Classic TV Birthdays: March 22

Singer-actress Stephanie Mills is first up on today’s birthday list. The 57 year old Broadway star and singer (best known for her 1980 hit ‘Never Knew Love Like This Before’) appeared on a number of 1970s series including Captain Kangaroo, The Mike Douglas Show and Musical Chairs.

Others celebrating birthdays today: NBC sportscaster Bob Costas (he worked NFL games for CBS in the 70s) is 62, William Shatner (Star Trek) turns 83 and Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson is 84.

Veteran character actor M. Emmet Walsh turns 79 today. He guested on such classics as All in the Family, Baretta, Bonanza, Ironside and Starsky & Hutch. Walsh was a regular on James Garner’s 1971 western Nichols and the 1972 sitcom The Sandy Duncan Show. He also had a memorable role in the Steve Martin movie The Jerk (he hates these cans!)

There is a long list of classic TV favorites born March 22 but longer with us. Actor James Brown (no relation to the singer) appeared in The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. Virginia Grey guested on Ironside, Love American Style, Marcus Welby M.D. and Wagon Train. Werner Klemperer starred in Hogan’s Heroes. Ross Martin played master-of-disguise Artemis Gordon on The Wild Wild West. English actor Larry Martyn was a regular on classic Britcom Are You Being Served?

Also born this day: western author Louis L’Amour (his stories were used on classic TV westerns including Hondo, Maverick, Sugarfoot), Karl Malden (The Streets of San Francisco), Chico Marx (the oldest Marx Brother), longtime NBC announcer Bill Wendell (The Ernie Kovacs Show, Late Night with David Letterman, various game shows) and Austrian-American actor Joseph Schildkraut. The latter appeared in movies (The Diary of Anne Frank) and on television (77 Sunset Strip, Twilight Zone, The Untouchables).

March 22 was also the day we said goodbye to some classic TV friends. Olive Deering was a film and stage actress who guested on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Ben Casey and The Outer Limits. Animator Walter Lantz was the creator of Woody Woodpecker. Fellow animator William Hanna teamed up with partner Joseph Barbera to create such classic cartoons as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby Doo and Yogi Bear.

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