Born and raised in Florida, King attended his home state’s univsersity. He was later to study architecture, but abandoned those plans and went to New York City, studying art at Cooper Union and the Brooklyn Museum in the late 1940s. King is known for his simplified figurative cutouts in metal or wood carvings, which are often presented with a warm and subtle touch of humor.
Wiliam King has lived most of his life in New York City and in the Hamptons on Long Island. He has shown at galleries, including many solo exhibits at Terry Dintenfass in New York, and museums across the country during his long and productive career. He has received many commissions for public sites, including the highly visible, striding figures placed on the highway overpass at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. His sculptures are in collections at the Allentown Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, and belong to many notable private collectors. He has received numerous commissions for public works, including a 1995 commission to install work along the South Street Pedestrian Bridge in Philadelphia. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture from the International Sculpture Center in 2007.