William Fontaine DeLaTour "Bill" Dauterive (born Guillaume Fontaine de la Tour d'Haute Rive) is a fictional character in the animated television series King of the Hill. The character is voiced by actor Stephen Root. He is a sergeant in the United States Army, and serves as a barber at Fort Blanda near Arlen. The character is named after King of the Hill writer and producer Jim Dauterive.
Bill was born in 1954 to a wealthy Cajun family, and lived in Louisiana until he was six years old. In Episode 66 “A Beer Can Named Desire”, Bill and his friends visited his family’s estate, “Château d’Haute Rive” (“Manor of the High (river) Bank”). Bill is fluent in Cajun French but was unaware of this until he went home to visit and instinctively began to speak it. Later, he learned from his cousin Gilbert and his Aunt Esmé that the husbands of his cousin Violetta and in-laws Rose and Lily have died (Esmé, Violette, Rose, and Lily later die, as well). Esmé Dauterive also had a husband named Alfonse Dauterive to whom Hank refers as "that guy in the iron lung," and who is later implied to have died as well, with Gilbert stating that he and Bill are the last survivors of their family (Blood and Sauce).
In high school, Bill, nicknamed “The Billdozer”, was Arlen High’s career leader in touchdowns, and held the distinction for over twenty years. He lost the record to running back Ricky Suggs in the fourth season episode “Bills Are Made to Be Broken,” which was inspired by the true story of University of Connecticut basketball star Nykesha Sales. Suggs breaks Bill’s record on a torn anterior cruciate ligament when the other team sympathetically allows Suggs to score the record-breaking touchdown. This causes Bill a great deal of distress since he feels his crowning achievement in life, that record, was lost unfairly. Since he never finished high school (he joined the U.S. Army in the fall of 1974, before that season ended), Bill is allowed back on the team for one game in order to try for the record. In a game-winning drive, he scores one final touchdown to tie the record with Suggs. He was given the opportunity to break the record again, but refused, saying that he only wanted to make things fair again (he had also broken and bruised several parts of his body during the drive for the goal line).
Bill’s life can be described simply: What football and the Army did not take from him was siphoned off by his trampy ex-wife, Lenore, whom he met passed out in his lap at a Molly Hatchet concert. Bill is little more than the shell of the person he was in high school, and his friends are rather protective of him (with the exception of Dale, who very much enjoys making fun of Bill's faults). Bill is overweight, bald, and socially awkward. He has poor hygiene and even worse self-esteem. He has often been seen openly weeping, displaying inappropriate behaviors such as dancing with a mop, burying pornography in the Hills’ backyard, and rooting through trash cans. He has even gone through some suicidal periods, although a Christmas Eve 1998 breakdown over Lenore seemed to mark a rock bottom and he has been somewhat more stable since then. He also got involved with The Harmonoholics, an all-men's singing group that consumed his life and would have destroyed his Army career had it not been for Hank's intervention. In flashbacks and stories, it is implied that Bill was much more popular in his high school days. Lenore mentions that he was king of the homecoming dance on the day they got together; however, this may be suspect since he claims that the two met at Molly Hatchet concert where Lenore was passed out in his lap. Hank even got a long-forgotten tattoo because of how much he admired Bill (that, and he was completely drunk at the time).
Bill’s slovenly and overweight condition was briefly thought to have been caused by his involvement as an Army test subject from 1982-1984. The drugs administered in the test were intended to create an elite group of Arctic commandos with walrus-like capabilities (excess body hair and fat, poor personality, etc.) that would be deployed in the event of war if the Soviet Union were to invade the United States via Alaska. It was later discovered that Bill was injected with placebos. Bill was then doubly horrified because his friends had listed many other negative traits that could be blamed on the drug tests, including his B.O. and his boring personality, but felt redeemed when they thought he'd been killed and they all tearfully said he was a great guy and they'd miss him, and after they found him alive they said happily that everything good they said about him was 100% true.
Much like the narrator in The Raven, Bill pines for his ex-wife, Lenore. For many years, Bill held on to the faint hope that the man-eating, selfish Lenore would come back to him before finally coming to terms with his wife’s departure. As a consequence of his divorce, Bill becomes extremely attached to people or objects for whom he has affection, almost to the point of suffocation. In the episode “Bill of Sales,” Peggy learns that Bill can only respect people who are verbally abusive to him. When Peggy actually started being nice to him (even to the point of giving him a kiss), he lost interest. Also, he has something of a foot fetish, so he is naturally in awe of Peggy's whopping 16 1/2 feet. Bill has such low self-esteem that anyone who's this disgusted by and indifferent to him is someone he wants to be with. Despite having a pathetic reputation, Bill has had several romantic escapades which include:
- Kahn’s mother Laoma Souphanousinphone ("Maid in Arlen"). The producers originally planned to have Bill and her in a long-term relationship, but ditched this plan because it was funnier to have Bill as his normal, single, and sorry self.
- Luanne’s psychotic mother Leanne ("Luanne’s Saga")
- A woman who had been released from prison ("Dang Ol’ Love")
- Former Texas Governor Ann Richards ("Hank and the Great Glass Elevator").
- A drunk woman in a car that crashes into a tree. He asks her if she is all right then she insists he goes with her. They drive away after this; it is unknown what happened after that.
- The widows of two of his deceased cousins, ("A Beer Can Named Desire").
- A police officer whom Bill talked into a date, surprising himself and his friends with his effortless confidence, especially since he was trying to return a stolen Abrams M1A1 tank, while naked except for his underwear, at the time.
- Reverend Karen Stroup. She was willing to become estranged from her congregation to date Bill, but he realized he was not in love with her after she moved in and broke up with her.
- Almost had a relationship with Marilyn, a divorced mother of two. However, she became disgusted by him for refusing to take off his stained and shrunken Santa Claus costume by the middle of January.
- Dated Charlene, a single mother of two, and asked her and her kids to move in with him. This relationship was sabotaged by Dale Gribble and John Redcorn when Dale discovered genetic similarities between Charlene's daughter Kate and his son Joseph, leading him to believe that Kate was his biological daughter (not realizing that Joseph was conceived during his wife Nancy's affair with John Redcorn). Bill took the news of the breakup surprisingly well, having come to the conclusion that parenthood wasn't for him.
- Bill also has a long-standing infatuation with Peggy Hill (though in “Bill of Sales” he was repulsed by a kiss on the cheek from her, probably due to fear that she would subsequently abandon him like all the other women who showed attraction to him); however, his affection is unrequited.
Getting Over Lenore Edit
Bill once became severely depressed around Christmas, as it was the time Lenore left him in 1991. He even got to the point of becoming suicidal. Hank came to his house and outright told him Lenore was never coming back, destroying everything Bill kept for her. This sent him into a nervous breakdown, and he ended up believing that he himself was Lenore. He wore dresses and spoke in a high voice. At the Hills' Christmas party, he showed up wearing high-heels and a fancy new dress. The real Lenore called, but refused to speak to Bill, making him feel even more miserable. Hank had to put his own dress on, and he pretended to be an arrogant Lenore. His uncaring demeanor showed Bill that he is better off without her, as she had no respect for his feelings whatsoever.
In spite of his drawbacks, Bill can be inspirational at times. Boomhauer was once pulled out of a deep post-break-up depression by an encouraging speech from the veteran dumpee. Lenore wormed herself into his life one last time, as she returns to him after discovering he's developed a romantic relationship with the ex-Governor of Texas Ann Richards (who voiced herself). Under the guidance of Richards, Bill finally accepts that Lenore's no good. In parting, he moons her from the back of Richards' car, at a cookout.
Bill is deeply loyal. This is often demonstrated towards his friends, especially Hank Hill, although this trait often has to struggle with his fears, depression and self-destructive behavior. He remains loyal for years to his family, ex-wife and the army, despite their poor treatment of him.
Bill can often be surprisingly articulate and worldly. He is more informed on current popular culture and fashion than Hank and his neighbors in the alley.
Bill has a hair fetish. When he cuts Hank’s hair after his barber goes insane, the only payment he asks is that Hank lets him keep the hair. In the episode "Who's the dummy now?" , Hank mentions that Bill has bags of hair at his house.
When Bill becomes disgusted and frightened after Peggy's kiss and praise, Hank explains that due to his life of nonstop hardship and abuse from everyone around him, Bill is highly confused and uncomfortable with any form of affection.
Bill also owned a mean looking Rottweiler that often attacked him in the episode Dances with Dogs.