While working as an extra in Grumpier Old Men, Bill Seefeldt took a moment to have his picture taken with Jack Lemmon’s car that was used in the film. Photo contributed
In August 1995, William “Bill” Seefeldt, 76, of Darwin, Minn., was dared to audition as an extra for the movie Grumpier Old Men. Seefeldt was working at HTI in Hutchinson when an employee told he should apply as an extra in the movie Grumpier Old Men because he had a unique face and voice.
“I thought (the employee) was crazy, but I still took on the challenge. I must look like a grumpy old man,” Bill joked.
He decided to give it a shot. He had some professional photos taken that cost him $500 and sent them in with his resume to Warner Bros. He felt the photos were key to him getting the job. Three days later he received a call to report for an audition to the movie.
“They told me to show up at 6 a.m. in Stillwater and that I was to be prepared to be in a sunset scene with Sophia Loren. I couldn’t believe it. One day, I’m a janitor and the next I’m in a movie with Sophia Loren,” he said. “I thought I died and gone to heaven.”
His first shot was supposed to be a scene with Sophia Loren, but she never showed up. Bill was called back the following week to do a fishing scene with Jack Lemmon and Burgess Meredith but never got the chance because Meredith had difficulty following cue cards. It took seven hours to do that scene.
He was called back again in October to do an OctoberFest scene. He spent two and half days filming that scene, although the clip only lasted 30 seconds. If you watch real close, you can see him in the dance scene.
The movie Grumpier Old Men is a sequel to Grumpy Old Men and is an American romantic comedy-drama film starring Jack Lemmon, Walter Mathau, Ann Margaret and Sophia Loren.
“Walter Mathau was a super guy,” he said. “He wouldn’t sign autographs, but he’d shake hands. Jack Lemmon was more standoffish. Lemmon would bring his poodle to the set every day. The dog would wander from one person to another. Everyone got sick of taking care of it until it came and sat by me one day, and I petted it. It was kind of nice because Jack would come and pet it between scenes.”
Bill posed for this Cub Foods billboard. He is carrying a wooden pail of strawberries to promote fresh produce. Photo contributed.
Seefeldt continued his acting career by appearing in the films Overnight Delivery, Naked Man, A Simple Plan, Herman U.S.A., Drop Dead Gorgeous, Further Analysis of the Smoke Picture, Sugar & Spice, Bill’s Gun Shop, and The Ballad of the Little Roger Mead. He also did a commercial for 3M Full Line Tape and was on a billboard for Cub Foods.
He never had any formal training as an actor. But he appeared in high school plays and several Army training films when he was in the army from 1958 to 1960.
His wife, Janet, started her acting career in the late 1990s. She would often go along on auditions with Bill. She appeared in the films, Grumpier Old Men, The Ballad of the Little Roger Mead and Sugar & Spice. She also was featured in a commercial for Treasure Island Hotel and Casino. In her youth, she competed and won many singing contests. She also frequently sang for church functions. Jan also did some modeling for high school-style shows. The Seefeldts made a demonstration compact disc that will be played in more than 1,000 Miracle Ear stores across the United States.
Background on the Seefeldts
Bill graduated from Dassel High School and met Janet at the Lake Marion Ballroom near Brownton. According to Janet it was love at first sight. Janet was born in Willmar and then the family moved to Hutchinson where she graduated from high school. They dated for almost a year before they were married. They recently celebrated their 54th anniversary.
Bill is still accepting challenges in life and has dreams of doing more movies.