Classic TV Birthdays: February 20

Today’s birthday list kicks off with Peter Strauss. The 67 year old guested on Hawaii Five-0, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Streets of San Francisco. He also starred in the 1970s miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man.

Sandy Duncan is 68 today. She had guest roles on Bonanza, The Six Million Dollar Man and was a frequent panelist on The Hollywood Squares. Duncan starred in an early 1970s sitcom Funny Face (reformatted as The Sandy Duncan Show) and later replaced Valerie Harper on the 1980s sitcom The Hogan Family. She is also known for her stage work (Peter Pan) and as a commercial spokeswoman for Wheat Thins crackers.

Also on the birthday list: Richard Beymer (guested on Dr. Kildare, Make Room for Daddy, Sky King…later appeared on Murder She Wrote and Twin Peaks) is 75, Marj Dusay (guested on Barnaby Jones, Mannix, The Odd Couple, The Wild Wild West…played Blair’s mom on The Facts of Life…regular on daytime dramas All My Children, Guiding Light and Santa Barbara) turns 78 and socialite-heiress Gloria Vanderbilt is 90. Vanderbilt had several acting roles in the 1950s and early 60s (Playhouse 90, The Shirley Temple Storybook, Studio One) and is the mother of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

Classic TV friends born February 20 but since passed include film and TV actor Edward Albert (guested on Kung Fu, The Love Boat, Police Story…later had recurring roles on primetime soaps Falcon Crest and the Yellow Rose…son of actor Eddie Albert), movie director Robert Altman (M*A*S*H, also worked on TV shows like Bonanza, Combat! and Whirlybirds) and Malcolm Atterbury. He guested on many classic TV shows from the 1950s on, including The Fugitive, Gunsmoke and Perry Mason. Atterbury was a regular on the 1974 family drama Apple’s Way.

Also born this day: Amanda Blake (Gunsmoke), Whitney Blake (Hazel, co-creator of One Day At A Time), Pierre Boulle (author of Planet of the Apes), Gale Gordon (Dennis The Menace, Here’s Lucy, Our Miss Brooks, The Lucy Show), Larry Hovis (Hogan’s Heroes), Brion James (guested on Chico and the Man, The Rockford Files, The Waltons), author-screenwriter Richard Matheson (wrote over a dozen episodes of The Twilight Zone, including Nightmare at 20,000 Feet that starred William Shatner) and actor-voice artist Henry Polic II (When Things Were Rotten, later on Webster).

A number of classic TV favorites passed away February 20, including Rosemary DeCamp (a regular on The Bob Cummings Show, The Life of Riley and That Girl…played Shirley Jones’ mom on The Partridge Family), Sandra Dee (starred in films Gidget, A Summer Place…guested on Fantasy Island and Love American Style), sportscaster Curt Gowdy (longtime voice of the Boston Red Sox, later announced baseball and football for ABC and NBC Sports, hosted The American Sportsman) and voice actor Clarence Nash (Donald Duck).

Others passing this day: actor-singer John Raitt (guested on 1950s series including Death Valley Days, Shirley Temple’s Storybook…father of singer Bonnie Raitt), film critic Gene Siskel and newspaper-radio commentator Walter Winchell (narrator of The Untouchables).

Dick York also died on February 20, He co-starred with Gene Kelly in the 1962 TV comedy Going My Way and guested on such shows as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Playhouse 90 and Wagon Train. He is best known as the first Darrin Stephens on the long-running sitcom Bewitched.