Born in Ottawa, Illinois, Walt Willey attended Southern Illinois University, where he majored in Fine Arts. In 1981, Willey left Illinois for New York to break into acting professionally. After numerous off-Broadway productions, including Dust Off with Dan Lauria, and stints as “James LaRusso” on Another World and “Joe Novak” on ABC’s Ryan’s Hope, Walt joined the cast of ABC’s All My Children in 1987, originating the role of lawyer “Jackson Montgomery,” where for the next two decades he found himself in on-again, off-again relationships with the iconic “Erica Kane,” played by Susan Lucci.
Willey branched out into stand-up comedy in 1989, headlining at famous comedy clubs throughout the country. A friend and fellow comic, The View‘ s Joy Behar, proposed him for membership in the famous Friars Club where Walt joined the likes of Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, and Billy Crystal when he was inducted into this prestigious entertainment fraternity in January, 2001. Willey has been touring the country in his one-man show Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok.