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Aside from such brief, valet-type gigs, Berle has never offered to open doors for his son in the entertainment business. He has offered lots of advice. "He's taught me a lot of things about being in front of a crowd," says Bob, adding that he's never asked his dad to pull strings for him in Hollywood or anywhere else.
Until July, when the Star pulled the string on the family secret, Bob had never entertained the notion of capitalizing on his genetic good fortune. Bob doubts that much will change between him and Berle, who recently married for the fourth time and who continues, at age 85, to build a career. Berle is currently hawking tapes of his early broadcasting performances via home-shopping outlets, and he has signed to guest on TV's Matlock this fall.
"We do grow gradually closer and closer," says Bob. "Instead of talking to each other every couple of weeks, we're now talking weekly. He keeps me in touch with what he's doing and is very interested in what I'm doing. We share a love of sports, the entertainment business and a good cigar. But I don't see any of the notoriety changing our relationship at all."
But will it change the life of Bob Williams, who has struggled to make a name for himself as "actor, emcee, broadcaster"? Could Bob somehow parlay his Berle connection into career advancement? "My dream, personally, is to make it to the Show [baseball slang for "major leagues"], either as a sports commentator, game-show host or actor. I think my time will come, and I'm gonna make it happen, whether I'm known as Milton Berle's kid or Bob Williams."
Bob also hopes to help preserve his father's contributions to popular culture for future generations, and has discussed such possibilities with his dad. "I'd like to help his legacy continue, whether it means setting up a museum of comedy or whatever," says Bob. "There are lots of things he might want to do." One such possibility even dovetails with Bob's current job. "My father," says Bob, "has always wanted a cigar named after him.