Classic TV Birthdays: February 6

Actress Gayle Hunnicutt leads off today’s birthday list. Hunnicutt, 71, guested on such TV classics as The Beverly Hillbillies, Get Smart, The Love Boat and Switch. She also appeared in numerous TV miniseries and had a recurring role in the final 2 seasons of Dallas.

Others sharing a February 6 birthday include Gigi Perreau (73), a former child film star who had a memorable guest appearance on The Brady Bunch, playing Greg’s teacher (and schoolboy crush!) Longtime NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw is 74, Mike Farrell (The Interns, M*A*S*H, later Providence) is 75 and B-movie actress Mamie Van Doren is either 81 or 83. Van Doren guested on such shows as The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Fantasy Island and Vega$.

Also on today’s birthday list: Rip Torn (guested on Bonanza, Dr. Kildare, Mannix…later had roles on The Larry Sanders Show and 30 Rock) is 83, English actor Patrick Macnee (The Avengers) is 92 and Zsa Zsa Gabor is estimated to turn 97. The Hungarian-born Gabor made guest appearances on a number of classic TV shows, including Batman, Burke’s Law, Mister Ed and Night Gallery.

Several classic TV “voices” were born this day but are no longer with us. Walker Edmiston guested on The Dukes of Hazzard, Mission: Impossible and Star Trek but we probably best remember him as the voice of Ernie The Keebler Elf. Voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft (besides having the coolest name ever!) was the voice of Frosted Flakes spokescat Tony the Tiger (they’re grrreat!) He also performed “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” on the holiday classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Ronald Reagan was also born this day. The film actor (Knute Rockne All American) also worked on the small screen, hosting General Electric Theater and Death Valley Days. He then turned to politics, serving as governor of California and later the 40th president of the United States.

There’s a lengthy list of classic TV stars who died on this day. It starts with Philip Carey, an actor who guested on such TV classics as 77 Sunset Strip, The Bionic Woman, McCloud and Room 222. He was a star on the 1960s western Laredo, but achieved his greatest fame for longtime role on the daytime soap One Life To Live. Film star Joseph Cotten had many guest roles on TV, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Ironside and The Rockford Files. He also hosted a 1950s era series, The Joseph Cotten Show: On Trial.

Also passing this day: Danny Dayton (played Hank Pivnik on All in the Family/Archie Bunker’s Place), Peanuts composer Vince Guaraldi, singer-songwriter Frankie Laine (sang theme songs of Rawhide and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo), Guy Madison (The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok), composer Hugo Montenegro (Here Come The Brides, I Dream of Jeannie), UK actress Dandy Nichols (starred in Britcom Till Death Us Do Part, remade in the U.S. as All in the Family) and JamesWhitmore (The Law and Mr. Jones, The New Temperatures Rising, numerous guest roles including Gunsmoke and The White Shadow).

Danny Thomas also died on February 6. The longtime star of Make Room for Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show appeared in several other sitcoms (The Practice, I’m A Big Girl Now) and produced such shows as The Dick Van Dyke Show, Mod Squad and The Real McCoys. Thomas also founded St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. His daughter Marlo (That Girl) serves as St. Jude’s national outreach director.