He's never really been much of a planner. He's never really set his mind to doing something and then gone about doing it. He's truly a person who relies on his heart to lead him to happiness, and it does. Before their second baby was born in May, Guy said that he and his wife Jan "chickened out" about whether they wanted a boy or a girl. "We just wanted it to be healthy. Before Steve (their first son, born in 1952) came along, I wanted a boy, until it got time for him to be born, and then we figured, just let it be there and let it be healthy. This time it was a girl (Toni), and the only thing that bothers me about that is I'm afraid I'll spoil her. Steve and I get along just fine; we have a great rapport - mostly rap," Guy's dark eyes twinkled.
Guy's career as an actor was something he didn't plan on either. "After high school," Guy says, "my father said I should look for work. 'You just have to do something,' he said. So I would find myself going on interviews, but hoping I wouldn't get the jobs. It would take me three months to catch on to a job and then I'd get canned. My record for keeping a job was one year. I was a salesman, a welder, a cost accountant, an aircraft parts inspector. Then I started modeling."
"I was a salesman in the luggage department at Wanamaker's and Hope Lange's sister, Minelda, she was a photographer. She took pictures of me and told me to take them to a male model agency. I didn't know there was such a business. I didn't know it existed, but I brought the pictures over and was sent out on jobs." "The pay was better than anything I had been earning up till then. From modeling, I just sort of drifted into acting." Guy has a bad memory for dates, and fortunately a sense of humor to offset it. When asked when he was married, he replied, "I have to always stop and think about that. . . About six years ago. Either my anniversary or my son's birthday is the 8th or the 18th. Quit the details," Guy laughed in mock exasperation. "What year is this?. . . Put me down for the 8th. That way, I can't go wrong. I can always tell my wife that the magazine made a mistake." Guy's wife Jan still models occasionally.
(They met when they were both sent on the same modeling assignment - put us down for about seven years ago.) Mr. Williams does not believe in both husband and wife being seriously career-minded. As he says, "Jan wanted to continue modeling, so she models when she wants to. But it's not a back-breaking thing and it's not something she's devoting her life to. It gives her a feeling that she can do what she wants to. She also makes money," his handsome face crinkled. "In Egoville (Guy's word for Hollywood), I don't think it's good to have two careers going. The wife goes on location and they see each other in passing. That's not good for a marriage. And then there's the ego thing. One career goes up, the other goes down and the other goes sideways - it can get pretty messy."
Guy Zorro Williams had no trouble remembering how old he was - thirty, but he was stumped for a moment when asked his birthday. "Let me see," he mused. "I'm under Capricorn." And then his memory came back to him. "It's January 14, 1928," (?) he beamed with a sense of accomplishment. Becoming ABC-TV's swashbuckling Zorro was the biggest break in Guy's career. How has it affected him? "I don't see my family as much as I used to, but I've got a great line for my wife now; it ends all arguments because it makes her laugh. I say to her, "Honey, don't mess around with Zorro." Whatever we're arguing about goes right out the window."
What do Jan and Guy find to argue about? Well, it goes something like this according to Guy: "Honey, where did you hide my military brush set?" I never say to her, 'Where did you put it?' It's always, "Where did you hide it?" I start looking in the oven and in the refrigerator. She says, 'I didn't hide it. You left it on the table and I put it away.' I say, 'I don't mind your hiding it but just tell me.' When she starts to get mad, I pull the Zorro line and she breaks up. Or I might say to her, 'Why is this toast burned?' She'll say, 'Because you haven't bought me a new toaster.' But aside from all that, we also get along."
Asked if he and his wife spent all their time joking, Guy responded, "Jan and I both have a sense of humor. If she were a square, it would be pretty boring. She's a sweet, little darling. Write that down," he said to this reporter. "And I would be lost without her." Guy's face suddenly changed when he said, "When things are grim, we go into Grimsville." The phrase was amusing, but the hard set of Guy's jaw denied the funniness of that he said. Watching him, you knew that Guy and Jan had had a taste of "Grimsville" and it wasn't as funny as it sounded. But he didn't seem to want to talk about the hard times, the years of struggling for recognition, so we talked more about Zorro. "It's a two-edged sword," said Guy. "It's a mark of recognition, but on the other hand, the area of my private living is becoming smaller and smaller. I personally prefer privacy. Now when I walk down the street, I'm aware of myself more than I ever was and I'm not sure I like this."
As for how Zorro has affected his ego, Guy laughed. "My ego shrank when I got married. My wife is a head shrinker." He added more seriously, "You think about somebody else all the time and it does something to you. Before it was me, me, me, all the time. Now it's us, us, us. The only thing that Zorro has really changed is my income. I'm just not used to always working all the time," Guy said with admirable humility. "But friends and talks with friends work for you whether you're rich or poor. Zorro adds to my income, but it doesn't change my basic human values."
Guy and his life seemed to be as carefree and romantic as the adventures he portrays on TV each week as a Spanish Robin Hood. He himself seemed to be more of a legend than an everyday, dollars-and-cents person. Guy summed it up by saying, "Here's the hook. When I was a kid, I used to load up on the National Geographic. I used to dream about owning a 30' sloop and traveling in it. I read about a guy who went to Tahiti all by himself. That was my dream. Generally, the older generation laughs you out of those things.
But now I'm an adult and it's legitimate. At this point, you don't laugh about it, you do it. I'm in the process of buying a boat right now. Had I known in the fifth grade that this would happen, I would have skipped school right then. I'm going to travel to Acapulco and Honolulu. Pushing a sloop across 8,000 miles of water is one of the most creative things I can think of at this moment." So Guy keeps on following his heart. This time it will lead Jan and him across the wide seas. And then where? Guy doesn't know. Only his heart holds the answers.
Movie Stars Magazine. 1958.