William Sylvester was an American television and film actor. His most famous film credit was Dr. Heywood Floyd in Stanley Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey. Born in Oakland, California and married at one time to the British actress Veronica Hurst, he moved to England after World War II and became a staple of British B films at a time when American and Canadian actors were much in demand in order to give indigenous films some appeal in the United States.
As a result, he gained top billing in one of his very first films, House of Blackmail, directed by the veteran filmmaker Maurice Elvey, for whom he also made What Every Woman Wants the following year. He also starred in such minor films as The Stranger Came Home, Dublin Nightmare, Offbeat, Information Received, Incident at Midnight, Ring of Spies and Blind Corner. There were also lead roles in four British horror films — Gorgo, Devil Doll, Devils of Darkness and The Hand of Night. Among his many television credits were a 1959 BBC version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, The Saint, The Baron, The High Chaparral, Harry O, Danger Man and The Six Million Dollar Man.