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William “Bill” Denbrough is the leader of the Loser’s Club and one of the main characters in the horror novel, It. He is also the son of Zack and Sharon Denbrough, as well as the older brother of the late George Denbrough.

In the 1990 film IT, Bill is played by Jonathan Brandis as a child and Richard Thomas as an adult. In the 2017 re-adaption, Bill is played by Jaeden Lieberher

1957-1958

Character Profile

AdultBill

Bill Denbrough in adulthood

Along with Ben Hanscom, Richie Tozier, Beverly Marsh, Mike Hanlon, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Stan Uris, Bill was a member of the Loser’s Club. Often nicknamed “Stuttering Bill” (due to his constant tendency to stutter) by his associates, he stood out among the seven adherents as being the most optimistic and valiant member. As a result, Bill is generally viewed as the undisputed leader of the club. He ultimately shares the same desires from his comrades in defeating the ancient, demonic entity, IT (his brother’s death only further drives his motivation).

Georgie

In late fall of 1957, Bill had developed a severe cold, inhibiting him from attending school. While home, he constructed a paper boat for his younger brother Georgie to play with outside. Bill warns him to remain cautious of the unstable weather. It would prove to be the last time the two would ever see each other again.

Not long after, George was killed by IT (while in the form of Pennywise the clown).

Creating the Dam

While building a dam in the Barrens, Bill and Edward "Eddie" Kaspbrak are confronted by the school bully Henry Bowers and two of his friends, Victor Criss and Belch Huggins, who are in pursuit of Ben Hanscom. Bill and Eddie tell them they haven't seen him, and, believing they're lying, Henry pushes Eddie to the ground, breaking his nose while Henry breaks down their dam (In the movie, Henry does shove Eddie to the ground, but it triggers an asthma attack rather than resulting in a broken nose). Bill tells them to back off and Henry, Belch and Vic leave, losing interest in finding Ben. After his inhaler goes out, Eddie sends Bill to go to Mr. Keene's pharmacy store to get a new one. While waiting for Bill to return, he meets and befriends Ben, who had been hiding from Henry in the Barrens and witnessed Henry break down the dam. Both Ben and Eddie decide to fix up the dam. While fixing it up, Ben and Eddie have a conversation about their deceased fathers, Ben's to the Korean War and Eddie's to cancer. When Bill returns, Eddie introduces him to Ben. The three friends finally fix up the Dam.

The House On Neibolt Street

Feeling guilty for the death of his brother, Bill, armed with his father's Walther PPK .380, travels down to one of the distant houses on Neibolt Street (where Eddie had encountered It in the form of the homeless leper under the house's porch) in pursuit of his brother's killer, whom he believed to have still lived there. Bill's friend, Richie, accompanies him to the house, though reluctantly. While searching around the deserted house, the two are ambushed and attacked by It, with Bill perceiving it as Pennywise the clown, and Richie as the werewolf from "I Was a Teenage Werewolf". The creature chases the boys across Neibolt Street, with Bill managing to partially wound It with his rifle. The two manage to barely escape with Bill's trustworthy bike, Silver.

The Ritual of Chud

By the end of the summer of 1958, Bill had led the Loser’s into the Derry sewers, where they intended to confront and ultimately eradicate the terrorizing creature that had murdered his younger brother the year before. Deep under the city, they eventually come across the hellish beast’s fortress.

In the decisive attempt to destroy IT, Bill engaged in the “Ritual of Chud” (a tribal based semantic that is supposedly used to repel “impure” spirits) with the demonic entity. With the help of the “Turtle” (a guardian-like supernatural being that had originated from the same universe IT came from), he ultimately succeeded, defeating the paranormal demon (although it proved to be only a brief conquest as the ancient terror would resurface twenty-seven years later).

Following IT’s alleged demise, the Loser’s began to lose their sense of connectivity with one another. To ensure that their bond would remain intact, Beverly engages in preadolescent sexual intercourse with Bill and the rest of the male Loser’s. Upon leaving the sewers, Bill formed a divine blood oath with the others, where they would promise to unite again if IT was ever to return.

1985

Returning to Derry

On May 29, 1985, Bill receives a phone call from his old friend, Mike Hanlon (who was the only loser to stay behind in Derry), telling him that the child killings are happening again. Mike asks him to return to Derry, as he fears that It may still well be alive. Upon learning of It's return, Bill becomes so frightened and worried that he begins to stutter uncontrollably, his childhood reaction to stress and trauma. After a brief dispute with his wife, Audra, Bill eventually departs to Derry to face It once more, as he had twenty-seven years ago. 

The Devil Diminishes (Audra)

Unknown to Bill, the concerned Audra decides to head over to Derry in an attempt to uncover his long-term promise he had supposedly kept with his childhood friends. While residing at one the town's local motels, IT uses Tom Rogan (the then husband of Beverly Marsh) to capture her and use her as bait to lure Bill and the rest of his comrades into its lair. Upon viewing IT's true form (the "deadlights"), Tom instantly dies in shock while Audra succumbs into a catatonic state. Using the Ritual of Chud again (along with Richie this time), Bill finally defeats IT and rescues Audra. She survives (being the only person to survive the death defying limbo), but remains in her catatonic state. Bill helps Audra to come out of her catatonia by taking her on a bicycle ride on his childhood bike, Silver. He is impersonating the Lone Ranger, which is something he had done years earlier to help revive a young Richie, who was frozen with fear after meeting IT. Slowly she comes out of her catatonia and holds Bill, finally overcoming her fear. They kiss in the middle of a traffic stop in relief of her coming back to reality.

Bibliography

Appearances

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