William “Bill” 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. Mary’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 1960’s, he did six years of summer stock at the historic Old Brewery Theater in Helena, Montana. In the early 70’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 Bill’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.

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  1. My deepest condolences to you and your family. Since his move to Los Angeles in the mid-80’s, I’ve been with Bill on many holidays and “family events”. Never sure which “character” was going to show up! 🙂 I’m very sorry for your loss.

  2. My fondest memories of Bill was when the Gratton family came to our home in Portland, OR during the summer holidays (Memorial Day, Fourth Of July). While he could be very outspoken, that was his charm. He was a consummate actor who put his soul into each and every one of his performances. Bill now joins my departed parents, Adrien and Astrida Bezdechi, partners to Bill as friend, confidante, and performer, in front of God in their journey into eternity.

  3. I still remember our phone conversations, trying to figure out how to survive every day life. You always were kind to me, and in your own way let me know that I’d be okay. I know you’re with Laura…and my heart rests easier knowing that. I’ll miss you, you’ve always had a place in my heart just for you.

  4. Dear Gerry, Hardy III was here last week and told us of your loss. We are sorry about your dad’s death. I watched the video and found it artful and interesting. Congratulations if you are the one who put it together. I’m sure this is a difficult time for you. I hope the service was all that you wished. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Affectionately, Mary Ann Myers

  5. This has been such a sorrowful few months for the Gratton family. Just know friends are thinking of you and are praying that your strength will carry you through these trying times. May God bless all of you. Diane Ceravolo

  6. Dear Gratton Family, I met Bill when we were both cast in a Weinhart Beer commercial. When I needed a job Bill put me to work in his antique store at Holly Farm Mall and later as manager of Sandcrest Antiques in Portland. I enjoyed Bill’s special sense of humor and generosity of friendship. I continued working at Sandycrest after Bill went to Los Angeles and was involved in closing the store. We visited frequently by phone and Bill stayed with us when he came to Portland to see his family here. I felt sorry that Bill endured so many illnesses and wished that he could find inner peace. I’m sure he has found it now. Carl joins me in sending much affection to all of the family. Peggy Hammond

  7. Rest in Peace, Bill. I have admired you always for your thoughtful and loving advice when I dated your daughter as a young man, and as I grew older, that you had pursued your dream to become an actor. I always tell your story with enthusiasm when your face pops up on TV and in the movies. You are greatly missed. Love, David Simone

  8. For some reason, Bill was on my mind today. I had the chance to visit him when I was last in Los Angeles a few years ago. I remember him as incredibly vital and talented – always eager to create work. I read and performed with him on a number of occasions. I’m sorry for your loss. I’ll always remember him fondly.

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