Sergeant William Fontaine de la Tour Dauterive (born 1963/1964), who is better known as Bill Dauterive, is Hank Hill's overweight, lonely, simple minded, and perpetually pathetic friend and neighbor. He is voiced by actor Stephen Root.
Bill is shorter than his friends, standing at 5'8. He is overweight with peach skin and a paler tanline that is hidden by his white tank top, a circular chin, and light red-brown hair that is balding on the top, while the rest of his body is ironically hairy. He has unmaintained eyebrows. Unlike most of the other characters, his eyes are smaller and more circular.
Bill typically wears a white tank top, blue jeans and brown work boots. When working at Fort Blanda, he wears his U.S. Army uniform.
When Bill was younger, he was a muscular, confident, lady-killing athlete with long flowing, frizzy hair.
Bill is considered the personification of pathetic. He is described as being nice but often depressed and lonely; his overwhelming need to make people like him makes him easily taken advantage of, particularly by Dale.
He is the first person to be mentioned when any character refers to losers or bemoans a misfortune for fear their lives will be ruined, like his. For example, Hank once, while telling Peggy that a lawn makes a man a man and gives him a purpose, says "Without my lawn, I am Bill." Despite them believing he is pathetic and disgusting, Hank, with Dale and Boomhauer presumably agreeing, views him as brave, honest, sweet, "like a big 'ol stuffed teddy bear".
The two were married at one point, but reached a breaking point as their marriage was rapidly falling apart. According to Hank, the two would frequently argue loud enough for the neighbors to hear. Lenore quickly stopped loving Bill, as she would often cheat on him, and thus the two divorced. The divorce described to be "the worst divorce this county has ever seen", heavily implying the divorce was indeed messy and chaotic.
During the early seasons, he often pined for Lenore to return after she ran out on him, but he was somewhat successful in getting over her in the episode "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" after Hank resorts to pretending to be Lenore. Bill then finally symbolically confronts Lenore for leaving him, and after being told "I don't love you anymore" he becomes enraged and yells "You don't deserve William Fontaine De la Tour Dauterive!".
In post-divorce, it is shown very frequently that Bill still loved her and had a very hard time recovering from the divorce, to where he began balding, gaining weight, and having depressive episodes. He often talks about her and the divorce, sometimes breaking into tears afterwards. It can generally be assumed that her leaving him was the major cause of his downward spiral. At one point, Bill says "I'm so depressed, I can't even blink."
During "Hank and the Great Glass Elevator", her physical debut and only physical appearance in the show, Lenore tried attempting to worm her way back into Bill's life when he became high profile while dating former Texas governor Ann Richards. Lenore tries ordering Bill around in front of Ann Richards but he finally tells her off by mooning her.
At first, Bill and Leanne got along just fine, as the latter had actually started flirting with him first, seemingly unfazed by his appearance. They would go shopping together, and she would massage Bill’s feet. Bill quickly fell in love with her, proposing to her within days of meeting her.
However, it sharply declined into a very unhealthy relationship, as Leanne began drinking again to keep her mind off of Bill’s fungus-infested toes to massage them, as he could not afford to refill his prescriptions due to Leanne’s shopping habits. Leanne reverted to her drunken violent ways, often punching and throwing objects at Bill to the point of him having multiple bruises, even a black eye. She would often insult him, specifically about his weight and fungus-infested feet.
After being fended off by Peggy, Leanne stumbles into his truck, driving off in it and stealing it. Bill decides not to call the police, but said he would if she were to come back. The two haven't interacted ever since.
Bill has always had strong, obsessive feelings for Peggy, though these feelings are absolutely unrequited. He frequently makes bumbling remarks about her that are inappropriate to say in front of Hank. It's a possibility that Bill is so enamored of Peggy because he himself is so weak-willed and she is so head-strong. Peggy, on account of her gigantic ego and limitless self-perception, rarely shows sympathy for Bill and is actively repulsed by him, insulting him at any opportunity without regard for his feelings. She is incredibly bold and outspoken about her disgust of him, to his face and to others. She does occasionally show kindness towards him, but sometimes it's when she can seemingly get something from him. Although she hurts Bill often and in many different ways, it's not all intentional. Sometimes it's just because Bill has the worst luck in the world. In the episode "Take Me out of the Ball Game," during a baseball game where Peggy and Bill were on opposite sides, she accidentally beaned him with a hardball, knocking him to the ground. Another pitch of hers accidentally struck right at his crotch, putting him in excruciating pain and humiliation. Another time, she hit him on the bleachers, accidentally knocking him to the ground which led to his arm in a sling. She once stole his prized American flag and unintentionally destroyed it, driving him to tears. But despite all of this, she says she considers him "a friend" and will show sympathy.
In the episode "Bill of Sales" it is also suggested that Bill has emotionally masochistic tendencies after Peggy's attempt to, in her words, "motivate him (business term) with a little praise (my term)" backfires. Hank's response ("You must have confused him; being dumped on is all Bill knows") leads Peggy to conclude that "Bill has had a hard life and he likes it that way" and subsequently refers to him as a "nut job". She manages to persuade him to go back to work for her by verbally abusing him. However, she soon fires him out of feelings of guilt for taking advantage of his low self-esteem. It's also during this episode that Bill shows exceptional skills as a salesman, helping Peggy achieve her sales quotas quickly, in one instant selling 10,000 bars to be stocked in the minibars at the hotel they were staying at.
Often, Bill's crush on Peggy becomes creepy and borderline stalker-like. In "Cotton's Plot," Bill is seen by Dale playing Boggle with Peggy's old body cast with a duct-taped picture for a head, stating that "she always wins."
Bill, like Dale and Boomhauer, has a strong admiration for Hank and often seeks his advice before doing anything, and for his help when in trouble. Despite being uncomfortable by his emotional outbursts, Hank is shown to genuinely care about Bill and is seen trying to help him when he's in trouble. When he thought Bill was dead, Hank tearfully described him as "Brave, honest, sweet... like a big 'ol stuffed teddy bear".
Bill occasionally gets dragged into Dale's crazy schemes, and often is the one who accidentally ruins them. Dale is seen insulting him the most, often telling him to shut up. Despite Dale often taking advantage of him, the two are good friends.
Of all his acquaintances, Boomhauer seems to be the one who gives him the most respect, possibly due to the fact that Bill once helped a broken-hearted Boomhauer get over a girl who dumped him. Due to his ability to keep going after virtually any rejection, Bill is the one able to snap Boomhauer out of his depression when he rejected by a woman he truly had feelings for.
Meeting in “Maid in Arlen”, Bill and Laoma genuinely loved each other and got along well, falling in love quickly, much to Kahn’s horror. The two shortly date, but their relationship ends when Kahn interferes and convinces Bill that Laoma loved the astronaut Harrison Schmitt. However, they reconcile in the same episode. It it presumed the two are still friends.
Having flirted for quite a few seasons, Bill and Karen dated for some time in a later season, with Karen even temporarily moving in with him. Bill ironically breaks up with her as he felt like they were moving too fast. The two hasn’t interacted ever since.
In the episode "Untitled Blake McCormick Project", Bill dates a woman named Charlene, a former Arlen native and single mother of two children whom he met online. She and her children moved in with him briefly. The relationship ended after Charlene resumed her affair with John Redcorn after Dale sent the former to pursue her at the fear of Bill raising Kate, whom he assumes is his daughter conceived as a result of aliens.
He is shown to be a huge fan of Chuck, and is mortified when he believes him to be hurt, though he forgets about Hank in the process.
Bill is originally from an upper-class Cajun family in Louisiana, who lived (until Gilbert was forced to sell it) on a vast estate called the Chateau D'Haute Rive ("house on the high river"). Because of this, he speaks fluent Cajun French (and Tagalog among others) and plays the accordion skillfully, which surprises him just as much as it does everyone else. His father was at least somewhat abusive, spanking him regularly and making him wear dresses. His only living male relative is his dandified cousin Gilbert, who still lives in Louisiana; the two are guardians of the family's secret barbecue sauce recipe, which Gilbert refuses to allow Bill to sell. However, Bill eventually told Bobby Hill the recipe, keeping the Dauterive tradition alive.
Nicknamed the "Billdozer", he held Arlen High's career touchdown record until a young athlete named Ricky Suggs broke it years later. He was number 72, playing as an offensive lineman. Ricky however is simply allowed to score the record-breaking touchdown by the other team due to a torn ACL, rather than playing injured as Bill would have; to regain his honor, Bill rejoins the team to score one last touchdown and re-tie the record; he had redshirt eligibility due to dropping out of high school his senior year to join the Army because he was failing trigonometry. Despite having been enlisted in the Army for over 20 years, Bill has never been deployed. Some time after voluntarily enlisting, the war had ended; he then began barber school at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He has since been a barber at Fort Blanda in Arlen, Texas. Bill's bright future was derailed when he attended a Molly Hatchet concert and found his future wife Lenore passed out in his lap; after their marriage, she cheated on and humiliated Bill before finally divorcing him and leaving him a broken shell of his former self.
Bill is often a foil for his friends, who verbally and emotionally put him down on a regular basis, either because they don't realize how hurtful their remarks are or because Bill is too much of a doormat to mind very much. Hank normally takes his comments in stride ("Shut up, Bill") but has been known to threaten to kick his ass over it.
Although his friends are often disgusted or frustrated at his stupidity and the number of times he has wrecked their plans, they were devastated when it appeared that he had sacrificed himself to save them when they were stuck on a military target zone, with Hank saying that he was a good friend - sweet, loyal, and brave.
When examining Bill's Army medical history, Dale discovered that Bill was unknowingly made part in an experiment called "Operation: Infinite Walrus", to create a hybrid soldier capable of operating in freezing cold waters. It is assumed that the experimental drugs are the cause of his weight gain, excessive body hair, baldness, and terrible body odor and breath, until it is revealed that he was given a placebo instead. Bill is also shown to have a severe but easily treatable foot fungus, which actually comes in handy once to help Hank get revenge on a fraudulent mold inspector. Bill is also diagnosed with diabetes in one episode, as a result of two extreme spikes in blood sugar in one week. The diagnosis is then later contradicted by the diagnosing doctor, who says that he only said Bill was at risk for diabetes. Originally the doctor made it seem like Bill already had the condition and he would ultimately lose his legs leaving him confined to a wheelchair. Later on Bill beats the doctor up for this with Hank standing guard. Ironically, this "diagnosis" leads Bill to a depressed slump, where he meets Thunder, a wheelchair-bound muscle man who plays a wheelchair-friendly version of rugby. This leads Bill to get back into good shape while playing the sport, thus bringing down his blood sugar level.
Bill's personal hygiene is shown to be very poor. As previously mentioned he has severe foot fungus and terrible breath and body odor. Bobby states that he has dandruff in spite of being bald. He is regularly shown eating food he finds in or under his couch. His shirts are frequently stained and wrinkled. He dumps garbage directly out his kitchen window where there once was a garbage can that has been engulfed in the filth. His bathroom is described as disgusting; when asked if they would rather endure a dangerous and painful stunt (ex. stick a wasp up your nose) or shower in Bill's bathroom, his friends always choose the former. When assigned tasks to get his house ready for a family reunion after Nancy and Peggy are assigned the bathroom both are horrified and desperately try to change assignments. Bill is the very first character to ever speak in the first King of the Hill episode Pilot. Despite Bill not being muscular anymore, he still has immense physical strength, in the Livin' on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane episode, Bill prevented a large stack of furniture, a desk, a globe, a grandfather clock, a dresser, rugs, chairs, cardboard boxes, paintings, and a lamp from sliding off the truck and pushed them all the way back while Hank drove the truck backwards on a mountain.
Bill has a fear of balloons according to the episode, "It Came From the Garage," which is probably due to the events of the episode "The Miseducation of Bobby Hill" in which he is carried off in the wind by a bunch of balloons tied to a lawn chair and by the end of his journey he is beaten, battered and tired.
- Back in Arlen High, Bill was nicknamed the "BillDozer" (Bill/Bulldozer) for his unstoppable play on the offensive line for his high school football team.
- Bill currently works as a United States Army barber. His rank is shown on his sleeve as a Sgt.
- When Bill is wearing his dress uniform in S3 EP9 "Pretty Pretty Dresses", he is shown to be wearing an ARCENT patch.
- Bill sees himself as fatter than he actually is, and with less hair. This can be seen in S3 E10 "A Firefighting We Will Go" when Bill shares his perspective of how the fire started at the Arlen Fire Department.
- In "Tankin' It to the Streets," it is shown on Bill's medical form that he was age 18 at the time in 1982, making him born in approximately 1963 or 1964. This is inconsistent with Hank's birth year (since the guys are the same age in childhood), who was born in 1953 as shown in "Yankee Hankee."
- As shown in a few episodes, Bill has the ability to regain some of his previous physical prowess if he consistently applies himself, but simply chooses to remain lazy and neglectful of his appearance.
- According to Gilbert, he and Bill are the last of the real living Dauterives due to frauds, deaths, and barren female family members.
- Bill drives a Marine Blue 1987 Ford Escort with an "Army" bumper sticker on the back.
- Bill has the first line in the series.
- Bill speaks fluent Cajun French.
- Bill owns a blue shirt which Dale says he loves.
- There are several instances where Bill prospers and breaks out of his pit of misfortune, but then something goes wrong and he just falls back into it.
- Bill tends to get hit in the groin a lot.
- Bill is known to root through trash and eat it as well as eat things like dog hormone biscuits.
- He's had many different pets including a Rottweiler named Rex and an iguana named Lenore.
- Bill's voice actor, Stephen Root, originally auditioned for the role of Dale Gribble, which "didn't feel right" so he then auditioned for the role of Bill. Root commented: "Mike Judge got a hold of me because he knew I'd done a lot of Southern plays and Southern characters. He wanted me to audition but he didn't know what for. I auditioned for Dale but I didn't feel good with it, so then I auditioned for Bill, and that one felt right. Voiceover work is a hard circle to break into, and King of the Hill really opened the door". (Character Kings 2)
- S03E09 [Walking into the Hill's master bedroom] "I had a bad dream, I dreamt Lenore came back and stole Lenore and then Lenore drove off with Lenore, and I ran down the street after them and I yelled 'Lenore! Lenore!', and then my teeth fell out... oh yeah Peggy, you were there... can I sleep in your living room?"
- S03E10 "My name is Dauterive comma Bill, I am also insane."
- S12E07 [While trying to wrestle Lucky to the ground] "He's slipping away, like happiness"
- S06E08 Dale: "The prime directive has been breached, women's liberation has happened too soon. I must warn the future!" [Dale makes teleporting noise] Bill: "Take me with you! I hate it here."
- S07E02 "Are you making fun of me? If you are, it's okay -- I'd just like to know."
- S01E01 "Yep." (first line spoken in series)
- S09E08 "It's so much better frying at home. I can eat fried bananas while looking at Hank's house."
- S10E01 [To Hank] "I have a confession too, Hank. In a moment of weakness on a dark rainy night, I slept with Peggy." Hank: "No you didn't, Bill." Bill: "I know."
- S10E06 Kahn: "My dreams are shattered." Bill: "Yep, mine too. Have a beer."
- "Tankin' It to the Streets" - Bill's medical form states he was age 18 at the time of writing in 1982, which makes him approximately born in 1963 or 1964.