William Hanley is an American playwright, novelist, and scriptwriter. His parents were William and Anne Hanley. William Hanley, Sr was born in Liverpool, England in 1899, of Irish Catholic immigrants. He was a seaman prior to settling in the USA, and then worked as a housepainter. Shortly after Hanley's birth the family moved to Queens, New York. Hanley attended Cornell for a year, then served in the Army in the early 1950s, before enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, though he never pursued an acting career. He worked as a bank clerk, mail clerk, factory worker, and book salesman while writing his early scripts. William Hanley married Shelley Post, 1956, and married Pat Stanley, 1962.
Hanley was a successful Broadway and off Broadway playwright in the 1960s. Howard Taubman wrote in The New York Times in 1962, that Mr. Hanley "an uncommonly gifted writer." But the accolades, and a Tony nomination, did not provide commercial success. "Slow Dance" ran for 88 performances, the off Broadway plays had closed within a month. However, Hanley subsequently he had a successful career in television, beginning with "Flesh and Blood," originally a stage play that Hanley sold in 1966, to NBC for $112,500, "at the time the most that television had paid an author for a single work". Over a perid of thirty years Hanley wrote more than two dozen TV scripts. He was nominated for Emmys five times and won twice. He also published three novels in the 1970s. William Hanley died May 25, 2012 after suffering a fall in his home in Ridgefield, CT. He was 80.