July 7, 1939 ~ June 23, 2011
William â€œBillâ€ Gratton was born in Portland, Oregon, July 7, 1939, the fourth child of Eugene and Louise Gratton. Bill grew up in Portland and graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1957. He went on to the University of Portland and married Margaret Johnson in 1960. They remained married until 1998. At the University he earned a bachelors degree in Speech and Drama in 1961 and a Master of Fine Arts with a specialty in theater in 1963. From 1963-1966 Bill served as a professor of speech and drama at St. Maryâ€™s College in South Bend, Indiana, returning to the University of Portland in 1966 as an associate director of the University Theater. Also in the 1960â€™s, he did six years of summer stock at the historic Old Brewery Theater in Helena, Montana. In the early 70â€™s he established Sandycrest Antiques in northeast Portland, featuring English imported antiques. Having his own business allowed Bill the flexibility of doing Portland theater and local media
work. Wanting even more opportunities, he moved to Los Angeles in 1984, where he worked regularly in film, television, and commercials. He was a member of AFTRA and SAG.
Acting and directing were the great passions of Billâ€™s life. He began early, performing as a youngster at the Portland Civic Theater. His reputation for creativity and discipline in his art grew solid over the years at the University and in the Portland theater scene. Working in Los Angeles was the fulfillment of a life-long dream.
After suffering ill-health for the last several years, Bill passed away on June 23rd, 2011 at the age of 71. His daughter Laura preceded him in death on May 9, 2011. Bill is survived by his sons Gene Paul and Gerald Francis Gratton and sisters Beverly Atallah and Mary Davids. He leaves four grandchildren: Elizabeth and Madison Abshire (father Tom Abshire), Aidan Nicolas Gratton (mother Maria Cabanilla Gratton), and Catherine Anne Fitzsimmons (mother Carla Fitzsimmons Allen). He also leaves 14 nieces and nephews.
Bill will be remembered especially for his sense of humor, both whimsical and pointed, his love of military history, and his life-long dedication to the art and craft of acting.
Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle