Classic TV Birthdays: March 20

Actor William Hurt is first up on today’s birthday list. The 64 year old guested on Kojak and went on to star in such feature films as Altered States, Body Heat and Broadcast News.

Others on the birthday list: John de Lancie (guested on Emergency! and McMillan & Wife, later had recurring roles on several Star Trek series) is 66, producer Paul Junger Witt (Benson, Golden Girls, Here Come The Brides, It’s A Living, Soap) turns 71, Hal Linden (Barney Miller) is 83 and comedy legend Carl Reiner is 92. Reiner was a regular on the groundbreaking 1950s variety series Your Show of Shows. He went on to create and co-star in The Dick Van Dyke Show. Carl’s son Rob is an actor-producer, best known for his role as Mike “Meathead” Stivic on All in the Family.

There’s a long list of classic TV favorites born March 20 but no longer with us. Jack Barry was a game show producer and host involved in the infamous Twenty One quiz show scandal back in the 1950s. He resurrected his career in the 1970s as host of Break the Bank and The Joker’s Wild. Ted Bessell is remembered for his role as Marlo Thomas’ boyfriend Donald on That Girl. Edgar Buchanan gave up a career as a dentist to be come an actor…we know him best as slow-movin’ Uncle Joe on Petticoat Junction, Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies.

More familiar faces born today include Wendell Corey (starred in 1957’s Harbor Command, guested on Perry Mason, The Untouchables and The Wild Wild West), Ray Goulding (half of the comedy team of Bob and Ray), veteran character actor Jack Kruschen (worked from the 1950s to 90s, including appearances on Barney Miller, Dragnet, Emergency!, The Rifleman), bandleader-actor Ozzie Nelson (The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet), country singer-actor Jerry Reed (appeared on Alice, Hee Haw, The Tonight Show) and Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers Neighborhood).

We said goodbye to some classic TV friends on March 20. Longtime NBC newsman Chet Huntley was co-anchor of The Huntley-Brinkley Report (now known as NBC Nightly News). Film actress Marilyn Maxwell (Champion, The Lemon Drop Kid) guested on 77 Sunset Strip, Burke’s Law and Here’s Lucy. English actor Brian Wilde is known for his role on long-running Britcom Last of the Summer Wine.

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