William Clement Frawley was an American stage entertainer, screen and television actor. Although Frawley acted in over 100 films, he achieved his greatest fame playing landlord Fred Mertz for the situation comedy I Love Lucy.
William was born to Michael A. Frawley and Mary E. Brady in Burlington, Iowa. As a young boy, Bill attended Roman Catholic school and sang with the St. Paul’s Church choir. As he got older, he loved playing bit roles in local theater productions, as well as performing in amateur shows.
However, his mother, a religious woman, discouraged the idea.
William did two years of office work at Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Nebraska. He later relocated to Chicago and found a job as a court reporter. Soon thereafter, against his mother’s wishes, Frawley obtained a singing part in the musical comedy The Flirting Princess. To appease his mother, Bill relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, to work for another railroad company.