Classic TV Birthdays: February 22

Today’s birthday list starts with John Ashton. The 66 year old actor appeared in the Beverly Hills Cop movies and guested on Columbo, Dallas, Kojak and Starsky & Hutch.

Also celebrating birthdays: Leslie Charleson (General Hospital castmember since 1977, also guested on Adam-12, Cannon, Happy Days and The Wild Wild West) is 69, Paul Dooley (played Molly Ringwald’s dad in Sixteen Candles, earlier appeared on TV shows like Bewitched and The Defenders) turns 86 and Donald May (co-starred in Colt .45 and The Roaring 20’s, guested on The FBI and Quincy M.E., appeared on several daytime soaps) is 87.

Others born February 22: TV producer-director Bud Yorkin (All in the Family, Carter Country, Good Times, Maude, What’s Happening!!) is 88 and legendary NBC announcer Don Pardo turns 96. Pardo was a longtime game show announcer (Jeopardy!) and has been announcing on Saturday Night Live since the show’s 1975 launch.

One more familiar face is celebrating a birthday. You may not know the name, but you surely recognize his picture. Veteran character actor James Hong turns 85 today. He has been working in showbiz since the 1950s and reportedly has over 500 movie and TV roles on his resume. Hong co-starred in the 1957 series The New Adventures of Charlie Chan and the 1976 series Jigsaw John. He’s voiced characters on Jackie Chan Adventures and Kung Fu Panda. Hong has guested on countless classic TV shows, among them Bachelor Father, Hawaii Five-0, Hawaiian Eye, I Spy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Perry Mason and Peter Gunn. He also appeared in the memorable Seinfeld episode “The Chinese Restaurant.”

Several classic TV favorites were born this day but are no longer with us. Director David Greene worked on The Defenders, Rich Man Poor Man and Roots. Actor-director Sheldon Leonard appeared in such classic films as It’s A Wonderful Life and guested on numerous classic TV shows, even starring in a short-lived 1975 sitcom Big Eddie. He is probably best known for producing such classic shows as The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Spy and Make Room for Daddy.

Robert Young was also born today. We remember him for his longtime role as Jim Anderson on the radio and TV versions of Father Knows Best. He later starred as kindly doctor Marcus Welby M.D.

February 22 was also the day we lost some classic TV friends. Ed Flanders guested on many classic shows of the 1960s and 70s, among them Daniel Boone, Hawaii Five-0, Mannix, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and M*A*S*H. He later went on to star in the medical drama St. Elsewhere. Legendary animator-director Chuck Jones worked on Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, creating such classic characters as Marvin the Martian, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.

Others passing this day: George Ives (co-starred in 1965 sitcom Mister Roberts, guested on Green Acres, Mister Ed, Emergency!, Wonder Woman), storyboard artist Michael Maltese (worked for Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera) and Alexander Scourby. Scourby guested on Mannix, Marcus Welby M.D. and The Rifleman. He was also well known for his recording of the King James version of The Bible and as narrator of National Geographic Specials from the 1960s to the 1980s.