William Dwight Schultz was born on November 24, 1947. His stage name is Dwight Schultz. His father was a postman and his mother was a telephone operator. Both his grandfathers were firemen. Dwight is an only child and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. As a child he loved everything that had something to do with audio. Voices have always fascinated him and he imitated many of his television heroes, some with more success than others. Dwight was glued to the television and frequently jokes that he wore a spot in the carpet where he used to sit.
He also loved to go to the movies with his parents. At the age of thirteen he could build speaker sets. He knew so much about audio systems that later in life as a beginning actor he gave advice to other people which audio system they should buy. This enabled him to earn some extra money. Up to this day, Dwight still loves audio and video, he is a real video/audiophile. He loves to listen to symphonies and Jazz, preferably on vinyl through Klipsch loudspeakers because they are the best he says.
Dwight attended Calvert Hall College High School, a Catholic college preparatory school, where he became a member of the drama club. Upon graduation he attended Towson State College in Maryland. There he earned a B.A. in Theater Arts at Towson. In his senior year of college he started teaching the lower classes. You can read a report about one of Dwight’s lessons, written by one of his students, Mick Terry at http://mickterry.com/mtdwightschultzimprov.html. From the age of nineteen, Dwight worked as a professional actor. After graduation he worked in theaters for about 15 years before deciding to try the screen as well. He decided to try to find work in the television and movies industry.
In 1969 Dwight, Lynn Summerell and Jurgen Bohl formed the Baltimore Theater Ensemble. The ensemble worked as artists-in-residence with the theater arts department of Towson State University – performing, assisting in offering workshops, and giving students the opportunity to get experience in theater. For several years they performed a wide range of theater, from puppet shows and street theater to classics and modern works. By the time the company folded they had built a very good reputation, good enough for another group to “borrow” their name years later! Tobias Haller, Bob de Frank, Marjorie Hirsch, Anne McDonough, Kathleen McKiernan, Larry Smith and Gordon Gray were also members of the troupe at various points in its brief but shining history. In the early seventies Dwight was also a member of Baltimore’s Center Stage Company. Over the next five years he perfected his craft in a variety of roles in regional theaters, from New Jersey to Missouri. He even had a fateful stint as a member of the Alley Theatre Company in Houston Texas. He displayed extraordinary devotion to his craft. For a year he spent every night listening to Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ just to learn how to speak.
When he left for New York to find work, getting an acting job wasn’t easy so he worked in pest control and as a waiter. He rented the cheapest rooms since it was hard to make ends meet. Advising people on what audio systems to buy brought in some extra money. Finally, in 1978 he landed the lead in “The Water Engine” for producer Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre. The off-Broadway production was a hit and it was moved to the Plymouth Theatre, marking Dwight’s Broadway debut.
After this success his career began to climb. He won the coveted Drama-Logue Award in 1980 for the revival of “Crucifer of Blood,” a Sherlock Holmes drama, co-starring Glenn Close, in which he portrayed Major Alistair Ross.
Dwight appeared in 40 widely different plays between 1978 and 1989, among them “Peer Gynt,” “Night and Day,” “Camino Real,” “Hay Fever” and “Night of the Iguana.”
In the early eighties he decided to try to get some screen parts. By 1981 he had garnered a number of small parts in television movies and guest spots on Hill Street Blues and CHiPs. That year also marked his feature film debut in “The Fan” in the minor role of the unnamed director. Dwight won his first leading role in the 1982 suspense film “Alone in the Dark” with Jack Palance and Martin Landau. After that he auditioned for the role of Murdock in The A-Team and got the part. However, during the shooting of the pilot of The A-Team they told him his part would be written out and they would fire him after the pilot. He had to pack his things and leave his trailer. The rest of the shooting for the pilot he had to share a trailer with the stuntmen. However, after the pilot ‘his dials were so good’ when a test audience watched it that his role wasn’t cancelled. They allowed him to remain in the series. Instead Tim Dunigan, who played the role of Face in the pilot, was fired and Dirk Benedict was hired instead.
Just before he got the part of Murdock in the A-team, Dwight had met his wife, Wendy Fulton, during a blind date in 1982. A friend invited Dwight for dinner. His friend had a girlfriend. Dwight was still single, so his friend asked his girlfriend to bring a friend of hers along so Dwight had a date for that evening. It was love at first sight, Dwight says, and they soon realized they wanted to stay together. In 1983 Dwight married Wendy in secret. Only a few people knew about it and were present (the actors of The A-team knew about it but didn’t attend the wedding). They got married at Unitarian Church in York, Pennsylvania near Stewartstown which is close to Wendy’s hometown. They are happily married and have one child, a daughter named Ava who was born in 1987. Wendy appeared in a guest role in The A-Team. In season three she played the role of a veterinarian in the episode Bounty who fell in love with Murdock. “Of course the kiss was real,” explains Dwight with a smile, “we didn’t have to pretend.”
After the series The A-Team ended in 1987 getting work was very difficult for Dwight. This was not just because he was identified with the character Murdock, but also since the actors who played in the series were boycotted because the people in movie and television didn’t like the series at all. Nevertheless, Dwight was lucky. After he made the movie Fatman and Little Boy (1989) he got the part in the movie The Long Walk Home (1990) in which Whoopi Goldberg played one of the leading roles. He told her how he had loved Star Trek ever since he was young. He had always watched the original series on television and later the spin off, Star Trek: Next Generation – the series in which Whoopi played the role of Guinan. It was Whoopi Goldberg who than approached the producers of STNG with the story that Dwight loved the series and deserved a part in it. During the movie The Long Walk Home she noticed what a brilliant actor he was. Dwight had no idea that Whoopi had whispered his name into the producers’ ears until the moment the phone rang and they told him they had written a guest role especially for him. He was thrilled with the part of Lt. Reginald Barclay. His role was so successful that he became a returning guest on the series. They even asked Dwight to play the role of Barclay in Star Trek Voyager and in the movie Star Trek First Contact (1996).
From the late nineties until the present Dwight has been busy with voice overwork. He gives cartoon figures and computer heroes or bad guys a voice in computer games. He received a nomination for an Annie Award for his role in Chowder (Cartoon Network) in 2008 and again in 2009. In September 2006 Dwight ventured into talk radio. In his “Howling Mad Radio” show Dwight used his delightfully unique perspective to discuss American and world politics. That show was presented through a live on-line stream. Although it was discontinued in January 2008, two encore shows were produced in May 2008. You can enjoy snippets of Dwight’s shows in the audio section of the fan site. Subsequently, he has worked as a guest host for TRN (Talk Radio Network) where he substituted for Michael Savage, Jerry Doyle and Rusty Humphries. Who knows? Dwight might have his own show in the near future. In 2012 Dwight started to record new Howling Mad World Review podcasts that were available free through his fan site. As soon as there are new Howling Mad World Review podcasts available the Howling Mad Notes Page will return.
If you would like to meet him or ask for an autograph, please visit a convention that he is attending. There you will have the opportunity to talk to him. If you want to ask him a question it is also possible to send him an email. Just click on the ‘email Dwight’ button on the fan site and follow the instructions. That email goes directly to him.