Classic TV Birthdays: February 16

Today’s birthday list begins with Lisa Loring (56). As a child, she portrayed Wednesday on the classic 1960s comedy The Addams Family. Loring was later a regular on the daytime soap As The World Turns.

Also celebrating birthdays: LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow, Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation) is 57 and William Katt is 63. Katt, son of Perry Mason co-star Barbara Hale, guested on Emergency!, Ironside and M*A*S*H. He also starred in the early 1980s comedy-drama series The Greatest American Hero.

February 16 was also the birthday of some classic TV favorites since passed, including Edgar Bergen (longtime radio star, played Grandpa in the Waltons movie pilot, father of actress Candice Bergen), Sonny Bono (The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, later had a career in politics), Chester Morris (played Boston Blackie in the movies, on radio and the first season of the TV series) and Gretchen Wyler (guested on Charlie’s Angels and Naked City, co-starred in 1978 sitcom On Our Own).

Today was also the birthday of Hugh Beaumont. The film, radio and TV actor was the narrator of the early 1950s series Racket Squad. He later guested on classics like Mannix, Petticoat Junction and The Virginian. We all remember him as the kind and wise father Ward Cleaver on the long-running sitcom Leave it to Beaver.

Today was also the day we lost some classic TV friends. Roger Bowen was a co-founder of The Second City comedy troupe and played Lt. Colonel Henry Blake in the M*A*S*H movie. He was a regular on The Brian Keith Show and guested on such shows as All in the Family, House Calls and I Spy. Smiley Burnette was a singer-actor who played the same memorable role on two 1960s sitcoms. He was railroad engineer Charley Pratt on Green Acres and Petticoat Junction.

Len Lesser also passed away on February 16. The veteran character actor appeared on TV shows across six decades, from the 1950s to the 2000s. Among the shows on Lesser’s resume: The Bob Newhart Show, Bonanza, Get Smart, Kojak, The Munsters and Switch. He had a recurring role on Everybody Loves Raymond, but we all know him best as Uncle Leo on Seinfeld (Jerry! Hello!)