Bo Hopkins leads off today’s birthday list. The veteran character actor appeared on such classic shows as Gunsmoke, Mod Squad, The Rat Patrol and The Rockford Files. Hopkins is 72.
Other birthdays: Tom Smothers (The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour) is 77, Robert Mandan (Soap) turns 82 and Elaine Stritch is 89. Stritch played Trixie in the pilot for The Honeymooners, then starred in 1960 sitcom My Sister Eileen. She later moved to the UK and starred in the 70s comedy Two’s Company. More recently she appeared on Law & Order and 30 Rock.
Classic TV stars born this day but since passed on include character actor Frank Albertson (guested on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Andy Griffith Show, Sugarfoot), Farrah Fawcett (Charlie’s Angels), actress-producer Bonita Granville (wife of Jack Wrather, producer of Lassie, The Lone Ranger, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon), Brit actor Geoffrey Hughes (UK soap Coronation Street, Onslow on Britcom Keeping Up Appearances) and Charles Correll.
Correll was the creator of the 1950s Amos ‘n Andy Show, having voiced the Andy character on radio. He also created and provided the voice of Calvin on the animated 1961-62 series Calvin and the Colonel. Correll’s son Richard followed in his father’s show biz footsteps, playing Beaver’s friend Richard on Leave It To Beaver before moving behind the camera. Richard Correll directed the sitcom Family Matters and currently works on the Scott Baio series See Dad Run on Nick at Nite.
Several classic TV stars passed away on February 2: legendary dancer-actor Gene Kelly (he actually starred in a short-lived 1962 TV series Going My Way, based on the Bing Crosby movie), actor-turned-lawyer John Kerr (12 O’Clock High, The Streets of San Francisco), Bert Parks (emcee of The Miss America Pageant from 1955-79), Barry Morse (The Fugitive, Space: 1999) and Donald Pleasence (The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, later appeared in the Halloween movies).
Also passing on this day: Boris Karloff. The London-born Karloff became a film star playing classic horror movie monsters Frankenstein and The Mummy. He later made numerous appearances on such classic TV shows as Route 66 and The Wild Wild West, also hosting the 1960s anthology series Thriller. Karloff’s distinctive voice continues to entertain new generations, as he was the narrator of the classic holiday cartoon How The Grinch Stole Christmas.