William David Curtis Biography

William was born in Liberty, New York to parents who were professional musicians and earned their living in part playing at summer resorts in the Catskill Mountains of New York. His mother, Sydell, was a pianist and singing teacher and his father, Harold, a tenor saxophonist. Sydell loved theater and steered young Billy Curtis—his stage name—towards a performing career. In 1960, he was cast in the role of a newsboy in the Broadway musical, Gypsy, which starred Ethel Merman [ibdb]. Although the acting chapter of his life ended when he was sixteen, William has remained a member of the Actors’ Equity Association and recently celebrated his sixtieth anniversary.

William earned his B.A. in 1969 from City College of New York where he majored in music. He scripted and hosted classical music programs for the college radio station WCCR. After college, he reviewed recordings for American Record Guide and Fanfare magazines. He compiled and published discographies of the Moravian composer Leoš Janáček [loc] and the American composers Roy Harris and Walter Piston. His Janáček discography was cited in the article on the composer in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

He moved to Boston in the winter of 1979, drawn in part by the lure of its history, character and a love for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Once there, he followed a serendipitous route to a career in information technology. For ten years, he worked for the Gillette Company and was Technical Editor of Gillette’s Information Technology News, an in-house newsletter distributed to over 1,800 employees and clients. In 1994, he joined Lotus Development as a Notes application developer. After Lotus was acquired by IBM in 1995, William continued to work for IBM in various positions for twenty-one years. William met his wife, Laurel, at Lotus; they married in 2002, moved to Newport and later to Bristol, Rhode Island where they now live.

William has returned to youthful writing and songwriting aspirations. He harbors a special love for picture books, especially stories which are clever and funny, and he continues to read, collect and write them. He has been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators since 2016 and is also a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). His unpublished manuscripts (listed on the Books page) include Bear, Bear and Bear: Attorneys at Law, Party Animal, Meet Lincoln and Loo Loo and The Penguin Who Wanted to Fly. William is also working on a musical adaptation of a 1956 television play by George Selden and Kenneth Heuer, The Genie of Sutton Place, which has been in development for many years. He is a current contributor to the English-Portuguese Magazine A Praça (Town Square). His magazine articles are posted on the Articles page. William believes that his best years and accomplishments lie ahead.