Actor David Naughton kicks off today’s long list of classic TV birthdays. The 63 year old first appeared on TV as co-star of the 1974 TV series Planet of the Apes (I loved this show as a kid, had the Apes treehouse and action figures!). Naughton later had roles on sitcoms At Ease, Makin’ It and My Sister Sam. Many of us remember his guest role on Seinfeld: he played Elaine’s recovering alcoholic boyfriend in “The Red Dot” episode.
Also celebrating birthdays: Ellen Bry (guested on CHiPs, Kojak and The Love Boat…best known for her role as Nurse Shirley Daniels on St. Elsewhere) is 63, Stockard Channing (starred in two-short lived sitcoms in 1979-80, later appeared on The West Wing and The Good Wife) turns 70, Peter Tork (The Monkees) is 72, Carol Lynley (guested on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Fantasy Island) is 72 and Swedish-born Bo Svenson (Here Come the Brides, Walking Tall) turns 73.
Still a few more classic TV birthdays. George Segal (guested on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Naked City, currently on ABC sitcom The Goldbergs) is 80, film star Kim Novak (guested on The Ed Sullivan Show, later had a recurring role on Falcon Crest) turns 81 and UK horror movie queen Barbara Shelley is 88. Shelley starred in such movies as Dracula Prince of Darkness and Village of the Damned, also guesting on TV classics 12 O’Clock High, The Donna Reed Show and Hazel.
February 13 was also the birthday of a number of classic TV favorites no longer with us, including Lyle Bettger (starred in several 1950s series, guested on Daniel Boone, Hawaii Five-0, Laramie), singer Tennessee Ernie Ford (sang Sixteen Tons, hosted his own variety show) and Jean Muir (guested on Naked City and Route 66).
Actress, director and pilot Susan Oliver (pictured) appeared on many classic TV shows from the 1950s through the 1980s. Her resume included The F.B.I., Love American Style, Peyton Place and Wagon Train. Perhaps her most memorable role was as alien Vina in the pilot episode of Star Trek.
A pair of classic TV stars died on this day. Martin Balsam had a long career in film (A Thousand Clowns, Psycho, Tora! Tora! Tora!) and TV (Kojak, Naked City and The Twilight Zone). He also played Archie’s bar-owner partner on Archie Bunker’s Place. David Janssen starred in The Fugitive as well as Harry O, O’Hara U.S. Treasury and Richard Diamond Private Detective.