He was an active supporter of the Republican Party and a close friend of Ronald Reagan.
After involuntarily retiring from acting, he took up a successful, prolific, decades-long career as an interior decorator. Some of his clients included Carole Lombard and Mr. and Mrs. Fredric March.
Won the "New Faces of 1922" contest sponsored by the Samuel Goldwyn Co. and was awarded an eventual contract, which shifted to MGM upon the company merger.
Was approached, along with fellow silent screen veterans Buster Keaton and Anna Q. Nilsson, to play one of Gloria Swanson`s bridge partners in Sunset Blvd. (1950). Swanson herself reportedly asked him to do it. Haines declined and fellow screen veteran H.B. Warner took the part.
In 1930, Haines was the top box-office male star and Joan Crawford the top female.
Following the Great Depression and a tight crackdown on morality, MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer insisted Haines leave his lover and publicly marry a woman. Haines refused and was fired. His relationship with longtime lover, Jimmie Shields, lasted fifty years.
Almost 3 months after William`s death, his lifelong partner, Jimmie Shields, broken-hearted, committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills.
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