William Wintersole, a veteran of daytime soap opera The Young and The Restless, has died at the age of 88 from complications with cancer. His daughter, Tiffany Harmon, shared the news on Facebook. She writes:
Early Tuesday morning my father Bill Wintersole passed. My bond with him was strong. His heart pure. He spoke to me with his facial expressions, as his gift was communication with ANY BODY..ANYWHERE..ANYTIME. A Legend. An entertainer and my beautiful daddy. #collectiveconsciousness as he rises above to protect me and those many fans who loved him.
Here’s what you need to know about this veteran screen actor.
1. Wintersole Had Been Sick For Several Years
In a separate Facebook post, Harmon details the two years they spent with “trips to the hospital, nursing home, and back all over again.”
“I did my best…and I really was present and accounted for — for these past years,” writes Harmon, adding that she could really devote herself to her father’s care after all the years she cared for her mother before her mother passed away.
She also says she’s happy to have the Internet there to “search and share and love him even more for being such a great talented actor.”
2. He Nearly Missed His Big Break on General Hospital
In a 2003 interview, Wintersole told Soap Opera Digest that he missed his first two calls from General Hospital because he was at the beach — “This was before cell phones,” he said. But it turned out for the best because when they finally did get a hold of him, Wintersole auditioned for a different role than they originally called him about. The role he landed was the roguish spay Ted Ballantine, who ended up being on the show on and off for six years. The role he was originally called for was a congressman and it was done after three days.
Ballantine was eventually killed by a car bomb set off by rogue agent Elena Cosgrove (Rebecca Holden). But that was after Wintersole left the soap; in fact, he found out about it because his mother called him to tell him.
“My mother called me up one day and said, ‘Did you see the show today? All my friends saw it. They said that Mr. Ballantine got blown up!’ To this day, nobody from GH has ever called to tell me I was killed off!” Wintersole told Soap Opera Digest.
WIntersole went on to play attorney Mitchell Sherman on The Young and the Restless for 25 years. During that time, Sherman was a stalwart for Newman Enterprises and for Katherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper).
Some of his biggest storylines included getting Jill Abbott’s (Jess Walton) marriage to Phillip Chancellor II (John Considine) declared illegal because he proved Katherine was intoxicated when she signed the papers to divorce Phillip. He also helped Victor Newman (Eric Braeden) stop Derek Thurston (Joe Ladue) from taking over Chancellor Industries. And in recent years, he helped Brock Reynolds (Beau Kazer) uncover the plot to switch Marge Cotroke (also Jeanne Cooper) and Katherine’s identities.
In September 2019, Amanda Sinclair (Mishael Morgan) revealed to Devon Hamilton (Bryton James) that Mitchell passed away.
3. He Did So Much More than Soap Operas
Wintersole was born in 1931 in Portsmouth, Ohio, but came to California to attend UCLA for college. He is best known for his stints on General Hospital and The Young and the Restless, with his last appearances on Y&R coming as recently as 2011. He told Soap Opera Digest that during his time on GH, he and co-stars John Beradino, Peter Hansen and Frank Maxwell spent their downtime playing tennis and gin rummy, with “Peter raking in the pot quite often!”
But Wintersole did a lot of acting outside of his daytime TV work. He appeared on dozens of other TV shows, including Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, I Dream of Jeannie, Little House on the Prairie, The Fugitive, Police Story, The Waltons, Emergency!, Kojak, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, General Hospital, and Simon & Simon. Wintersole’s movie credits include TV movies And the Band Played On, The Day the Bubble Burst and Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love and feature films Seconds with Rock Hudson, Moonfire, Leadbelly, and Valley of the Dolls alongside Patty Duke and Sharon Tate.
The prolific actor also appeared in some notable stage works, including Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck, and Eric Bentley’s Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?
4. Wintersole Served During the Korean War
During the Korean War, there were so many American troops serving there that dozens of radio stations were used to boost morale, including mobile units that followed combat units around and provided news and entertainment for the troops via the radio.
In the 1950s, Wintersole worked for the American Forces Radio and Television service during the Korean War, assigned to the AFKN HQ at station KILROY in Taegu, Korea. The Wrap reports that he served in the United States Army from 1954-56 and was the director of 10 radio stations during his time in Korea, entertaining troops by playing music and playing requests from family members of service members.
5. He Was a Devoted Father and Grandfather
Harmon writes on Facebook, “I am one lucky lady to have such an amazing father.. and for my connection to have been so STELLAR… he was my guide.. and will always guide me.”
She tells The Wrap she is tentatively planning a memorial service for her father in mid-December.
Wintersole is survived by his partner Marlene Silverstein; daughters Katherine Ramsey and the aforementioned Harmon, who is the owner/instructor at Seahorse Swim School in Santa Cruz; three granddaughters (Kristy, Amy, and Jill); and one great-granddaughter, Abby.