Classic TV Birthdays: January 24

Celebrating a birthday today: Michael Ontkean is 67. Ontkean starred on the 1970s cop drama The Rookies, then later resurfaced on the quirky 1990s Twin Peaks.

Character actor William Bogert, who guested on shows including Barney Miller, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Quincy, turns 78. Bogert’s largest role was on the syndicated 1980s sitcom Small Wonder.

Another birthday boy: Jerry Maren is 94. Maren appeared on 70s era classics The Gong Show and The Odd Couple, along with some McDonald’s commercials. He is best known as the last surviving Munchkin from The Wizard of Oz.

Other classic TV stars born this day but no longer with us: John Belushi (Saturday Night Live), Ernest Borgnine (McHale’s Navy, Airwolf) and Jack Brickhouse (legendary Chicago Cubs broadcaster from 1948-81).

A few more January 24 birthdays: televangelist Oral Roberts, actress Sharon Tate and character actress Ann Todd (guested on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Playhouse 90, Thriller). Tate had guest roles on classic 1960s shows The Beverly Hillbillies and Mister Ed, but her life ended tragically when she was murdered by the infamous Manson Family.

Classic TV stars passing on this day: James Farentino (The Bold Ones, Dynasty), Larry Fine (The Three Stooges), J. Carrol Naish (Life with Luigi) and Pernell Roberts (Bonanza, Trapper John M.D.). We actually missed including Naish on his birthday, which was January 21.