A pair of classic TV contributors are celebrating a birthday today. 74 year old actor-playwright Austin Pendleton guested on Good Times and Love American Style. 78 year old Jerry Lacy was in the cast of a number of daytime soaps, including As The World Turns, Dark Shadows, Love of Life and The Secret Storm. He’s married to another former soap performer, Julia Duffy, best known for her role as Stephanie the maid on Newhart.
March 27 was also the birthday of many familiar classic TV faces since passed on. Richard Denning worked in film, radio and television. He played Lucille Ball’s spouse on My Favorite Husband, the radio predecessor to I Love Lucy. Denning later starred on TV’s Michael Shayne and Mr. & Mrs. North, but many classic TV fans remember him best as the Governor on Hawaii Five-0. Announcer Fred Foy is well-known for his opening introduction of The Lone Ranger. David Janssen starred in a number of classic shows, including The Fugitive, Harry-O and Richard Diamond Private Detective.
Others born this day include Anne Ramsey (guested on Ironside and Wonder Woman, best known for her movie roles in The Goonies and Throw Momma from the Train), film legend Gloria Swanson (starred in Sunset Boulevard, hosted an early TV talk show and guested on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Ben Casey) and character actress Mary Treen. Treen’s familiar face appeared on such classic TV shows as The Donna Reed Show, Gomer Pyle USMC, Laverne & Shirley and The Andy Griffith Show. She had a memorable guest appearance on The Brady Bunch (Kay the maid) and in the classic holiday movie It’s A Wonderful Life (Cousin Tilly).
Today was also the day we said farewell to a number of classic TV friends. Producer-director Dan Curtis worked on daytime gothic soap Dark Shadows. Farley Granger acted in movies (Rope, Strangers on a Train) and television (As The World Turns, Get Smart, Ironside, The Love Boat). Diana Hyland guested on Happy Days Naked City and Twilight Zone. Her final role was as the original mom on 1970s family drama Eight Is Enough. Sadly, she passed away just 4 episodes into the series long run.
Also passing March 27: game show host Art James (Blank Check, The Magnificent Marble Machine, The Who What or Where Game), longtime NBC News correspondent Irving R. Levine, Aldo Ray (guested on Ben Casey, Bonanza, Naked City) and Warren Stevens (Bonanza, M*A*S*H, Star Trek, Twilight Zone).
Today was also the day we lost a true TV pioneer. Milton Berle was known by many early TV viewers as Mr. Television and Uncle Miltie. The vaudeville and radio veteran was a dominant force in early television, later appearing in movies (It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World) and guesting on 1960s and 70s TV classics like Batman, I Dream of Jeannie, Love American Style and The Love Boat.