Joanna Kerns is the first name on today’s birthday list. The 61-year-old actress guested on classic 1970s shows Charlie’s Angels, Emergency!, Quincy M.E. and Starsky & Hutch. She is best known for her role as Maggie Seaver on the long-running sitcom Growing Pains. Her sister is Olympic gold medal swimmer Donna de Varona.
Also celebrating birthdays today: Swedish actress and 2-time Bond Girl Maud Adams (Hawaii Five-0, Kojak, Love American Style) is 69, singer-turned-actor Cliff DeYoung (guested on Family, Marcus Welby M.D.) is 69, Joe Don Baker (starred in Walking Tall movie, 1979 TV series Eischied) turns 78, Charles Van Doren (famed contestant on Twenty One, led to quiz show scandal) is 88, and former baseball player turned TV personality Joe Garagiola (NBC MLB Game of the Week, Today, To Tell The Truth) is 88.
We have a long list of classic TV stars born February 12 but since passed away. Wallace Ford appeared on the first season of Henry Fonda’s TV western The Deputy, and also guested on The Andy Griffith Show and Lassie. Joseph Kearns is best-known as harried neighbor Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace. Richard Lynch guested on Baretta, Barnaby Jones and Starsky & Hutch. Ted Mack hosted the long-running radio and TV talent search The Original Amateur Hour. Forrest Tucker is remembered for his starring role on F Troop.
Classic TV favorite Lorne Greene was also born this day. Greene started out as a news anchor for the CBC in his native Canada, later moving to Hollywood. He appeared on numerous films and classic TV shows, but is best known for his role as family patriarch Ben Cartwright on the classic western Bonanza. Greene later starred in Battlestar Galactica, Code Red, Griff and hosted a syndicated nature series: Lorne Greene’s New Wilderness.
Many classic TV favorites died on February 12, including director-turned-actor Nicholas Colasanto. He was behind the camera for such shows as Hawaii Five-0 and Run For Your Life, later gaining fame as Coach Ernie Pantusso on Cheers. Betty Garrett had recurring roles on All in the Family and Laverne & Shirley. Character actor Victor Jury appeared on Nakia, The Rockford Files and The Virginian. Kenneth Mars appeared in several Mel Brooks movies and guested on shows like Fernwood Tonight, Love American Style and Mannix.
Also passing this day: Charles Schultz (creator of the Peanuts comic strip franchise) and Sal Mineo. The stage and film star guested on a number of classic TV series, including Combat!, Hawaii Five-0, The Patty Duke Show and S.W.A.T. Mineo’s life ended tragically when he was murdered at age 37.