Classic TV Birthdays: March 26

Canadian-American actor-comedian Martin Short is first up on today’s lengthy birthday list. The 64 year old was in the cast of 1979 sitcom The Associates, then later a regular on Second City Television and Saturday Night Live.

Also celebrating birthdays today: Vicki Lawrence (The Carol Burnett Show) and Ernest Thomas (What’s Happening!!) are 65, Johnny Crawford (The Rifleman) turns 68, film and TV actor James Caan (guested on Ben Casey, The F.B.I., Route 66) is 74 and Alan Arkin turns 80. Arkin has appeared in movies (Catch-22, The Russians Are Coming, Wait Until Dark) and on television (Carol Burnett & Company, Sesame Street, What’s My Line?) He has 3 sons who are also actors, including Adam Arkin (Busting Loose).

Two more March 26 birthdays: Leonard Nimoy (83) and Bob Elliott (91). Nimoy is best known as Spock in the original Star Trek, later joining the cast of Mission: Impossible and hosting the syndicated 1970s sci-fi series In Search Of…Elliott is 1/2 of the comedy duo of Bob and Ray. He’s also the father of comedian Chris Elliott (Get A Life, Late Night with David Letterman).

Today was also the birthday of some classic TV favorites no longer with us. Sterling Hayden worked in film (Dr. Strangelove, The Godfather) and classic TV (Banacek, Playhouse 90, Wagon Train). Animator T. Hee’s work was used in the opening credits of early sitcom The Life of Riley. Harry Kalas was the longtime voice of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. Strother Martin had memorable movie roles (Cool Hand Luke) and also guested on TV shows like Baretta, Bonanza, Gunsmoke and Perry Mason. Character actor Ed Peck appeared on TV from the 1950s to the 1970s, including roles on Barney Miller, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Happy Days and The Munsters.

We also said goodbye to some familiar faces on March 26. Stage, film and TV actress Jan Sterling appeared on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Guiding Light, Little House on the Prairie and Mannix. Garry Walberg had roles in two Jack Klugman series, playing poker buddy Speed on The Odd Couple and Lieutenant Monahan on Quincy M.E.

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