William King intended to become an architect rather than a sculptor. After brief study at the University of Florida at Gainesville between 1942-44, King entered The Cooper Union, where he studied with John Hovannes and Milton Hebald. He decided to switch majors during his first year in 1945 and finished his remaining two years in sculpture. In 1949, he continued his study with Hebald at the Brooklyn Museum School of Art. King returned to the Brooklyn Museum School in 1953 as an instructor and taught there until 1959. He then taught briefly at the University of California at Berkeley from 1965-66 and the Art Students League from 1968-69. He began creating his large aluminum figures during his tenure at the League. The satirical nature and humorous overtones of his inimitable, long-legged, silhouette-like figures have led some to link King with Pop's affinity for the mundane aspects of consumer culture. King, however, thinks of his figures as both satirical and "vulnerable, fragile." In 2003 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and four years later was awarded The International Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Since 1980 King has lived in East Hampton’s Northwest Woods with the painter Connie Fox.