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Bill Timoney '80 on Acting, Story-telling and His Start in the Theatre-in-the-Round  

Photo of Bill Timoney in a movie scene

Timoney in Broadway's Network.
COPYRIGHT 2019 JEFF WIDENER/ZUMA PRESS 

Bill Timoney '80 came to Seton Hall University determined to pursue his passion for acting. Long before the launch of the College of Communication and the Arts had a theatre major, Timoney earned a communication degree, which at the time encompassed the areas of film, theatre and journalism. Four decades years later, the New Jersey native has starred in numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. The most current addition to his theatre portfolio was his role in the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Network, starring actor Bryan Cranston, well-known for the television series, Breaking Bad

Timoney's TV work includes appearances on Orange is the New Black, Malcolm in the Middle, Person of Interest, and the recurring role of Senator Royce on the hit SyFy Channel Series 12 Monkeys. Daytime TV fans knew Bill for his long-running role of "Alfred Vanderpool," the preppie nerd of All My Children (Timoney played Alfred on a recurring basis from 1982 thru 2007). As a voice actor, Timoney has been directed in films by Sidney Lumet, Frank Oz, Woody Allen, Al Pacino, Mel Gibson, Ron Howard, and many more. Timoney achieved a personal career high-point when he improvised an on-camera scene with Robert De Niro for filmmaker Martin Scorsese's eagerly anticipated feature film The Irishman (opening Fall 2019).

After years in the entertainment industry, Timoney has some insights on acting. "Our profession is mis-named. We should not be called "actors." Instead, we should be called "auditioners." Booking a job is the vacation; the work is the audition process. Understanding that process - learning how not to take rejection personally - is the absolutely single most important skill an actor must cultivate in order to survive and thrive in this business."

Many Seton Hall alumni have shared stories of professors and mentors who helped them follow their dreams. Timoney himself has a shining example crediting the launch of his student-turned-career to his professor, mentor and eventual friend, Professor-Emeritus James P. McGlone – or "Doc," to most who know him. "Doc led me to discover the rich history of the Theatre; his American Stage and Irish Stage courses were particularly thrilling."

Timoney (left) in Broadway’s Network. COPYRIGHT 2019 JEFF WIDENER/ZUMA PRESS

Timoney (left) in Broadway's Network.
COPYRIGHT 2019 JEFF WIDENER/ZUMA PRESS

Guided by McGlone, Timoney continued on to complete his communication degree by taking on courses specific to his career interests, including American Stage, Shakespeare, and a variety of film classes. Taking advantage of Seton Hall's close proximity to New York City, Timoney commuted into Manhattan as often as possible – auditioning, taking on-camera acting classes and eventually landing roles in soap operas, films, and television commercials – all while earning his undergraduate degree. 

His time in the city meant he "got to know casting directors [while] securing talent agency representation," the alumnus commented. Those experiences allowed him to have a wide understanding of the industry once he graduated college, which he used to propel his career forward.

"After I graduated, Dr. McGlone recommended me to The National Players, a touring theatre troupe that performed all over the eastern half of the United States for nine months. I played Claudio in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Through the 100 shows we performed, I learned how to sustain a performance over an extended period of time – a skill I apply in my current role with Network." Network's production run closed in June after more than 200 performances. Timoney credits The National Players as the "launching pad" of his career, which "wouldn't have happened without Dr. McGlone's guidance."

Timoney has often returned to the South Orange campus since his graduation in 1980. At  McGlone's invitation, Timoney staged combat choreography for student productions of Cyrano de Bergerac, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, as well as a summer theater production of I Hate Hamlet. Timoney also performed with McGlone's Celtic Theatre Company (CTC) – an Irish theatre troupe started by McGlone and housed at Seton Hall. It was during one of these CTC productions that Timoney met his future wife, Georgette Reilly '86. 

The respect Timoney has for McGlone is one that is mutual. McGlone and Timoney are kindred spirits, both passionate about storytelling and the theatre. McGlone reminisces, "I have fond memories of Bill Timoney's sparkling performance as the Dauphin in The Lark, a play about Joan of Arc, and his mischievous portrayal of the aging Irish Chancer in John B. Keane's Many Young Men of Twenty. We spent many happy hours together rehearsing in the Theatre-in-the Round." McGlone went on to describe how the professor-student relationship grew over time, noting, "But that is only a small part of a friendship that succeeded his student days at Seton Hall. You see, Bill and I share a mutual passion for the world of the Playhouse, and his love of vigorous conversation has been one of the pleasures of my life." 

Timoney supplements his acting career with employment in other aspects of the entertainment industry. He's worked as a director, producer, writer, screenplay analyst, stand-up comic, career consultant, and speechwriter. Timoney specializes in "dubbing" English language versions of Japanese animation - aka "anime." He's voiced numerous roles on the enduring TV cartoon show Pokemon. As a script-adapter and recording director of anime dubs, Bill has been able to hire dozens of fellow SHU and CTC alumni as voice actors.

Always exploring creative ways to tell a story and connect with audiences, Timoney's passion "comes from the satisfaction I derive from participating in the process of telling a good story… and telling it well," he noted. 

Timoney imparted several words of wisdom for today's CommArts students:

1. Celebrity is an illusion. If you are chasing fame, then don’t become an actor. The only reason to become an actor is if you are fascinated by the craft of it. Become an actor to become an actor, not to become a star.

2. Explore the world beyond the campus until after you graduate. Actively cultivate your own taste and judgement.

3. While on campus, seek to access all opportunities to act. Don't just wait for the next show to post auditions.

4. All the questions you'll be asking about the ABCs - the Art, the Business, and the Craft of Acting - have already been asked by the all the actors who've come before you. Read. Research. 

Categories: Alumni

For more information, please contact:

  • Danielle Clements
  • (973) 275-4831
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