Classic TV Birthdays: January 26

A pair of classic TV stars are celebrating birthdays today. Character actor Scott Glenn is 73. He guested on such classics as Baretta, Ironside and The Patty Duke Show, later landing successful big screen roles on Urban Cowboy and The Silence of the Lambs.

Actress Anne Jeffreys appeared in the early sitcom Topper, then guest starred on Bonanza and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Later in her career, she was a cast member of Baywatch, Falcon Crest and General Hospital. Jeffreys turns 91 today.

Classic TV celebrities born January 26 but since passed: Zara Cully (Mod Squad, Night Gallery, Playhouse 90…best known as Mother Jefferson on 1970s sitcom The Jeffersons), William Hopper (Paul Drake on Perry Mason), character actress Mary Murphy (The Outer Limits, Perry Mason) and film critic Gene Siskel.

Also born this day: Charles Lane. The bespectacled character actor appeared in countless classic TV shows and movies, including It’s A Wonderful Life where he played Potter’s rent collector.
charles-lane
On the small screen, Lane guested on shows like Bewitched, Dennis the Menace, I Love Lucy and Soap. Perhaps his best remembered TV role was as Homer Bedloe on Pettiocat Junction. Lane’s lengthy showbiz résumé spanned 6 decades and he passed away at the ripe old age of 102.

Film legend Paul Newman was also born on January 26. Few may realize his career started on the early days of television, including appearances on The Aldrich Family, The United States Steel Hour, The Web and You Are There.

Today also marks the anniversary of the passing of a number of classic TV stars. Ian Abercrombie guested on Battlestar Galactica and Fantasy Island, but his most recognizable role may have been as Elaine’s boss Mr. Pitt on Seinfeld. José Ferrer guested on Columbo and Kojak, then later played maid Stephanie’s billionaire father on the sitcom Newhart. Another bit o’ trivia: Ferrer was once married to crooner Rosemary Clooney, making him actor George Clooney’s uncle.

Other stars passing on January 26 include character actress Margaret Hayes (Flipper, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, Robert Montgomery Presents), Ethelreda Leopold (appeared in mostly uncredited film roles, later guested on Hart to Hart and The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and big screen heavy Edward G. Robinson. The well-known film star also showed up on the small screen, including appearances on Batman, Night Gallery and the pilot for Medical Center.

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