The Daily Oklahoman from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on July 9, 1978 · 75
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The Daily Oklahoman from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma · 75

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 9, 1978
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'i T j., ' 5 it's hard to be dynamic at 6 a.m. when Danny goes on me air each morning for MY but to listeners he's lull of vm at the big radio station console. Staff photo by Jim Argo By Lyn Osburn DANNV WILLIAMS, the state's most widely known disc jockey and veteran Oklahoma TV personality, is idolized and haled. Loved and despised. Admired and deplored. Hut whatever the reaction, he has always been talked about. And he loves it! "I'm an actor. I'll be whatever the public likes." At 51, he says his whole life has been show business. But how much of Danny is real and how much is show? His crazy, reckless, carefree public image, he claims, has been carefully cultivated. Like many actors, after a while, that's what you become, he says. "If people like my image, I like it. If they don't like it, I'll change." Life hasn't always been smooth. He once contemplated suicide; his big chance for a national show fell through; his recent divorce after 31 years of marriage caused lots of gossip; trying to make money has been a strain. But his basically optimistic outlook, driving work habits and infectious enthusiasm have kept him at the top as the dean of Oklahoma entertainers. Son of a "share-cropper," Dan llamll was horn in Fort Worth, the youngest of three Williams children. Although Danny says every day is his birthday, his real birthday was on April 21, 1927. He says his father, Julius Barry Williams, worked (or of the food and of the cotton he produced on the farm. Everyone worked hard. That's why long, hard hours come easy for him. "I learned that on the farm growing up. I've always had to work 18 hours a day or I don't feel good." Danny went through the Fort Worth public schools and then spent two years in the Navy during World War II serving in the Pacific. "1 got Into show business through a carnival, which 1 believe is the basis of all show business." After the service, his future uncertain, a relative suggested he should be a disc jockey. He went to the University of Texas on the G.I. Bill and majored in drama and fine arts. Danny has a cup of coffee and checks the morning paper between his disc jockey stint which Staff photo by J. Don Cook ends at 9 a.m. and his mid-day KTVY show, " Danny sday," He was still in college when he started telling "kiddie stories" on the radio. His first job after graduating in 1949 was at KTSA radio in San Antonio. 1 read the funny papers on Sunday morning and had a show every afternoon at 5:15. I told stories like Cinderella. From lime to time, I would interview celebrities. "1 hope vou understand that I don't want to sound : like I think I'm somebody, 'cause the good Lord made me, 1 understand that. 1 don't take any credit for that. But 1 was a star in San Antonio before I came here." While he was In San Antonio he was offered a job In Oklahoma City. -Thev hired me to come up here and do a kid show. I did alfsorts of things - The Norge Television Block Party which was a game show on WKY-TV, fights, wrestling matches . . . "1 became well known because they were fronting me. I was only 23 years old at the time. I was thrust into a situation I was not prepared to handle. "1 was asked to make a commencement address at a high school. well, I wasn't qualified to do that. But I've always been able to talk 1 have a gift." "I wanted to get into show business because I had a real big ego. Apparently I had a knack to catch people's attention. Somebody told me that." Early television was a phenomenon that completely mesmerized people sitting in their living rooms, he said. "I will never forget when I first started in television,' I was at a party and a little kid came up and just looked at me. Finally he said 'How did you get out of that box?' " Rut Danny found being thrust into the public eye is I he. It had its draw- backs. "Whfn T u'iitld on nwt and tn lit tn neonle. I found out that these people did not know me at all. No one knew E , m. They didn t understand a thing l was uoing. "I was in despair, man, complete despair. "I had everything I ever wanted and it wasn't the way I thought it would be. "1 really contemplated ending the whole deal. Ending me. "I've heard a lot of neonle make judgments about (Continued) I A July 9, 1978 The Oklahomans THE SUNDAY OKLAHOMA?)

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