Saturday, December 30, 2006

In Memoriam: Sitcom Actor Deaths in 2006

Today we pay tribute to the sitcom actors, directors and writers that passed away in 2006. We've lost stars from The Andy Griffith Show, The Jeffersons, The Munsters, Father Knows Best, Everybody Loves Raymond, and many more that are greatly missed. They are listed in alphabetical order. The link goes to their Internet Movie Database entry where you can view a list of their credits.

Jerry Belson - He was an Emmy Award-winning writer for shows such as The Tracy Ullman Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Hey, Landlord, Love, American Style and The Odd Couple. Mr. Belson died on October 10, 2006, of prostate cancer at the age of 68.

Peter Boyle

Peter Boyle - He is best remembered probably for his role as Ray Romano's father on the massive hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond that ran from 1996-2005. Most probably didn't know he had health problems over the years. In 1990, Boyle had a stroke and couldn't talk for six months. In 1999, he had a heart attack on the Raymond set. He soon regained his health, however, and returned to the series. Boyle was still working quite actively and just last month he co-starred in the holiday movie series The Santa Clause 3 starring Tim Allen (he has also appeared on the first two installments). Boyle also still a movie or two yet to be released. He was set to start filming on a new movie this February called Chatham. Mr. Boyle has starred or co-starred in many movies and has appeared on many TV series as a guest such as The King of Queens & Cosby (portraying his role from Raymond), The Single Guy, Lois & Clark, The X-Files, NYPD Blue, Flying Blind, Midnight Caller, Cagney & Lacey and Tripping the Rift. He was a regular on two very short lived shows called Philly Heat and Joe Bash. He also had an infamous failed pilot called Poochinski, where Boyle starred as a hard boiled cop who was killed in the line of duty and his soul goes into the body of a dog he had befriended. He even hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1976, but it was Everybody Loves Raymond for who people will remember him for. He was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy series for 7 straight years (1999-2005). He never won an Emmy for the show but he did win an Emmy in 1996 for his guest spot on The X-Files and was also nominated in 1989 for his guest spot on Midnight Caller and his first nomination was in 1977 for the TV-movie Tail Gunner Joe. Mr. Boyle passed away on December 12, 2006, at the age of 71, at New York Presbyterian Hospital after suffering from multiple myeloma and heart disease.

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown - She was known mainly for her singing, but she also was on sitcoms. She established Atlantic Records in the 50s and 60s, with lots of hit songs. In all, Brown charted 24 singles, only three of which failed to reach the R&B top 10. After her split with Atlantic in the early '60s, Brown's fortunes waned; for a time, she worked as a domestic. Under the aegis of comic Redd Foxx, she began a comeback in the late '70s, appearing on such TV sitcoms as Hello, Larry and The Jeffersons. She also was a regular on the short-lived Jeffersons spin-off Checking In. Ms. Brown died at age 78 on November 17, 2006, from complications following a heart attack and stroke she suffered after surgery in October 2006.

Harvey Bullock - He was a television and film writer and producer. His work included episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., Hogan's Heroes, Love, American Style, My World and Welcome to It, Alice and The Love Boat. Mr. Bullock passed away on April 24, 2006, due to an age-related illness at age 84.

Red Buttons

Red Buttons - He was an Academy Award-winning actor and comedian. In 1952, Buttons received his own variety series on television - The Red Buttons Show - which ran for three years, and achieved high levels of success. His many memorable TV appearances include Cosby, Roseanne, The Cosby Show, 227, The Love Boat and Love, American Style. Mr. Buttons died of vascular disease on July 13, 2006, at his home in the Century City area of Los Angeles. He was 87 years old.

Jean Byron

Jean Byron - Byron had more than 80 credits in film and television over a long career, but was likely best remembered for her role as the mother, Natalie Lane, on The Patty Duke Show. She appeared on many TV series as a guest over the years including The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Dobie Gillis, Batman, Maude, and Mannix. Byron's final acting appearance was the "Patty Duke Show Reunion" movie in 1999. Ms. Byron passed away on February 3, 2006, of an infection following hip surgery at the age of 80.

Pat Corley

Pat Corley -He was best known as Phil the barkeep on Murphy Brown. Corley has guest starred on many sitcoms before such Mr. Belvedere, Coach, House Calls, Domestic Life, He's the Mayor, Night Court and the Saved by the Bell Wedding in Las Vegas. He has guest starred on many TV dramas as well, such as The Waltons, Starsky & Hutch, L.A. Law, Falcon Crest, Moonlighting, St. Elsewhere and so many more. He had a recurring role on Hill Street Blues as Chief Coroner Wally Nydorf. Mr. Corley died on September 11, 2006, of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California at the age of 76.

Franklin Cover

Franklin Cover - Cover was best known for his role as Tom Willis, who was in an interracial marriage with a black woman, in The Jeffersons. Cover guest starred on many TV series over the years including The Jackie Gleason Show, The Love Boat, 227, Who's the Boss?, Living Single, Coach, Mad About You and Will & Grace. Mr. Cover died on February 5, 2006, of pneumonia at the age of 77 at the Lillian Booth Actor's Fund of America home in Englewood, New Jersey. He had been living at the home since December 2005 while recuperating from a heart condition.

Robert Donner

Robert Donner - He made more than 100 TV and film appearances over a 40-year career. He had recurring roles as Exidor on the Robin Williams ABC sitcom Mork and Mindy and Yancy Tucker on the CBS drama The Waltons. He appeared on dozens of series as a guest, including Bonanza, Columbo, Big Valley, The Incredible Hulk, The Six Million Dollar Man, Murder, She Wrote, Fame, MacGyver, Married...with Children, Hearts Afire, Dharma & Greg and Matlock. His most recent sitcom appearance was on the CBS series, Center of the Universe, starring John Goodman. Mr. Donner away passed away on June 8, 2006, of a heart attack at the age of 75 in Sherman Oaks, California.

Mike Evans

Mike Evans - He was best known for his role as Lionel Jefferson on All in the Family and The Jeffersons. Evans is also famous for co-creating and writing the popular sitcom Good Times with Eric Monte. He has not acted in anything really since The Jeffersons, which he left for and was replaced by Damon Evans (no relation) for a few years and then he came back to. In the '70s he guest starred on series such as Love American Style, The Streets of San Francisco and the short-lived sitcom The Practice. His last credit (and his first credit since The Jeffersons ended) listed was for a Walker Texas Ranger episode in 2000...but was that him really or not? In recent years he had invested in real estate in Southern California. Mr. Evans died of throat cancer at his mother's home in Twentynine Palms, California on December 14, 2006. He was only 57.

Paul Gleason

Paul Gleason - He is best remembered as Principal Richard Vernon in The Breakfast Club. During his career - which spanned five decades, Gleason starred in blockbuster movies such as Die Hard, Trading Places and National Lampoon's Van Wilder. He also appeared in various TV shows as a guest such as the sitcoms Friends, Malcolm in the Middle, Seinfeld, Cursed, Veronica's Closet, Grace Under Fire, NewsRadio, Boy Meets World, The Wonder Years and George Lopez; and TV dramas such as Dawson's Creek, Life Goes On, Cold Case, LA Law, The A-Team and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Mr. Gleason passed away on May 27, 2006, at the age of 67 at a Burbank, California hospital from mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer connected with asbestos.

Barnard Hughes

Barnard Hughes - He was best known for his roles on Doc (70s version), Blossom, The Cavanaughs, and the short-lived sitcom Mr. Merlin. He received an Emmy Award in 1978 for a guest appearance on Lou Grant, and began appearing on television in the 1950s in shows such as Kraft Television Theatre and The U.S. Steel Hour. He appeared on other series as a guest such as All in the Family, Hawaii Five-0, The Bob Newhart Show, The Love Boat, Hotel and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd. He later had stints on the soap operas The Guiding Light, The Secret Storm and As the World Turns. He had a Broadway career dating back to 1935 and has won Tony Awards. Mr. Hughes died on July 11, 2006, after a brief illness. He was 90.

Bruno Kirby

Bruno Kirby - He was best remembered for his movie roles in City Slickers, When Harry Met Sally, and The Godfather: Part II, but he was also on TV. He guest starred on sitcoms such as The Super, M*A*S*H, Room 222, Detective School, Frasier, Mad About You and It's Garry Shandling's Show. He was last seen this past season on an episode of HBO's Entourage. Mr. Kirby passed away on August 14, 2006, at age 57 in Los Angeles from complications related to leukemia.

Don Knotts

Don Knotts - Don Knotts of course was a big time TV star who co-starred with Andy Griffith as Deputy Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show (a role which earned him five Emmy Awards) in the '60s and joined the cast of the John Ritter sitcom Three's Company in the 1979-80 season as Mr. Furley. Both Fife and Furley were memorable characters. Both different yet so similar in style. He has made tons of memorable movies, too, such as The Incredible Mr. Limpett and The Ghost & Mr. Chicken. He also appeared on other shows as a guest star, such as Dobie Gillis, Joey Bishop, Mayberry RFD, Here's Lucy, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, She's the Sheriff, Step by Step, Newhart, with John Ritter again on the 'Three's Company' episode of 8 Simple Rules, last season on Las Vegas, and he had a recurring role on Andy Griffith's other series Matlock. He also was the host of his own show in 1970 titled The Don Knotts Show. Mr. Knotts passed away on February 24, 2006, of pulmonary and respiratory complications related to lung cancer at the age of 81.

Al Lewis

Al Lewis - He is most remembered playing Grandpa Munster on the hit 1960s sitcom The Munsters. He also co-starred on the sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?. He made guest appearances on TV series such as The Phil Silvers Show, Gomer Pyle, Green Acres, Love American Style, Here's Lucy and Taxi. He played Grandpa Munster in many reunion movies of The Munsters and also played Grandpa Munster on the ABC/Nick at Nite sitcom Hi Honey, I'm Home in 1991. Mr. Lewis died on February 3, 2006, of natural causes at the age of 82 in New York City.


Mako (Makoto Iwamatsu) - He was a pioneering Japanese-American actor. He appeared on M*A*S*H, playing multiple roles such as a Chinese doctor, North Korean soldier, and South Korean Major. Some of his other sitcom appearances included Lost at Home, Platypus Man, Frasier, The Facts of Life, Love, American Style, F Troop, Gidget, I Dream of Jeannie and McHale's Navy. Mako died on July 21, 2006, at the age of 72 after a long battle with esophageal cancer.

Darren McGavin

Darren McGavin - He was something of a patron saint for rumpled old reporters in his role as Kolchak on the original ABC show, Kolchak: The Night Stalker. McGavin also was known for his role as the father in the holiday movie classic, A Christmas Story. He was the title role in the TV series Mike Hammer. He was also the father of Candice Bergen's Murphy Brown, which earned him an Emmy nomination for a guest appearance. McGavin even had his own sitcom, a short lived 1983 sitcom that lasted six episodes for CBS called Small & Frye. He made the rounds on various TV series such as Grace Under Fire, The Commish, The Love Boat, Love American Style, and Mannix. Mr. McGavin died on February 25, 2006, of natural causes at the age of 83.


Moose - He was Kelsey Grammer's Jack Russell terrier sidekick, known as Eddie on the long-running show, Frasier. Moose played Eddie for 10 years on the former NBC must-see TV staple and was known for his ability to steal scenes from his human costars. His resume includes: My Dog Skip, as an older version of Skip (who was played by his son, Enzo), gracing the covers of Life, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly, and penning his autobiography, My Life As a Dog, with a little help from TV writer Brian Hargrove (Wanda At Large, Titus). In 2003, Animal Planet ranked Eddie the Dog fifth in its 50 Greatest TV Animals special, behind only Lassie, Kermit the Frog, Flipper and Mister Ed. Moose passed away on June 22, 2006, at the ripe old age of 15 and a half.

Kasey Rogers

Kasey Rogers - She was best known probably for her role as Louise Tate on the hit sitcom Bewitched. She was a series regular on Peyton Place. She has guest starred on series such as Perry Mason, Marcus Welby, Maverick, Hawaiian Eye, Adam-12, Wyatt Earp and Cheyenne. She had basically stoped acting in recent years, but she did interviews for The E! True Hollywood Story: Bewitched and TV Land Confidential. Ms. Rogers died from complications from a stroke on July 6, 2006, at the age of 79.

Herbert Rudley

Herbert Rudley - He hadn't acted since the early '80s, but he had a massive list of credits from the '40s to the '80s. His sitcom credits include The Mothers-in-Law, My Living Doll, The Beverly Hillbillies, Leave it to Beaver, My Favorite Martian, Green Acres, The Munsters, I Dream of Jeannie and House Calls. Mr. Rudley passed away on September 9, 2006, of a heart attack in Los Angeles. He was 95.

Pablo Santos

Pablo Santos - He was best known for his role on the WB short-lived sitcom Greetings from Tucson. In his short-lived career he had guest starred on TV series such as Alias, Law & Order: SVU, Boston Public and The Shield. He died at age 19 in a small-plane crash in central Mexico. Santos and six friends were flying from Monterrey to Acapulco when their Piper Malibu crashed during an emergency landing at the airport in Toluca, about 35 miles west of Mexico City, the Mexico State Security Agency said. The plane was owned by Santos' father. The crash also claimed the life of Santos' friend, Martel Fernandez, 19. Officials are still investigating the cause of the crash, but suspect the plane crashed because it was overloaded.

Aaron Spelling

Aaron Spelling - He produced over 200 movies and TV shows. He brought us The Love Boat and many other hit shows. He also appeared in a 1955 episode of I Love Lucy. In 1986, he produced Life with Lucy - starring Lucille Ball. Mr. Spelling passed away on June 23, 2006, from complications of a stroke at the age of 83. See our Remembering Aaron Spelling entry for many more details on the life of the world's most prolific television producer.

Richard Stahl

Richard Stahl - He was an actor whose more than 40-year career stretched from New York theater to film and television comedies such as Laverne & Shirley. Stahl guest starred on many sitcoms such as Empty Nest, Living Single, Married...with Children, Hudson Street, The Golden Girls, Good Grief, Night Court, Newhart, Who's the Boss?, Family Ties, The Facts of Life, Barney Miller, Love Sidney, Benson, What's Happening!!, House Calls, The Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Happy Days, On the Rocks, Maude, That's My Mama, Good Times, Archie Bunker's Place, The Tom Show, The Partridge Family, Harry and the Hendersons, All in the Family, That Girl, Love American Style and Soap. He also was a series regular on the '80s sitcom It's a Living and short-lived sitcoms Turnabout starring Sharon Gless and Struck by Lightning. And had recurring roles on The Odd Couple and Laverne & Shirley. Mr. Stahl passed away on June 18, 2006, at the age of 74 after a 10-year battle with Parkinson's disease.

Robert Sterling

Robert Sterling - He was best known for the 1953-1956 TV series Topper, based on the Thorne Smith novel, and the 1937 film starring Cary Grant and Constance Bennett. He appeared with his wife Anne Jeffreys in the television series. Sterling and Jeffreys played George and Marion Kirby, a fun-loving couple killed in an accident but returned as ghosts to haunt the new occupant of their home, a banker named Cosmo Topper. Sterling appeared as a guest star in series such as Love American Style, Nanny & the Professor, Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Murder She Wrote, Hotel, Simon & Simon and Fantasy Island. Mr. Sterling died on May 30, 2006, of natural causes at the age of 88 at his home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles.

Amzie Strickland

Amzie Strickland - She was best known for her guest starring roles on classic TV shows, but she also had a recurring role on short-lived shows such as Carter Country and Full Circle. Among her many guest roles include a few characters on The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Leave it to Beaver, I Love Lucy, My Favorite Martian, The Donna Reed Show, Gomer Pyle, F Troop, Petticoat Junction, The Doris Day Show, Happy Days, The Bob Newhart Show, Flo, Three's Company, The Golden Girls, ALF, Murphy Brown, Empty Nest, Full House, Sister Sister, Roseanne, Ned & Stacey, Wings, Ellen and many many more! Ms. Strickland suffered from Alzheimer's disease and had not acted in 5 years. She passed away on July 5, 2006, at the age of 87.

Jack Warden

Jack Warden - He was nominated for a few Oscars for a few films and won an Emmy Award for the TV-Movie Brian's Song in 1971. He started his career way back in the early '50s. He moved to NY after serving in the Army and Navy during World War II. His first major break however was in 1952 when got the role of the Coach in the sitcom Mr. Peepers. He had quite a handful of films in the '50s, too. He was in another short-lived sitcom in 1955 called Norby. He did a lot of guest spots in the '50s and '60s, too, such as Bewitched, Route 66, 77 Sunset Strip, Bonanza. He also starred in the ABC drama N.Y.P.D, which lasted from 1967-69. The '70s he became a star of film and TV movies, notching Oscar nominations and an Emmy award. Later in the decade he starred in the TV comedy The Bad News Bears for CBS, but just lasted one season, 1979-80. Also, that year he tried to revive the classic sitcom Topper, but it didn't make it on-air. The '80s saw more films and TV movies, and also two TV series--a funny crime drama Crazy Like a Fox from 1984-86 (which got him two more Emmy nominations) and the sitcom Knight & Dave in 1989. In the '90s he starred in more TV-movies and films, including the popular Problem Child movies starring John Ritter, playing Big Ben Healy. Some of his last films include Bullworth, Dirty Work, and The Replacements in 2000. Mr. Warden passed away on July 19, 2006, of heart and kidney failure. He was 85.

Shelley Winters

Shelley Winters - She was a two-time Academy Award-winning actress for The Diary of Anne Frank and A Patch of Blue. In her later years, she played the recurring role of Nana Mary on Roseanne from 1991-1996. Her other sitcom appearances included The Love Boat, Chico and the Man and Here's Lucy. Ms. Winters passed away on January 14, 2006, of heart failure at the age of 85.

Jane Wyatt

Jane Wyatt - Jane Wyatt, the actress who for six years on Father Knows Best (starring Robert Young) was one of TV's favorite moms. . She was best known for her role on the family sitcom as Robert Young's TV wife, Margaret Anderson that brought the actress her lasting fame. She appeared in 207 half-hour episodes from 1954 to 1960 and won three Emmys as best actress in a dramatic series in the years 1958 to 1960. The show began as a radio sitcom in 1949; it moved to television in 1954. After its run ended, it continued in reruns on CBS and ABC for three years in primetime, a TV rarity. The show came to an end because Young, who had also played the father in the radio version, had enough. Wyatt remarked in 1965 that she was tired, too. Besides this show, she did mostly movies, but she did have some other TV works (mainly one-hour dramas) such as Star Trek, Love, American Style, Here Come the Brides, Marcus Welby, Owen Marshall, Alias Smith & Jones, The Virginian, Medical Center, Quincy, St. Elsewhere, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Hotel, and even Happy Days. Ms. Wyatt died in her sleep of natural causes on October 20, 2006, at the age of 96.

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, March 21

The Goldbergs - "The Scrunchie Rule" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Beverly gets a glimpse into a soon-to-be empty nest, she replaces her kids with the Mellor brothers, nursing Coach Mellor back to health after falling off the rope climb. Meanwhile, Erica and her college roommate get on each other’s nerves in their dorm room, especially when Valley Erica puts a scrunchie on the door and kicks Erica out.

Speechless - "N-O-- NOMINEE" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
JJ travels to a film festival where he’s been nominated for an award but is upset when he learns the real reason he’s being honored. Jimmy stays home and struggles to protect Dylan from the truth about an impending eviction. And Ray takes an unlikely and painful route to basketball stardom in hopes of winning back Taylor.

Modern Family - "Wine Weekend" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The family goes on a wine tasting trip and stays in Haley’s new boss’ country house where the only rule is: Don’t touch the tiara! Meanwhile, Gloria and Mitch are invited to a party at Oprah’s house but can’t bring anyone else.

American Housewife - "It's Hard to Say Goodbye" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Katie and Greg struggle to help the kids accept loss as a family friend suddenly passes away and as their pet pig, Hans Gruber, must be returned to his natural habitat.

Schitt's Creek - "The Gesture" (Pop, 8:00PM ET/PT)
David looks for a way to reconcile with Patrick after spending time away from him; Moira pitches the idea of a singles week event.

grown-ish - "Crew Love" (Freeform, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The crew prepares for Freshman Formal; Jazz revels in a new relationship.

Alone Together - "Property Management" (Freeform, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Benji and Esther get swept up in the allure of retirement life.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 19)

Wednesday, March 21

  • Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Luis) - Watch Charlie on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Monty/Out of Practice/Arrested Development) - Henry appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Sabrina Carpenter (Girl Meets World) - Sabrina is a musical guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Keri Russell (Running Wilde) - Keri visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kim Matula (LA to Vegas) - Kim stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Krysten Ritter (Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - Krysten appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings. He will also be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Mila Kunis (That '70s Show/Family Guy) - Mila appears The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jenna Fischer (Splitting Up Together/The Office) and Oliver Hudson (Splitting Up Together/Rules of Engagement) - Jenna and Oliver are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jussie Smollett (On Our Own) - Jussie visits The Wendy Williams Show and Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Jason Jones and Natalie Zea (The Detour) - Jason and Natalie are guests on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Eric Christian Olsen (The Loop) - Eric appears on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Louie Anderson (Baskets/The Louie Show/Life with Louie) - Louie opens up about his alcoholic father's rough childhood – and why he doesn't hold anything against him today on People Now at 8:30am.
  • Jason George (Eve) - Jason talks about Station 19 on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and the BUILD Series at 1pm.
  • Kyle MacLachlan (Sex and the City) - Kyle talks about Portlandia on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Dove Cameron (Liv and Maddie) - Dove talks about Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on the BUILD Series at 12pm.
  • Liv Hewson (Santa Clarita Diet) - Liv talks about Santa Clarita Diet on the BUILD Series at 4pm.