Also the birth name of musician Gordon Stretton.
William Howell Masters (December 27, 1915 – February 16, 2001) was an American gynecologist, best known as the senior member of the Masters and Johnson sexuality research team. Along with his wife Virginia E. Johnson, he pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunctions and disorders from 1957 until the 1990s.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio William Masters was son of Francis Wynn Masters and Estabrooks Taylor Masters. He was one of two children with a younger brother named Frank. Growing up, Masters had a particularly rough childhood at the fault of his father. Francis was a difficult man, who liked to be in control, and had a very bad temper. All household decisions had to be cleared through him, and in fits of anger he used to beat Bill with a belt, sometimes until he bled. Nevertheless, Bill was a bright child, and excelled at school. After his Aunt Sally decided to pay his tuition, he attended the preparatory school for boys called Lawrenceville School. Once Bill began his education Master's father considered him an adult, and gave him little to no financial or family support. He rarely visited home. With the completion of his early education he then attended and graduated from Hamilton College. Afterward, he enrolled at the University of Rochester Medical School, from which he received his medical degree. He was a member of Alpha Delta Phi, and became a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1942, he married his first wife, Elizabeth Ellis, who was known as Libby or Betty. The couple had two children.
Relationship with Virginia Johnson
Masters met Virginia E. Johnson in 1957 when he hired her as a research assistant to undertake a comprehensive study of human sexuality. Masters divorced his first wife, Elizabeth Ellis Masters, to marry Johnson in 1971. They divorced two decades later, largely bringing their joint research and business partnership to an end.
William Masters suffered complications from Parkinson's disease and died in Tucson, Arizona on February 16, 2001. Masters's second wife, Virginia Johnson, died in July 2013. Dr. Masters was survived by two children from his marriage to Elizabeth Ellis: Sarah Masters Paul, and William Howell Masters III. He was a church-going Episcopalian and a registered Republican.
In popular culture
The American cable network Showtime debuted Masters of Sex, a dramatic television series based on the 2009 biography of the same name, on September 29, 2013. The series stars Michael Sheen as Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson.
Sheen has stated in an interview that he does not know what the real Bill Masters was like and he was doing his own interpretation in his portrayal of him.