Iowa History Daily: On August 30, 1927, William Edward (Bill) Daily was born in Des Moines, Iowa. The star actor and comedian most famous for his role as Major Roger Healey on “I Dream of Jeannie,” also wowed audiences as Howard Borden on “The Bob Newhart Show” and in many other roles.
Only a couple of weeks after Daily’s birth in Iowa’s capital city, his father left the house on an errand to pick up a loaf of bread and never returned. Ellis Daily, Bill’s pageant-winning mother, worked hard to provide for the family. During his early life the family lived on Hartford Avenue, and Daily remembered going to the F&W Grand Dime Store on Walnut.
In 1939, Ellis moved the family to Chicago where Bill attended Lane Technical High School before studying at the Petersen Theater School. Starting out as a jazz musician touring with various groups on the upright bass, Daily found himself drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War. Serving initially as an artilleryman, Daily eventually ended up in an entertainment unit.
Upon his return stateside, Daily started performing as a stand-up comic before breaking into television with NBC WMAQ Chicago. Daily worked on various shows throughout the Midwest before making several guest spots on shows including “My Mother the Car” and “Bewitched.” In 1965 he got the role of Army Major Roger Healey on “I Dream of Jeannie.” Launching Daily into a successful career spanning decades, other roles on “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Match Game,” “Small & Frye”, and “ALF” helped endear Daily to generations of television viewers. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar