Classic TV Roll Call

We’ve lost more of our classic TV favorites recently. A sad farewell to:

  • Actor-comedian-writer Bill Dana, best known for creating his José Jiménez character who appeared on such classics as The Danny Thomas Show (Make Room for Daddy) and The Ed Sullivan Show. The memorable character was also featured on the 1963-65 sitcom The Bill Dana Show
  • Actor Jared Martin, who had a recurring role (Dusty) on the primetime soap Dallas. He also guested on such classics as CHiPs, Columbo and The Waltons
  • Actress Dina Merrill, who appeared on numerous classic TV series dating back to the 1950s. Her credits included Batman, Bonanza, The F.B.I., Hawaii Five-O and The Love Boat
  • English actor Sir Roger Moore, who played the title character Simon Templar on the British TV series The Saint from 1962-69. He’s also well-known for his starring role in 7 James Bond feature films.
  • Actor-singer Michael Parks, who guested on shows like The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Gunsmoke and Perry Mason. He starred in the 1969-70 adventure series Then Came Bronson. He also had a memorable role as Jean Renault on the 1990-91 cult classic Twin Peaks
  • English actor Peter Sallis, who appeared in all 295 episodes of the long-running Britcom Last of the Summer Wine (1973-2010)
  • Actor-producer Roger Smith, who played private eye Jeff Spencer on the classic detective series 77 Sunset Strip. He was married to actress-singer Ann Margret for 50 years
  • Actor Adam West, forever known for his title role on the iconic 1960s superhero series Batman. West also appeared on the crime drama series The Detectives and guested on countless classic shows like 77 Sunset Strip, Bonanza, Emergency!, Mannix, The Outer Limits and Perry Mason. Most recently, he voiced the character of Mayor Adam West on the animated sitcom Family Guy.

Classic TV Roll Call

We bid farewell to more classic TV friends that have passed in 2017…

  • Singer-actress Lola Albright, who played Edie Hart, the girlfriend of private eye Peter Gunn
  • Game show legend Chuck Barris, creator of The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game. He also was the creator-host of The Gong Show
  • Actress-comedienne Chelsea Brown, a regular on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In
  • Actor Warren Frost, who guested on early classics Death Valley Days and Perry Mason. He later had recurring roles on Matlock, Seinfeld and Twin Peaks
  • Actor Dick Gautier, who played Hymie the Robot on Get Smart and Robin Hood on the 1974 cult classic sitcom When Things Were Rotten
  • Actor Peter Hansen, best known for his long-time role as lawyer Lee Baldwin on the daytime drama General Hospital
  • Actor Richard Hatch, who replaced Michael Douglas on The Streets of San Francisco and later starred in the original 1978 version of Battlestar Galactica
  • Producer-writer-creator Howard Leeds, who worked on such classic sitcoms as The Brady Bunch, Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life and My Three Sons
  • Actor Lawrence Montaigne, who guested on classic series including Batman, Mission: Impossible and Star Trek
  • Actress Erin Moran, who played Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days and spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi
  • Film and television photographer Sol Negrin, who worked on such TV classics as Car 54 Where Are you?, Kojak, McCloud, Naked City and The Patty Duke Show
  • Legendary actor-comedian Don Rickles, star of the 1970s sitcom CPO Sharkey and a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Rickles also guested on many classic series, including The Andy Griffith Show, Gilligan’s Island, The Munsters, Sanford and Son, The Twilight Zone and Wagon Train
  • English scriptwriter Alan Simpson, who worked on the Britcom Steptoe and Son, later adapted in the U.S. as Sanford and Son
  • Judge Joseph Wapner, the original presiding judge on The People’s Court (1981-93)
  • Writer-producer Bud Wiser, whose credits include work on All in the Family, One Day At A Time, That’s My Mama and Who’s The Boss?

So Long, Mary

Classic TV fans lost a true legend last week with the passing of Mary Tyler Moore at the age of 80.

Mary is best remembered for her two iconic sitcom roles: Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-66) and Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77). She also guested on such early classics as 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Thriller and Wanted: Dead or Alive. Her legs and voice appeared on the 1950s David Janssen crime series Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

Mary Tyler Moore and her then-husband Grant Tinker (who passed away last November) teamed up to create the production company MTM Enterprises in 1969. In MTM’s nearly 30 years of existence, the company was an entertainment juggernaut, creating such classic series as The Bob Newhart Show, Hill Street Blues, Lou Grant, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Newhart, Phyllis, Rhoda, St. Elsewhere, The White Shadow and WKRP in Cincinnati.

We’ve lost many more classic TV friends recently, including:

  • Actor William Christopher, who played Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H
  • Actor Mike Connors (Mannix)
  • Veteran character actor Bernard Fox, who guested on many classic shows of the 1960s and 70s. His best known roles were on Bewitched (Dr. Bombay) and Hogan’s Heroes (Colonel Crittendon)
  • Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, who guested on such classic shows as Batman, Burke’s Law, Gilligan’s Island and Mister Ed
  • Actress Barbara Hale, Della Street on Perry Mason
  • Legendary film star Debbie Reynolds, who starred in several short-lived TV series (1969-70’s The Debbie Reynolds Show and 1981’s Aloha Paradise). She also guested on Alice and The Love Boat
  • Actor Alan Thicke, who played Jason Seaver on the 1985-92 sitcom Growing Pains. He also produced the talk show spoof Fernwood Tonight, hosted several game and talk shows and wrote the theme songs to Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life
  • Actress Francine York, who guested on countless classic 60s/70s series including Death Valley Days, Gomer Pyle USMC, Love American Style, My Favorite Martian, Perry Mason, The Streets of San Francisco and The Untouchables

Tuned In: Antenna TV 2017 Additions, Dick Van Dyke Gets Colorized

News and notes from the world of classic TV:

  • Classic TV diginet Antenna TV will be adding a bunch of sitcoms to their lineup in 2017, mostly 80s and 90s fare along with a couple obscure classics from the 60s. Joining the lineup: 227, Alice, Becker, Good Morning World (1967-68 starring Ronnie Schell and a pre Laugh-In Goldie Hawn), Growing Pains, Head of the Class, The Hogan Family, The Joey Bishop Show (1961-65), Murphy Brown, My Two Dads and What’s Happening!!
  • NBC-owned classic TV digital network Cozi TV picks up a trio of NBC classics that last aired on MeTV. Getting Cozi in January: Columbo (Weekends), Emergency! (1PM Weekdays) and The Rockford Files (12N Weekdays).
  • The classic black-and-white sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show will follow in fellow B&W sitcom I Love Lucy’s footsteps. CBS will air two back-to-back episodes of DVD in color at 8PM Eastern tonight (Sunday Decemmber 11). “That’s My Boy??” and “Coast to Coast Big Mouth” were chosen by series creator and co-star Carl Reiner.
  • There have been more losses of classic TV favorites in recent weeks: actor Don Calfa (guested on Barney Miller, Kojak, Streets of San Francisco), actor Ron Glass (Barney Miller), comic actor Milt Moss (best known for saying “I can’t believe I ate that whole thing” in a classic Alka-Seltzer TV commercial), producer/network executive Grant Tinker (The Bob Newhart Show, Hill Street Blues, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, WKRP in Cincinnati), actor Fritz Weaver (guested on such classics as Hawaii Five-0, Mannix, Rawhide, The Twilight Zone) and actor Van Williams (The Green Hornet, Surfside 6).

Classic TV Roll Call

Breaking news this Black Friday: Brady mom Florence Henderson has passed away at age 82. Sadly, we have lost a long list of classic TV friends since our last posting…

  • Director Norman Abbott, who worked on shows like Get Smart, The Jack Benny Program, Leave It To Beaver, The Munsters and Sanford and Son
  • Actor Eddie Applegate, Patty’s boyfriend Richard on The Patty Duke Show
  • Actress Patricia Barry, who guested on such classics as Gunsmoke, Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone. She was a regular on daytime dramas All My Children, Days of Our Lives and Guiding Light
  • Longtime CBS executive Mike Dann, who was VP of programming from 1963-70
  • Actress Gloria DeHaven, who guested on classics including Flipper, Mannix, The Rifleman and Wagon Train. She was a regular on daytime soaps As The World Turns and Ryan’s Hope
  • Actress Ronnie Claire Edwards, best known for her role as Corabeth Walton Godsey on The Waltons
  • Actress Tammy Grimes, who guested on Burke’s Law, Route 66 and The Virginian. She starred in her own self-titled sitcom in 1966
  • Actress Ann Morgan Guilbert, Millie Helper on The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Actress Florence Henderson, who played mother Carol Brady on the iconic sitcom The Brady Bunch and it’s numerous sequels
  • Actor Steven Hill, Dan Briggs on Mission: Impossible and D.A. Adam Schiff on Law & Order
  • Actress Beth Howland, Vera on the 1970s-80s sitcom Alice
  • Character actor David Huddleston, who guested on such classics as Adam-12, Bewitched, Cannon and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He later played Kevin Arnold’s grandfather on The Wonder Years
  • Actor Barry Jenner, who appeared on 1970s daytime dramas Another World and Somerset. He guested on shows like Barnaby Jones and Hart to Hart
  • Writer Austin Kalish, who teamed with his wife Irma to write episodes of such classic series as All in the Family, Family Affair, The Facts of Life, F Troop, Gilligan’s Island, Good Times, Maude and My Three Sons
  • Local news executive Melvin Kampmann, creator of Action News
  • Actor Marvin Kaplan, best known as the voice of Choo-Choo on the classic cartoon Top Cat and Henry the telephone lineman on Alice
  • Musician Julius La Rosa, best remembered for being fired on-air by Arthur Godfrey
  • Actor Dan Marshall, Dan Erickson on Irwin Allen’s Land of the Giants
  • Veteran producer-actor Garry Marshall, creator of Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. He was also the brother of actress Penny Marshall
  • Director Leslie Martinson, who worked on such classics as Batman, CHiPs, Mannix and Mission: Impossible
  • Actor John McMartin, who guested on such shows as Cannon, Hawaii Five-0, Marcus Welby M.D. and The Partridge Family
  • Longtime Philadelphia children’s TV host W. Carter Merbreier, who played Captain Noah on WFIL/WPVI from 1967-1994
  • 2’9″ tall actor Michu Meszaros, who worked on H.R. Pufnstuf and later ALF
  • Writer-producer Agnes Nixon, best known for creating the ABC daytime dramas All My Children, Loving and One Life to Live
  • Actress Noel Neill, Lois Lane on Seasons 2-6 of the classic 1950s series Adventures of Superman
  • Actor Hugh O’Brian, best known for playing the title role on the early western series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp
  • Veteran character actor Jack Riley, who guested on such shows as Barney Miller, Gomer Pyle USMC and Hogan’s Heroes. His best-known role was neurotic patient Elliot Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show
  • Actress Doris Roberts, who guested on classic series like Alice, Barney Miller, Ben Casey and The Naked City. She was a regular on the ABC sitcom Angie but achieved her greatest success as Marie Barone on the long-running sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Veteran newsman Morley Safer, who worked on the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes from 1970-2016
  • Legendary character actor William Schallert, who appeared on countless classics like The Dick Van Dyke Show, Hawaii Five-0, Leave It To Beaver and Perry Mason. In his later years, his work included My Name Is Earl and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His best known role was as Martin Lane, Patty’s dad on The Patty Duke Show. Three of that show’s cast members have passed away in 2016, including Duke, Schallert and Eddie Applegate (see above)
  • Broadway and film actress Madeleine Sherwood, known to classic TV fans as Reverend Mother Placido on The Flying Nun
  • Production executive Robert E. Short, who worked on numerous classic series including Another World, Car 54 Where Are You?, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Rifleman
  • Actor James Stacy, who guested on shows like Combat!, Gunsmoke and Perry Mason. He starred in the late 60s western series Lancer. Sadly, he lost his left arm and leg in a 1973 motorcycle accident.
  • Actor Robert Vaughn, best known as suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s series The Man from U.N.C.L.E
  • Voice actress Janet Waldo, the voice of classic cartoon characters Judy Jetson and Josie of Josie & The Pussycats
  • Actor Alan Young, Wilbur on the talking horse comedy Mister Ed
  • Local horror movie host John Zacherle, who appeared on Shock Theater and Chiller Theatre in Philadelphia and New York

Goodbye, Patty Duke

Actress Patty Duke passed away this week, joining a long list of classic TV contributors who have died recently.

As a teen, Duke won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. Duke is best known for her work on the small screen, playing identical cousins Patty and Cathy Lane on The Patty Duke Show (1963-66).

Duke later married actor John Astin (The Addams Family) and two of their sons (Sean, Mackenzie) became actors as well. She passed away Tuesday at age 69.

We also bid farewell to:

  • Producer-voice actress Sylvia Anderson, who teamed up with her husband Gerry to create Supermarionation series like Thunderbirds, Supercar and Fireball XL5
  • Writer Howard Berk, who penned episodes of Columbo, Mission: Impossible and The Rockford Files
  • Actor Peter Brown, best known for his roles on classic westerns Lawman and Laredo
  • Veteran tennis commentator Bud Collins (CBS, NBC, ESPN)
  • Actor James Douglas, who appeared in the primetime soap Peyton Place and daytime dramas Another World, As The World Turns, The Edge of Night and One Life To Live
  • Longtime CBS News correspondent Eric Engberg
  • Baseball player turned TV personality Joe Garagiola
  • Actor George Gaynes, who guested on such classics as Bonanza, Hawaiian Eye, Hawaii Five-0 and Mannix. He may be best remembered for his roles on sitcom Punky Brewster and the Police Academy movies
  • Writer-producer Earl Hamner Jr., creator and voice of The Waltons
  • Actor Robert Horton (Wagon Train)
  • Actor Ken Howard, best remembered for playing basketball coach Ken Reeves on The White Shadow
  • Film actor George Kennedy (Airport, Cool Hand Luke, The Naked Gun), who also worked on the small screen (Dallas, Gunsmoke, McHale’s Navy, The Phil Silvers Show). He starred in two series of his own: Sarge (1971) and The Blue Knight (1975)
  • Actor James Noble, remembered for his role as the governor on the Robert Guillaume sitcom Benson
  • Veteran character actor Joe Santos, who played Lieutenant (Sergeant) Dennis Becker on The Rockford Files
  • Writer-comedian-actor Garry Shandling, who wrote for classic 70s sitcoms Sanford and Son and Welcome Back Kotter. He later guest hosted The Tonight Show and starred in two groundbreaking cable series: It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show
  • Radio personality Charlie Tuna, who was the announcer for a number of classic 70s-80s game and talk shows (The $25,000 Pyramid, The Mike Douglas Show, The Quiz Kids Challenge, Scrabble)
  • Casting executive Renee Valente, who worked on such 1970s classics as The Partridge Family, Police Story, Police Woman and That’s My Mama

Tuned In: More MeTV Winter Changes, RIP Classic Stars

  • Classic TV diginet MeTV is freshening up their schedule starting tomorrow. Brand new additions to the lineup include Diagnosis: Murder (Weekdays 11AM ET) and The Incredible Hulk (Saturdays 7PM ET). Old favorites returning to MeTV: Kojak (Weeknights 2AM ET) and The Twilight Zone (Weeknights 12:30AM). Exiting the schedule: Naked City, The Night Gallery, Route 66 and Quincy M.E. For the complete Winter 2016 MeTV lineup, click here
  • MeTV’s sister network Decades added The Dick Cavett Show to it’s schedule on February 1. Cavett originally aired on ABC late nights from 1969-74, up against The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (now on Antenna TV)
  • NBC-owned classic TV diginet Cozi TV is bringing an NBC classic back to broadcast TV. The long-running family drama Little House on the Prairie joins the Cozi lineup this fall
  • The roll call of classic TV stars we’ve lost continues to grow. We’ve recently said goodbye to actress Noreen Corcoran (Bachelor Father), comedian-actor Bob Elliott (half of the comedy team of Bob & Ray, father of Chris Elliott), actor Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams), actor Pat Harrington Jr. (One Day At A Time), actor-singer Mike Minor (Petticoat Junction), sportscaster Jim Simpson (NBC, ESPN), actor Abe Vigoda (Barney Miller, Fish) and actor Jason Wingreen (All in the Family, Archie Bunker’s Place). Thank you for all the wonderful memories!

Tuned In: MeTV Winter Changes, Farewell Trapper John


  • Classic TV digital network MeTV is tweaking their schedule starting tomorrow. New arrivals include The Patty Duke Show (moving from Antenna TV) at 6AM weekdays and Mama’s Family from 6-7PM weeknights. My Three Sons exits the lineup.
  • Fellow classic TV diginet CoziTV is juggling their lineup for the first quarter, highlighted by the addition of The A-Team (1983-87) and the return of Charlie’s Angels. Dragnet, The Real McCoys, Run For Your Life and Zorro leave the schedule.
  • Actor-turned-investment-guru Wayne Rogers passed away New Year’s Eve. Rogers played Trapper John M.D. on the first 3 seasons of military sitcom M*A*S*H and later portrayed a doctor again on the sitcom House Calls (1979-82). He had previously starred in the 1960-61 western series Stagecoach West and guested on many classic TV shows of the 60s and 70s. Among his credits: The Big Valley, Combat!, The F.B.I., Gomer Pyle USMC and Gunsmoke. Rogers was 82 years old.

Saying Goodbye To More Classic TV Friends

As 2015 draws to a close, we want to recognize a number of classic TV contributors who have passed on recently…

  • Custom car builder George Barris, the man who brought us The Batmobile and The Munster Koach
  • Actor Martin Brooks, best known for his role as Dr. Rudy Wells on The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman
  • Actor David Canary, known to classic TV fans as Candy on the long-running western series Bonanza. He later enjoyed a multi-decade run on the daytime soap All My Children
  • Ray Gandolf, a folksy announcer for CBS Sports back in the 1970s and early 80s. He was the first sportscaster on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt
  • Former child actor Charles Herbert, who guested on such classic series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Donna Reed Show, Family Affair and The Twilight Zone
  • Old-time fiddler Ramona Jones, who appeared with her late husband Grandpa Jones on the country variety series Hee Haw
  • Actress Marjorie Lord, who played Danny Thomas’s character’s wife on on the vintage sitcom Make Room for Daddy
  • Actor Al Markim, best remembered for his role as Astro on the early science-fiction series Tom Corbett Space Cadet
  • Character actor Al Molinaro, beloved by 1970s sitcom fans for his roles as Murray the Cop (The Odd Couple) and diner owner Al Delvecchio (Happy Days)
  • Game show host Jim Perry, who emceed NBC’s Card Sharks and $ale of the Century in the 1970s and 80s
  • Writer James Prideaux, a playwright who later penned episodes of daytime soap The Secret Storm as well as a number of made-for-TV movies
  • Actor Rex Reason, who appeared on a number of early television series including The Alaskans, Man Without a Gun and The Roaring Twenties. He is best known for his role in the cult classic film This Island Earth
  • British actor Nicholas Smith, the last-surviving original cast member of the classic Britcom Are You Being Served?

Rest In Peace, Classic TV Friends

The list of classic TV contributors who have passed away in 2015 continues to grow. In the past few months, we have said goodbye to:

  • Producer Merv Adelson, co-founder of Lorimar Television (Dallas, Eight Is Enough, Knot’s Landing, The Waltons)
  • Composer Van Alexander, who worked on the music for such classic series as Bewitched, Dennis The Menace, The Farmer’s Daughter, Hazel and I Dream of Jeannie
  • British actress Judy Carne, best known for her work on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (Sock it to me!)
  • Actor George Coe, who appeared on daytime dramas The Doctors and Somerset. He was also an original cast member of Saturday Night Live and most recently the voice of Woodhouse on the animated series Archer
  • Actor John Connell, who worked on such early television shows as Danger, Mister Peepers and Studio One. He starred in the daytime drama Young Dr. Malone and later appeared on the classic gothic serial Dark Shadows
  • Child actor Kevin Corcoran, who appeared in a number of Mickey Mouse Club serials like Spin and Marty. He also worked in a number of movies including Old Yeller and The Shaggy Dog
  • Actress Yvonne Craig, forever known to classic TV fans as Barbara Gordon (a.k.a Batgirl) on the 1960s superhero series Batman
  • Child actress Jean Darling, one of the original cast of Our Gang (The Little Rascals) film shorts
  • Football player-turned-commentator Frank Gifford, best known as the long-time voice of ABC’s Monday Night Football
  • Television executive Peter Grad, who served as president of MTM Studios and helped develop such series as The Fall Guy, L.A. Law and Mr. Belvedere
  • Actor-turned-educator Bruce Hyde, who portrayed Lt. Kevin Riley in the original Star Trek
  • Actor-comedian Marty Ingels (I’m Dickens He’s Fenster), the long-time spouse of actress Shirley Jones
  • Writer Ray Jessel, who penned episodes of 1970s classics The Bob Newhart Show, The Carol Burnett Show and The Love Boat
  • Actor Dean Jones, who appeared on classic TV series like Bonanza, Burke’s Law and Ensign O’Toole. He is best known for his work on Disney films including That Darn Cat and Herbie The Love Bug. The latter spawned a short-lived 1982 TV series
  • Actor Jack Larson, photographer-cub reporter Jimmy Olsen on The Adventures of Superman
  • Film actress Joan Leslie, who later guested on television series like Branded, Charlie’s Angels, The Incredible Hulk and Studio 57
  • Television executive Howard Lipstone, who teamed with partner Alan Landsburg to produce such series as In Search Of…, That’s Incredible!, Gimme A Break! and Kate and Allie
  • Actress-writer Peg Lynch, who wrote and starred in the long-running radio and TV sitcom Ethel and Albert
  • Actor Martin Milner, best known for his starring roles on Route 66 (Tod Stiles) and Adam-12 (Officer Pete Malloy)
  • Actress Melody Patterson, Wrangler Jane on the classic 1960s sitcom F-Troop
  • Actor Alex Rocco, who guested on numerous classic series including Batman, Cannon, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Starsky & Hutch. He is perhaps best remembered for his big-screen role as Moe Greene in The Godfather
  • Welsh actor Roger Rees, known for his portrayal of tycoon Robin Colcord on Cheers
  • Producer-director Lela Swift (Dark Shadows, Ryan’s Hope)
  • Actress-singer Pat Woodell, the original Bobbie Jo Bradley on the 1960s sitcom Petticoat Junction. She left after two seasons and was replaced by Lori Saunders
  • Producer Bud Yorkin, who partnered with Norman Lear on classic 1970s sitcoms All In The Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, and Sanford and Son. Lear and Yorkin first worked together on 1950s variety series The Colgate Comedy Hour and The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show