Classic TV Birthdays: February 17

Actor turned director Don Scardino turns 65 today. Scardino guested on classic sitcoms The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and The Patty Duke Show, later appearing on daytime soaps As the World Turns and Guiding Light. He is currently a director on the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls.

Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley is 75. Mobley guested on many classic TV shows of the 1960s and 70s, including Burke’s Law, Diff’rent Strokes, Fantasy Island and Perry Mason. She was also a panelist on Match Game and other 70s daytime game shows. Mobley is the widow of actor-TV host Gary Collins.

Also celebrating February 17 birthdays: Christina Pickles (Another World, Guiding Light, Lou Grant, The White Shadow) is 79, UK actress Patricia Routledge (guested on CBS Children’s Film Festival, best known for 1990s Britcom Keeping Up Appearances) turns 85 and Hal Holbrook is 89. Holbrook appeared on The Bold Ones and The FBI, along with such movies as the Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force. He is also well-known for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in several miniseries (Lincoln, North and South). Holbrook was married to the late actress Dixie Carter.

Today was also the birthday of some classic TV favorites, including Red Barber (longtime baseball and football announcer), silent film star Ruth Clifford (later appeared on Hazel, Highway Patrol, Police Story), Arthur Hunnicutt (guested on Bonanza, My Three Sons, The Virginian) and Arthur Kennedy (guested on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, co-star of the 1974 crime drama Nakia).

Character actress Kathleen Freeman was also born on this day. Her familiar face appeared on many classic TV shows from the 1950s on, including 77 Sunset Strip, The Beverly Hillbillies, Hogan’s Heroes, Kojak and Wagon Train. She played a hotel maid in a memorable episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show (“Never Bathe on Saturday”), and later co-starred with Dom DeLuise on the 1973 sitcom Lotsa Luck. Freeman was also the voice of Al Bundy’s mother-in-law on Married with Children.

February 17 was also the day we lost some old classic TV friends. Radio, TV and voice actor Joseph Kearns guested on shows like Gunsmoke, The Jack Benny Program and Our Miss Brooks. He’s best known for his final role: neighbor Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace. Character actor Sunshine Parker had guest shots on BJ and the Bear, Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie.

Also passing this day: Dan O’Herlihy. The veteran Irish actor guested on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Untouchables. He co-starred with Kurt Russell in the 1960s western The Travels of Jamie McPheeters, then the short-lived 1979 drama A Man Called Sloane (with Robert Conrad). O’Herlihy later appeared in the quirky 1990s series Twin Peaks.