungry, a long time before the challenging guy created a graphic where he’d be more comfy smashing a banjo over someone’s mind then choosing it. Thomasson and his family members reportedly walked from the screening if they realized there is going to be considered a nude like scene. Regardless of the likelihood of concluding on this entertaining note, it ought to be talked about that recordings and dental legend aren’t the only real means by which the music of the fiddler survives. The Seattle-based Petimer Press offers published a publication, entitled Benny Thomasson Fiddle Transcriptions for all those brave plenty of to try out this at home.

Quick Facts


Died January 1984, Ellis County, Texas, United States
Profession Fiddler
Nationality American


  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 Is left-handed.
2 Children: Son Gill Williams (b. 1992) and daughter Elinor Williams (b. 1998).
3 Graduated from Kent School, the same high school that Ted Danson, Peter Farrelly and Seth MacFarlane attended.
4 Was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in June 2004.
5 Andy Brown, Williams' character on Everwood (2002), was ranked #43 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" [20 June 2004 issue].
6 Had a brief romance with Dana Delany.
7 In 2003, completed two weeks of training to qualify for flying jet engine planes.
8 Certified Flight Instructor, rated in single and multi-engine airplanes and helicopters.
9 The nickname "Treat" comes from one of his maternal relatives (though not a direct ancestor), Robert Treat Paine, whose signature appears on the Declaration of Independence. Through his mother, Treat is also the great-great-great-grandson of William Henry Barnum, a Senator from Connecticut (who served from 1876 to 1879).
10 Graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 1973
11 Was a professional pilot for a year in the early 1980s.


Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
127 Hours 2010 Aron's Dad
Howl 2010 Mark Schorer
The Storm 2009 TV Mini-Series Robert Terrell
Safe Harbor 2009 TV Movie Doug
Chasing a Dream 2009 TV Movie Gary Stiles
Front of the Class 2008 TV Movie Norman Cohen
What Happens in Vegas 2008 Jack Fuller Sr.
Good Behavior 2008 TV Movie Burt Valencia
Il nascondiglio 2007 Father Amy
Heartland 2007 TV Series Dr. Nathaniel Grant
Moola 2007 Luis Gordon
The Staircase Murders 2007 TV Movie Michael Peterson
Brothers & Sisters 2006 TV Series David Morton
Everwood 2002-2006 TV Series Dr. Andrew ''Andy'' Brown
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous 2005 FBI Asst. Director Walter Collins
The Circle 2002 Mr. Spencer Runcie
Hollywood Ending 2002 Hal
Going to California 2002 TV Series Officer Terry Miller
Guilty Hearts 2002 TV Movie Stephen Carrow
Gale Force 2002 Video Sam Garrett
UC: Undercover 2002 TV Series Teddy Collins
Venomous 2001 Video Dr. David Henning
Critical Mass 2001 Mike Jeffers
The Substitute: Failure Is Not an Option 2001 Video Karl Thomasson
Crash Point Zero 2001 Agent Jason Ross
Skeletons in the Closet 2001 Video Will
Hopewell 2000 TV Movie David Jonas
Journey to the Center of the Earth 1999 TV Mini-Series Theodore Lytton
The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All 1999 TV Movie Karl Thomasson
36 Hours to Die 1999 TV Movie Noah Stone
The Deep End of the Ocean 1999 Pat Cappadora
Every Mother's Worst Fear 1998 TV Movie Mitch Carson (uncredited)
The Substitute 2: School's Out 1998 TV Movie Karl Thomasson
Escape: Human Cargo 1998 TV Movie John McDonald
Deep Rising 1998 John Finnegan
The Devil's Own 1997 Billy Burke
The Phantom 1996 Xander Drax
Mulholland Falls 1996 Colonel Nathan Fitzgerald
The Late Shift 1996 TV Movie Michael Ovitz
The Taming Power of the Small 1995 Short
Johnny's Girl 1995 TV Movie Johnny Ross
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead 1995 Critical Bill
In the Shadow of Evil 1995 TV Movie Jack Brenner
Vault of Horror I 1994 TV Movie
Texan 1994 TV Short Man in Chinos
Hand Gun 1994 George McCallister
Parallel Lives 1994 TV Movie Peter Barnum
Good Advice 1993-1994 TV Series Jack Harold
Ho un segreto con pap 1994 TV Movie
Where the Rivers Flow North 1993 Champ's Manager
Avonlea 1993 TV Series Zak Morgan
Bonds of Love 1993 TV Movie Robby Smith
Deadly Matrimony 1992 TV Movie Alan Masters
Batman: The Animated Series 1992 TV Series Dr. Achilles Milo
The Water Engine 1992 TV Movie Dave Murray
Tales from the Crypt 1992 TV Series Howard Prince
Till Death Us Do Part 1992 TV Movie Alan Palliko
Final Verdict 1991 TV Movie Earl Rogers
Eddie Dodd 1991 TV Series Eddie Dodd
Beyond the Ocean 1990
Drug Wars: The Camarena Story 1990 TV Mini-Series Ray Carson
Max and Helen 1990 TV Movie Max Rosenberg
Heart of Dixie 1989 Hoyt Cunningham
Third Degree Burn 1989 TV Movie Scott Weston
Dead Heat 1988 Roger Mortis
The Third Solution 1988 Mark Hendrix
Night of the Sharks 1988 David Ziegler
Sweet Lies 1987 Peter
Echoes in the Darkness 1987 TV Movie Rick Guida
Faerie Tale Theatre 1987 TV Series Prince Andrew
J. Edgar Hoover 1987 TV Movie J. Edgar Hoover
The Men's Club 1986 Terry
Smooth Talk 1985 Arnold Friend
American Playhouse 1985 TV Series Hudley T. Singleton III
Flashpoint 1984 Ernie Wyatt
A Streetcar Named Desire 1984 TV Movie Stanley Kowalski
Once Upon a Time in America 1984 James Conway O'Donnell
Dempsey 1983 TV Movie Jack Dempsey
Neapolitan Sting 1983 Ferdinando detto Giugiù
The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper 1981 D.B. Cooper
Prince of the City 1981 Detective Daniel Ciello
Why Would I Lie? 1980 Cletus
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back 1980 Echo Base Trooper (uncredited)
1941 1979 Cpl. Chuck 'Stretch' Sitarski
Hair 1979 George Berger
The Eagle Has Landed 1976 Captain Clark
Marathon Man 1976 Central Park Jogger (uncredited)
The Ritz 1976 Michael Brick
Deadly Hero 1975 Billings
Chesapeake Shores 2016 TV Series Mick O'Brien
Confirmation 2016 TV Movie Ted Kennedy
The Congressman 2016 Charlie Winship
All Downhill From Here 2016 TV Series Treat Williams
Blue Bloods 2016 TV Series Lenny Ross
Chicago Fire 2013-2015 TV Series Benny Severide
American Odyssey 2015 TV Series Colonel Stephen Glen
Operation Rogue 2014 Gen. Hank Wallace
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 2014 TV Series Sam Bishop
In the Blood 2014/I Robert Grant
Barefoot 2014/I Mr. Wheeler
Halftime 2013 Short
Age of Dinosaurs 2013 Gabe Jacobs
Hawaii Five-0 2013 TV Series Mick Logan
White Collar 2012-2013 TV Series James Bennett Sam Phelps
Eve of Destruction 2013 TV Mini-Series Max Salinger
Flores Raras 2013 Robert Lowell
Leverage 2012 TV Series Pete Rising
Deadfall 2012 Sheriff Marshall T. Becker
Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader 2012 Mr. Gray
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2011 TV Series Jake Stanton
Against the Wall 2011 TV Series Don Kowalski
Beyond the Blackboard 2011 TV Movie Dr. Warren
Mask Maker 2011 Mr. Tucker
Oba: The Last Samurai 2011 Colonel Wessinger
A Little Bit of Heaven 2011 Jack Corbett
Boston's Finest 2010 TV Movie Jack Holt
Martino's Summer 2010 Capitano Jeff Clark

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Safe Harbor 2009 TV Movie performer: "The Molly Marie"
Banda sonora 2008 TV Series performer - 1 episode
Hair 1979 performer: "Donna", "Manchester, England", "I'm Black", "I Got Life", "Hair", "Going Down", "Good Morning Starshine", "Flesh Failures Let the Sunshine In"

Director

Director

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Texan 1994 TV Short

Producer

Producer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Bonds of Love 1993 TV Movie executive producer

Thanks

Thanks

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Prince of the City: The Real Story 2007 Video documentary short special thanks

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Today 1982-2016 TV Series Himself - Guest
The Simpsons 2012 TV Series Himself
Milos Forman, un outsider 2012 Documentary Himself
Close-Up 2007 TV Series Himself
Prince of the City: The Real Story 2007 Video documentary short Himself / Daniel Ciello
Entertainment Tonight 2006 TV Series Himself
Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show 2005 TV Series Himself - Guest
The View 2005 TV Series Himself - Guest
The 10th Annual Critics' Choice Awards 2005 TV Movie documentary Himself
The 29th Annual People's Choice Awards 2003 TV Special Himself
Clean Flicks 2003 Documentary short Himself
Late Show with David Letterman 1996-2003 TV Series Himself - Guest
9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards 2003 TV Special Himself
Behind the Music 2001 TV Series documentary Himself
Late Night with Conan O'Brien 1999 TV Series Himself - Guest
The Rosie O'Donnell Show 1999 TV Series Himself - Guest
The Directors 1997 TV Series documentary Himself
Cannes Man 1997 Himself
Showbiz Today 1995 TV Series Himself
The 16th Annual CableACE Awards 1994 TV Special Himself - Audience Member
Steven Spielberg: An American Cinematheque Tribute 1989 TV Movie Himself
Happy 100th Birthday, Hollywood 1987 TV Special documentary Himself
Night of 100 Stars II 1985 TV Movie Himself
Great Performances 1983 TV Series Himself
Night of 100 Stars 1982 TV Special Himself
James Cagney: That Yankee Doodle Dandy 1981 TV Movie documentary Narrator
The 28th Annual Tony Awards 1974 TV Special Himself - Performer

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Intimate Portrait 2003 TV Series documentary Himself
The Making of '1941' 1996 Video documentary Himself / Cpl. Chuck 'Stretch' Sitarski

Nominated awards

Nominated awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
2005 Golden Satellite Award Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Series, Drama Everwood (2002)
2005 Teen Choice Award Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Parental Units Everwood (2002)
2004 Actor Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Everwood (2002)
2003 DVD Premiere Award DVD Exclusive Awards Best Actor Gale Force (2002)
2003 Actor Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Everwood (2002)
1997 Golden Satellite Award Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television The Late Shift (1996)
1996 Primetime Emmy Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special The Late Shift (1996)
1994 Gold Hugo Chicago International Film Festival Best Short Film Texan (1994)
1988 ACE CableACE Awards Actor in a Movie or Miniseries J. Edgar Hoover (1987)
1986 Independent Spirit Award Independent Spirit Awards Best Male Lead Smooth Talk (1985)
1985 Golden Globe Golden Globes, USA Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television A Streetcar Named Desire (1984)
1982 Golden Globe Golden Globes, USA Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Prince of the City (1981)
1981 Stinker Award The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Actor Prince of the City (1981)
1980 Golden Globe Golden Globes, USA New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture - Male Hair (1979)


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#Quote
1 (2011, on filming Prince of the City) You know, I was very young, but it's an extraordinary journey into the dark side. I realized seeing it 30 years later, as difficult as it is to see myself learning my craft on film... It really was an American tragedy, watching this guy try and find his way back from being corrupt. But you can't go back. You cannot undo it. And by trying to undo it and control it, he brought down the entire Special Investigations unit, and the New York Police Department changed. It's really an extraordinary job on Sidney [Lumet's] part. It's a great study in the human condition. It's a big film. It's big emotionally. It's operatic. It's a great, great film, I think. I wish I'd had more experience and been a little older when I did it, but it's the best I could do at the time, and I'm very proud of it.
2 (2011, on filming The Phantom) Fun! You can see my teeth marks all over the screen. I chewed it up. But I had a blast. I mean, I don't think the film quite works, but I love Simon Wincer, the director, and Billy Zane was a lot of fun. The thing that was fun about that was that I'm a fan of the '30s screwball comedies and '30s-style acting, which was that balls-to-the-wall, all-American acting. It reminds me of the guy who starred in the original King Kong, where everybody's, like, "Say! We're gonna do this! Hey, let's take this bar and turn it into a theater!" You know? I always thought that Xander Drax was kind of like Clark Gable on acid. So I had a lot of fun with that. Again, I was given a lot of leeway, and I just had a blast, saying stuff like, "The skulls of Touganda!" All that stuff was so much fun. If I'm not having fun, I don't really want to do it.
3 (2011, on filming Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead) Probably one of the most iconic, interesting scripts. Scott [Rosenberg's] script, he created a new language that I just thought was amazing. And Gary Fleder, with whom I've remained very good friends, he's a wonderful director. Great guy. When I came in and said, "I think Critical Bill doesn't have a bathroom in the apartment, but he has to pee, so how about he pees in plastic bottles?" And someone said, "What if we have the plastic bottles lined up?" So everybody had these kind of weird, fun ideas, and then Andy [Garcia] started playing with the idea that the apartment smelled, so he's got the handkerchief through the whole scene. We just had a blast. It was a really fun, creative, open environment, and without Gary and Andy, I don't think Critical Bill would've come to life. But it really was one of my most fun roles. I'm really proud of that character. He was really fun to play. It's very difficult to make it work when someone's that far out on the edge of reality, but I think as a team we kind of pulled it off. And, I mean, look, you've got Andy, Christopher Walken, Jack Warden. Oh, man, Jack Warden. Who gets to work with Jack Warden? That was so cool. To have Jack Warden actually describing your character to the audience? That's one of the greatest honors I've ever had in film.
4 (2011, on filming Hair) Probably the greatest film experience of my life. You know, throw on a pair of jeans and a vest and walk out of my apartment, walk into Central Park, and start shooting. It was so cool. I mean, a lot of prep, a lot of hard work on the singing and the dancing and all, but once we had that down, we started working in the park, and it was just really, really fun. I loved John Savage and Beverly D'Angelo, and Milos Forman is one of the great filmmakers of all time. That was really an honor to be a part of.
5 (2011, on filming Deep Rising) Fun. Just fun. I loved that movie. Just six months of freezing cold water up in Vancouver, Canada. But a great cast, some of whom have become very big movie stars since then, and a wonderful director with a great mind, Stephen Sommers. Just a really terrific, great guy. Probably the most energetic director I've ever come across. I'm proud of that film! I think that film's fun. Unfortunately, it came out right on the heels of Titanic. Once you've seen one boat sink...


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