Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Names are listed in alphabetical order by surname. Visit the IMDB and Wikipedia links for a full listing of their credits and other biographical information. View video interviews at the Archive of American Television links.
Paul Ainsley (IMDB)
Paul Ainsley was best known to sitcom fans for playing Jim the Bartender in the hit sitcom Three's Company. Paul had a multi-season guest role on the series from seasons 1-5, playing the main bartender at the Regal Beagle, before being replaced by Brad Blaisdell (who played Mike the Bartender) for the rest of the series' run. He was also a fixture in the theater world. He created the role of King Herod in the original Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Paul died on January 19, 2013, in Los Angeles from heart-related complications. Mr. Ainsley was was 67.
Among his other guest appearances on TV series were Wings, Babylon 5, and Weird Science. His other select theater career highlights include: originating Thenardier in the first national company of Les Miserables; essaying Mr. Darling/Captain Hook to Cathy Rigby's Peter Pan; succeeding Barry Bostwick and Jim Belushi as the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance and playing Herbie to Karen Morrow's Rose in Gypsy. Back in 2007, Paul spoke to our friend Eric of JustMyShow.com for an episode of his popular podcast. Another one of our friends, Chris Mann, mentioned there was a memorial for Paul Ainsley on Feb. 3 and Joyce DeWitt wrote a very nice note for the Ainsley family.
Character actor Allan Arbus was best known for his recurring role as the psychiatrist Major Sidney Freedman in M*A*S*H. He died on April 19, 2013, at his home in Los Angeles from congestive heart failure. Mr. Arbus was 95.
Arbus appeared as the sarcastic psychiatrist Major Sidney Freedman in a dozen episodes of M*A*S*H. He first guest starred in the season two episode, "Radar's Report." The character was originally called Milton Freedman. His final appearance was in the series finale, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen." Arbus was the only non-regular cast member to be interviewed in the M*A*S*H 30th Anniversary Special, which aired on Fox on May 17, 2002. In 2009, he appeared at the 7th Annual TV Land Awards where M*A*S*H received the Impact Award.
He had recurring roles in several other television series. In 1979, he played Mitch Hannigan, the owner of the Playland Cafe, in the short-lived CBS sitcom Working Stiffs, which starred Jim Belushi and Michael Keaton. He appeared as Goodman in the 1981 NBC drama The Gangster Chronicles. In 1984, he played Boris Elliot in the CBS sitcom The Four Seasons. His character was a successful attorney and friend of Danny Zimmer (Jack Weston). Barbara Babcock played his wife Lorraine Elliot.
Other comedy guest appearances included Here Come the Brides, The Odd Couple, Karen, The Tony Randall Show, Taxi, Duet, Stat, Brooklyn Bridge and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Some of his many other television appearances included Hawaii Five-0, Wonder Woman, The Rockford Files, Starsky & Hutch, Quincy, M.E.,, L.A. Law, Matlock, Hunter, Law & Order, In the Heat of the Night, NYPD Blue and Judging Amy. Arbus' film credits included Greaser's Palace, Scream, Pretty Peggy, W.C. Fields and Me, Coffy, Damien: Omen II and Crossroads .
James Avery laid down the law at home and on the job as the Honorable Philip Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He died on December 31, 2013, from complications following open heart surgery in a Los Angeles suburb hospital, Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Mr. Avery was 68 (or 65 according to some sources).
Avery, who stood more than 6 feet tall, played the family patriarch and a wealthy attorney and judge on the popular TV comedy that launched the acting career of Will Smith as Banks' trouble-making nephew. The sitcom, which aired on NBC from 1990 to 1996, was set in the Banks' mansion, where Smith's character was sent from Philadelphia when things got tough in his own neighborhood. Fans came to know the imposing Banks as "Uncle Phil." There was a brief reunion in late 2011 where the cast reunited at a charity luncheon (see Will Smith's photo).
Avery liked to say that the way to be an actor was to act, and he had a busy and diverse career before, during and after Fresh Prince. His TV credits included MANY TV guest stints on Grey's Anatomy, Harry's Law, Sherri, Eli Stone, The Closer, All of Us, That's So Raven, Girlfriends, My Wife & Kids, NYPD Blue, Charmed, That '70s Show, All About the Andersons, Soul Food, Crossing Jordan, Reba, The Division, Judging Amy, Dharma & Greg, The Jamie Foxx, Two Guys and a Girl, CSI, Sparks, In the House, Roc, LA Law, Amen, A Different World, The Hogan Family, 227, Webster, The Jeffersons, Hill Street Blues and Dallas, and among his many films were Fletch, Nightflyers and 8 Million Ways to Die. His voice alone brought him many jobs, notably as Shredder in the animated '80s and '90s TV series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
He will be seen in the film Wish I Was Here, directed by Zach Braff and scheduled to premiere later this month (January 2014) at the Sundance festival. He was recently seen on two TV movies that aired on Lifetime: Hunt for the Labyrinth Killer and Call Me Crazy: A Five Film. Avery grew up in Atlantic City, N.J., and served in the Navy in Vietnam in the late 1960s. After returning to the states, he settled in California and studied drama and literature at the University of California at San Diego.
Veteran actor Conrad Bain was best known for his roles as Phillip Drummond in Diff'rent Strokes and Dr. Arthur Harmon in Maude. He died of natural causes on January 14, 2013, at a retirement home in Livermore, California. Mr. Bain was 89.
Conrad Bain was born on February 4, 1923, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. His career began as a stage actor in a Connecticut production of Dear Ruth in 1947. Bain's other theatre credits included The Iceman Cometh, Candide, Advise and Consent, An Enemy of the People, Uncle Vanya and On Borrowed Time.
Bain's television career began in 1952 with an appearance in Studio One. His early television guest appearances included The Defenders, The Trials of O'Brien and N.Y.P.D.. In 1966, he played Mr. Wells, the town innkeeper, in Dark Shadows. He appeared in four episodes in the first two seasons before his character was killed off by werewolf Chris Jennings. In 1970, he appeared as Dr. Charles Weldon #1 in The Edge of Night. Bain's film credits in the 1960s and 1970s included Madigan, A Lovely Way to Die, Coogan's Bluff, I Never Sang for My Father, Bananas, The Anderson Tapes, Up the Sandbox and C.H.O.M.P.S.
In 1972, he landed his first starring television role in Maude. The All in the Family spin-off aired for 6 seasons on CBS from 1972-1978. The series starred Bea Arthur, Bill Macy, Adrienne Barbeau, Rue McClanahan and Esther Rolle (1972-1974). Bain played the role of Dr. Arthur Harmon, Maude and Walter Findlay's next-door neighbor and the best friend of Walter. Arthur was initially a widower in the series, but he later started dating Maude's best friend, Vivian (Rue McClanahan), at the beginning of the second season. Their characters were married in the middle of the season in February 1974. His identical twin brother, Bonar Bain, played his twin brother Arnold in the 1977 episode Vivian's Surprise.
Bain's best known role was as Phillip Drummond in Diff'rent Strokes. The popular sitcom ran for 8 seasons on NBC from 1978-1985 and ABC from 1985-1986. Philip Drummond was the wealthy father of daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato) and adopted sons Arnold (Gary Coleman) and Willis (Todd Bridges). Their family lived in an apartment on Park Avenue in Manhattan. He was the president of the huge conglomerate Trans Allied, Inc. Bain also appeared as Mr. Drummond in The Facts of Life pilot episode and the crossover episodes with Hello, Larry. In 1996, he reprised his role and appeared with Gary Coleman as prospective buyers of the mansion in the final episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He reunited with Coleman and Bridges in March 2003 at the TV Land Awards to present the award for "Funniest Food Fight."
Following the end of Diff'rent Strokes, he appeared in the 1987-1988 Fox sitcom Mr. President. He played the affable Charlie Ross, who was the loyal Chief of Staff to President Samuel Arthur Tresch (George C. Scott). In 1990, he played the role of Grandpa in the film Postcards from the Edge. He had been retired from acting since 1996, except for a stage role in Ancestral Voices in 2000.
Frank Bank was best known as Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford in Leave it to Beaver. He died on April 13, 2013, in Rancho Mirage, California from undisclosed causes. Mr. Bank had just celebrated his 71st birthday the day before on April 12.
Bank first appeared in Leave it to Beaver in the first season episode "Lumpy Rutherford" on January 24, 1958. Lumpy was one of Wally's friends and the son of Fred Rutherford, who worked with Ward. Bank appeared in 50 episodes of the series during the six season run. He reprised his role in the sequel series, Still the Beaver/The New Leave it to Beaver, on The Disney Channel from 1985-1986 and WTBS from 1986-1989. In 1997, he had a cameo as Frank in the Leave it to Beaver film.
His other television guest appearances included The Ford Television Theatre, Father Knows Best, Cimarron City, Westinghouse Playhouse, 87th Precinct and Bachelor Father. He was also cast as Archie Andrews in the 1962 unsold pilot, Archie. In 1983, he appeared on Family Feud and Hollywood Squares. His film credits included The Story of Will Rogers as a young Will Rogers in 1952 and the 1983 TV movie High School U.S.A.. After his acting career ended, he became a stock-and-bond broker in Los Angeles. His autobiography, Call Me Lumpy: My Leave it to Beaver Days and Other Wild Hollywood Life, was released in 1997.
Eileen Brennan was an Emmy-Award winning actress for her role as Capt. Doreen Lewis in the TV adaptation of Private Benjamin. She died at her home in Burbank, California on July 28, 2013, of bladder cancer. Ms. Brennan was 80.
Her first starring role in a sitcom was in 13 Queens Boulevard in 1979 on ABC. She later played Kit Flanagan in the 1979-1980 ABC sitcom A New Kind of Family. She reprised her role of Capt. Doreen Lewis from the 1980 film in the 1981-1983 sitcom Private Benjamin on CBS. She won both a Golden Globe (lead actress) and Emmy (supporting actress) for her performance in 1981. Brennan received four other Emmy nominations for her guest appearances in Newhart, thirtysomething, Taxi and Will & Grace. In 1985, she starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom Off the Rack with Edward Asner. She had a recurring role in Blossom as the neighbor/confidant of Blossom. Her other sitcom guest appearances included All in the Family, The Love Boat, Home Improvement, Thunder Alley, Veronica's Closet and Mad About You.
George Burditt was a television writer and producer. He died on June 25, 2013, in Burbank, California. Mr. Burditt was 89.
Burditt wrote over thirty episodes of Three's Company. He also worked as an executive story consultant on over fifty episodes from 1976-1979. He served as a producer on the show for the final three seasons from 1981-1984. In addition to his credits on Three's Company, he worked on the spin-off series. He wrote eight episodes of The Ropers and three episodes of Three's a Crowd, which he also served as an executive producer on for its one season. He was interviewed for the E! True Hollywood Story in 1998 and the A&E Biography special on Three's Company in 2009.
His other sitcom writing credits included All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons and Doc. He earned four Emmy nominations for his writing on the variety series The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour (1972 and 1974) and Van Dyke and Company (1976 and 1977). His other production credits included Silver Spoons and 227.
Dennis Burkley played Cal Pettie, the junkyard partner of Fred G. Sanford, in Sanford. He died in his sleep of a heart attack in Sherman Oaks, California on July 14, 2013. Mr. Burkley was 67.
Burkley played Sam Dickey in the short-lived sitcom Hanging In on CBS in 1979. His other sitcom guest apperances included The Texas Wheelers, Maude, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Gimme a Break!, Who's the Boss?, Evening Shade, The Drew Carey Show, King of the Hill (voice) and My Name Is Earl.
Frank Comstock was a composer for many television series. He died on May 21, 2013, in Huntington Beach, California. Mr. Comstock was 90.
He was the composer for four seasons of Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. His other sitcom credits included Ensign O'Toole, Gilligan's Island, McHale's Navy and F Troop. He wrote the theme and incidental music for Rocky and His Friends. In 1971, he earned an Emmy nomination for his work on Adam-12.
Joe Conley is most remembered for his role as storekeeper Ike Godsey in The Waltons. He died on July 7, 2013, in Newbury Park, California of complications from dementia. Mr. Conley was 85.
He appeared in six episodes of Mister Ed as various characters. His other sitcom guest appearances included The People's Choice, The Gale Storm Show, Make Room for Daddy, Dennis the Menace, Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies and The Brady Bunch.
Daniel Escobar played Mr. Escobar, a teacher on the Disney Channel TV series, Lizzie McGuire. He died in a Los Angeles hospital from complications of diabetes on December 13, 2013. Mr. Escobar was 49.
His other sitcom credits included Murphy Brown, Men Behaving Badly, The Steve Harvey Show, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Malcolm in the Middle, Dharma & Greg, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother.
Dennis Farina made apperances in many television series and films. He died on July 22, 2013, in a hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona after suffering a pulmonary embolism. Mr. Farina was 69.
Farina played Detective Joe Fontana in Law & Order from 2004-2006. He appeared as Lt. Mike Torello in Crime Story from 1986-1988. In 1998, he starred in Buddy Faro on CBS. He appeared in the sitcom In-Laws on NBC in 2002-2003. He guest starred in two episodes of New Girl as Nick's father, Walt Miller. In 2008, he began hosting and narrating newly repackaged episodes of Unsolved Mysteries for Spike TV.
Actress Bonnie Franklin was best known for her starring role as divorced mother Ann Romano in One Day at a Time. She died on March 1, 2013, at her Los Angeles home from complications of pancreatic cancer. Ms. Franklin was 69.
Franklin made her television debut on The Colgate Comedy Hour at age 9. She had an uncredited role in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Wrong Man in 1956. Her early television guest appearances included Shower of Stars, Cavalcade of Stars, Mr. Novak, Profiles in Courage, Karen, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Gidget, Please Don't Eat the Daisies and The Munsters. In 1970, she made her debut on Broadway in the musical Applause. Her work in the show-business drama, which starred Lauren Bacall, won her a Tony nomination.
Franklin's signature role came in 1975 when she landed the role of Ann Romano in One Day at a Time. She was the divorced mother of Julie (Mackenzie Phillips) and Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli) in the series, which was set in Indianapolis. Pat Harrington, Jr. played the building superintendent Dwayne Schneider. The popular CBS sitcom ran for 9 seasons and 209 episodes from 1975-1984. Franklin received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1982. She also received two Golden Globe nominations in 1982-1983 for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical. In the show's final season in 1984, she directed two episodes of the series. The cast reunited several times, including a 2005 CBS reunion special and a 2008 Today show appearance on NBC. In 2012, Franklin and the rest of the cast received the "Innovator Award" at the 10th Annual TV Land Awards.
After One Day at a Time ended in 1984, she continued to make guest appearances, direct episodic series and worked in regional theater. In 1987, she starred as Sister Margaret in the television movie Sister Margaret and the Saturday Night Ladies. She made guest appearances in Burke's Law, Almost Perfect, Touched by an Angel and The Young and the Restless. In 2011, she reunited with Bertinelli in the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland. She played Agnieszka, the mother of Bertinelli's character's boyfriend. Her directing credits included episodes of Karen's Song, Charles in Charge and The Munsters Today.
William Froug was a television writer and producer. He died on August 25, 2013, in Sarasota, Florida. Mr. Froug was 91.
Froug worked as a producer on Gilligan's Island and Bewitched. His other television production credits included Adventures in Paradise, Sam Benedict and Twilight Zone. He wrote episodes of Adventures of Paradise, The Paper Chase, Quincy, M.E., Charlie's Angels and The New Twilight Zone.
Virginia Gibson starred in the 1955 NBC sitcom So This Is Hollywood. She died on April 25, 2013, in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Ms. Gibson was 88.
Gibson was a regular on The Johnny Carson Show and later Your Hit Parade. She co-hosted the children's documentary program Discovery. She guest starred in an episode of The Ray Milland Show.
Television writer and producer was best known for his work on Family Ties and Spin City. He died after a long battle with brain cancer in Montecito, California on June 22, 2013. Mr. Goldberg was 68.
Goldberg's career in Hollywood began in 1976 as a writer for The Bob Newhart Show. His early writing credits included The Dumplings, Phyllis, Alice and M*A*S*H. Goldberg worked as a story editor, writer and producer on The Tony Randall Show, which aired on ABC and later CBS from 1976-1978. He next worked as a writer and producer for Lou Grant, which was a CBS newspaper drama and a spinoff from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He received an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for his work as a co-producer on the series. In 1979, he created and executive produced the short-lived sitcom The Last Resort for CBS.
In 1982, he formed his own production company called Ubu Productions. The company was named after his black labrador retriever, Ubu Roi, which he had in college. The famous closing logo included the dog's picture with Goldberg's voice saying "Sit, Ubu, sit! ...Good dog!", followed by the sound of a bark. Ubu Productions' notable television series included Family Ties, Brooklyn Bridge and Spin City.
Goldberg created Family Ties in 1982. The series starred Meredith Baxter-Birney, Michael Gross, Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman and Tina Yothers. The critical and ratings hit ran on NBC for 7 seasons and 180 episodes from 1982-1989. Family Ties was nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series 4 times from 1984-1987. Michael J. Fox won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 3 times in 1986-1988. In 1987, Goldberg shared an Emmy Award with co-writer Alan Uger for the episode 'A', My Name Is Alex. The series won the Fan Favorite Award at the TV Land Awards in 2011.
In 1991, he created the semi-autobiographical series Brooklyn Bridge. The dramedy ran for 2 seasons on CBS from 1991-1993. The series starred Marion Ross, Danny Gerard, Louis Zorich, Amy Aquino, Peter Friedman, Matthew Louis Segel, Adam LaVorgna and Jenny Lewis. Brooklyn Bridge won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy/Musical series in 1992.
Goldberg co-created and executive produced Spin City. The series reunited him with Michael J. Fox and also starred Barry Bostwick, Alan Ruck, Richard Kind, Alexander Chaplin, Connie Britton and Michael Boatman. Fox received 4 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and won in 2000. Goldberg worked as an executive producer in seasons 1-3 and 5-6.
His other credits included creating the 1987-1988 NBC drama The Bronx Zoo, which starred Ed Asner. In 1996, he created the 1996 sitcom Champs for ABC. He created the short-lived sitcom Battery Park for NBC in 2000. His other television writing credits included Making the Grade, Day by Day and Sugar Hill. In 1989, he wrote, directed and produced the feature film Dad, which starred Ted Danson, Jack Lemmon and Olympia Dukakis. He also wrote and produced Bye Bye Love in 1995 and Must Love Dogs in 2005. In 2008, he published his autobiography titled Sit, Ubu, Sit: How I Went from Brooklyn to Hollywood with the Same Woman, the Same Dog, and a Lot Less Hair.
Prolific actor Laurence Haddon appeared as Ed McCullough in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. He died on May 10, 2013, in Santa Monica, California from complications associated with Lewy body disease, a form of dementia. Mr. Haddon was 90.
Haddon had a recurring role as the Foreign Editor on Lou Grant from 1977-1980. He also had recurring roles in Dallas and Knots Landing. His many sitcom guest appearances included Dennis the Menace, The Donna Reed Show, Hazel, The Farmer's Daughter, The Flying Nun, The Partridge Family, Sanford and Son, Good Times, Maude, One Day at a Time and Desiging Women.
George Ives played Doc in the 1965-1966 NBC sitcom Mr. Roberts. He died on February 22, 2013, in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Ives was 87.
He also played Douglas Aldrich in the syndicated sitcom The Jim Backus Show (aka Hot Off the Wire). His many other sitcom credits included Bachelor Father, The Donna Reed Show, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Angel, The Hathaways, My Three Sons, The Farmer's Daughter, The Andy Griffith Show, Mister Ed, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Petticoat Junction, Get Smart, Bewitched, Green Acres and Happy Days.
Jonathan Kaufer was a television writer and director and a film director. He died in a road accident in Las Vegas on October 2, 2013. Mr. Kaufer was 58.
Kaufer worked as a writer for Holmes and Yo-Yo, Quark and Dream On. He also directed the episode of Dream On that he wrote. His film directing credits were Soup for One and Bad Manners.
Jane Kean appeared as Trixie Norton in the hour-long episodes of The Honeymooners. She died on November 26, 2013, at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California of complications from a fall. Ms. Kean was 90.
Kean played Trixie Norton in The Jackie Gleason Show (later called The Color Honeymooners) from 1966-1970. Her other sitcom credits included The Phil Silvers Show, Make Room for Daddy, The Lucy Show, Love, American Style, The Love Boat, Nobody's Pefect, It's a Living, The Facts of Life, Growing Pains and Madman of the People.
Lisa Robin Kelly was best known for her role as Laurie Forman in That '70s Show. She died in her sleep on August 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. Ms. Kelly was 43.
Kelly played the recurring role of Laurie Forman, Eric's beautiful but evil older sister, in 50 episodes of That '70s Show. Her other sitcom guest appearances included Married with Children, Platypus Man, Murphy Brown, Hope and Gloria and Jenny.
Suzanne Krull had recurring roles in several sitcoms. She died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm on July 27, 2013. Ms. Krull was 47.
She appeared in multiple episodes of Phil of the Future and Zoey 101. She had a recurring role as Betty Ann McCurry in Nash Bridges in 2001. Her other sitcom guest appearances included The Facts of Life, The Simple Life, Arli$$, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Two Guys and a Girl, That's So Raven, Good Luck Charlie and Jessie.
Lester Lewis was a television writer and producer. He died on March 19, 2013, from an apparent suicide. Mr. Lewis was 46.
Lewis' sitcom writing credits included The Second Half, Hudson Street, The Larry Sanders Show, Caroline in the City, The Office and Baby Daddy. He worked as a producer on Caroline in the City, Four Kings, The Office and Baby Daddy.
Jim Mees was a set designer for many television series. He died on March 29, 2013, from pancreatic cancer at his home in in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.
He worked on sitcoms, including Gloria, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Who's the Boss?, Valerie and Perfect Strangers. He won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Series in 1990 for his work on the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Sins of the Father.
Actress Shirley Mitchell appeared in many 1950s and 1960s sitcoms. She died of heart failure on November 11, 2013, in Westwood, California. Ms. Mitchell was 94.
Mitchell appeared in three episodes of the third season of I Love Lucy in 1953-1954. She played Marion Strong, a friend of Lucy Ricardo who had a funny laugh. She was the last surviving recurring adult cast member of the series. She was interviewed in the 2003 documentary The Desilu Story and the E! True Hollywood Story for I Love Lucy in 2005.
She appeared as Kitty Devereaux, a secretary for Bentley Gregg (John Forsythe), in Bachelor Father in 1958-1959. In 1960-1962, she appeared in thirteen episodes of Pete and Gladys as Janet Colton, the wife of George Colton (Peter Leeds). She played Opal Clampett, the wife of Jake Clampett, in two episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies in 1962. She appeared as the next-door neighbor Marge Thornton in Please Don't Eat the Daisies on NBC from 1965-1967. She portrayed Kate Bradley's cousin, Mae Belle Jennings, on Petticoat Junction in four episodes in 1967-1968. She made four guest appearances as a nurse and as Oliver's old friend Wanda in Green Acres from 1967-1971.
Her other sitcom credits included I Married Joan, Where's Raymond?, It's a Great Life, The Real McCoys, Leave it to Beaver, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Angel, Mister Ed, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Make Room for Daddy, My Three Sons, The Mothers-in-LawThe Doris Day Show. In the 1970s, she appeared in The Odd Couple, Apple's Way, Chico and the Man, Three's Company and Alice. In 1990, she made her final sitcom guest appearance in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Her television drama credits included Dragnet and Perry Mason. She voiced Laurie Holiday in the 1972 Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, The Roman Holidays.
Cory Monteith was a Canadian actor and musician, best known for his role as Finn Hudson in the Fox musical comedy-drama Glee. He died of a toxic combination of heroin and alcohol in a Vancouver hotel room on July 13, 2013. Mr. Monteith was 31.
Monteith played Finn Hudson, the star quarterback of his high school football team, on Glee since the premiere episode in 2009. He won a Teen Choice Award in 2001. His other television guest appearances included Stargate Atlantis, Supernatural, Smallville, Stargate SG-1 and Kyle XY.
Character actor Lou Myers was perhaps best known as the ornery Vernon Gaines in A Different World. He died on February 19, 2013, at the Charleston Area Medical Center in West Virginia after battling pneumonia for several months. Mr. Myers was 77.
Myers played the feisty Vernon Gaines, who ran the campus eatery and hangout, The Pit, in A Different World. He joined the cast in the second season and appeared in 65 episodes of the series. In 1987, he guest starred as Mr. Davis in 2 episodes of The Cosby Show, which was the parent series of A Different World. He appeared in 6 episodes of The WB sitcom All About the Andersons in 2003. He had a recurring role as T.C. in the NBC sitcom My Parents, My Sister & Me in 2009-2010. His other sitcom guest appearances included Bagdad Cafe, Thea, The Sinbad Show, Living Single, The Jamie Foxx Show, Malcolm & Eddie, Eve and Lucky Louie. Some of his other television credits included The Sentinel, JAG, ER and NYPD Blue. Myers' film credits included Cobb, Tin Cup, Volcano, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, The Wedding Planner and The Fighting Temptations.
Don Nelson was a television screenwriter. He died on September 10, 2013, at his home in California due to Parkinson’s disease. Mr. Nelson was 86.
Nelson wrote for The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet from 1952-1966. He was the younger brother of Ozzie Nelson. His other sitcom writing credits included The Great Gildersleeve, Blondie, Bachelor Father, The Donna Reed Show, The Mothers-in-Law, The Doris Day Show, Julia, Nanny and the Professor and Bridget Loves Bernie (also producer).
Don Payne was a television writer and producer. He died on March 26, 2013, from bone cancer at his home in Los Angeles. Mr. Payne was 48.
Payne worked as a writer, producer, supervising producer, co-executive producer and consulting producer on The Simpsons. His early sitcom writing and producing credits included Hope and Gloria, Pride & Joy, Can't Hurry Love, Men Behaving Badly, Veronica's Closet and The Brian Benben Show. His feature film writing credits included My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Thor, Maximum Ride and Thor: The Dark World.
Larry Pennell was best known for his role as Dash Riprock in The Beverly Hillbillies. He died on August 28, 2013. Mr. Pennell was 85.
Pennell played Dash Riprock, the conceited, image-conscious, and macho Hollywood movie star courting Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies. His other sitcom guest apperances included Rango and Mayberry R.F.D. Other regular television roles included Ripcord (1961-1963) and Lassie (1973-1974).
Henry Polic II is best known for his role as Jerry Silver in Webster. He died in Los Angeles on August 11, 2013, of cancer. Mr. Polic was 68.
Polic's first starring sitcom role was as The Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1975 ABC sitcom When Things Were Rotten. He played Jerry Silver, Katherine's male secretary and Webster's uncle, in Webster from 1983-1989. His other sitcom guest apperances included Alice, Mork & Mindy, The Love Boat, The New Odd Couple, E/R and Saved by the Bell. He made appearances on many game shows, including Body Language, Super Password, The $25,000 Pyramid and The (New) $25,000 Pyramid. He hosted the game show Celebrity Double Talk in 1986-1987.
Jeff Pollack was a writer and producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He was found dead on the Greenbelt in Hermosa Beach, California on December 23, 2013. It is believed he died of natural causes while exercising. Mr. Pollack was 54.
Pollack also helped create the format for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He worked on the show for the entire run. He directed he directed the films Above the Rim, Booty Call and Lost & Found.
Character actor Elliott Reid appeared in many sitcoms. He died from heart failure on June 21, 2013, in Studio City, California. Mr. Reid was 93.
He starred as Warren Winslow in the short-lived 1979 CBS sitcom Miss Winslow and Son. He played the courtly landlord Henry Witherspoon in the 1995-96 ABC sitcom Maybe This Time. His many other sitcom guest appearances included I Love Lucy, Our Miss Brooks, Make Room for Daddy, The Munsters, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, The Odd Couple, Barney Miller, All in the Family, Small Wonder, Designing Women, Mr. Belvedere and Seinfeld.
Terry Rhoads appeared as Gordon the security guard in the 1998 Fox sitcom Living in Captivity. He died in Los Angeles, California on October 11, 2013, from amyloidosis. Mr. Rhoads was 61.
His other sitcom guest apperances included Grace Under Fire, Murphy Brown, Men Behaving Badly, NewsRadio, Ned and Stacey, Seinfeld, Caroline in the City, Cybill, Norm, The Drew Carey Show, Just Shoot Me, Dharma & Greg, My Wife and Kids, Two and a Half Men, Still Standing, Better Off Ted and Better with You.
Mickey Rose was a television and film screenwriter. He died on April 7, 2013, at his home in Beverly Hills, California from colon cancer. Mr. Rose was 77.
Rose's sitcom writing credits included All in the Family, The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Too Close for Comfort and 227. His film writing credits included Take the Money and Run, Bananas, I Wonder Who's Killing Her Now? and Student Bodies (which he also directed).
Richard C. Sarafian was a TV and film director and actor. He died on September 18, 2013, in Santa Monica, California, of pneumonia. Mr. Sarafian was 83.
Sarfian played Spiro Papadopolis in the 1985-1986 CBS sitcom Foley Square. His TV directing credits included Lawman, The Gallant Man, 77 Sunset Strip, The Wild Wild West, I Spy and Gunsmoke.
Elroy Schwartz was a television writer. He died on June 14, 2013, from complications of surgery at Odyssey House in Palm Desert, California. Mr. Schwartz was 89.
Schwartz was one of the head writers of Gilligan's Island, which was created by his late brother, Sherwood Schwartz. He also wrote the scripts for the television movies Rescue from Gilligan's Island, The Castaways on Gilligan's Island and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island. His many other sitcom writing credits included Bachelor Father, My Favorite Martian, The Addams Family, McHale's Navy, The Lucy Show, It's About Time, My Three Sons, Green Acres, Family Affair and The Brady Bunch.
Legendary sitcom director Jack Shea worked on Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons and Silver Spoons. He died on April 28, 2013, in Tarzana, California from complications of Alzheimer's disease. Mr. Shea was 84.
Shea directed episodes of over 30 sitcoms during his nearly 40-year career. He directed 15 episodes of Sanford and Son from 1972-1974. He directed 110 episodes, wrote 3 episodes and produced 24 episodes of The Jeffersons from 1975-1979. In 1979-1980, he directed all 22 episodes of the second season of The Ropers, which was a spin-off from Three's Company. Shea worked as the primary director of Silver Spoons from 1982-1987, for which he directed 91 episodes and wrote 2 episodes. He directed 14 episodes of Designing Women from 1986-1988. In 1987, he received an Emmy nomination for his work on Designing Women. Other sitcoms that he directed multiple episodes of included O.K. Crackerby!, Checking In (The Jeffersons spin-off), The Tortellis, The Charmings, Full House, Sugar and Spice, His & Hers, Sunday Dinner, The Hogan Family, Growing Pains, The Royal Family, 704 Hauser and Sister, Sister. Shea was a three-time president of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) from 1997 to 2002.
Television, film and stage actress Jean Stapleton was best known for her role as Edith Bunker in All in the Family. She died, surrounded by family and friends, on May 31, 2013, in New York City of natural causes. Ms. Stapleton was 90.
Stapleton's career began in 1941 in summer stock theater at the Greenwood Playhouse in Peaks Island, Maine. She made her New York debut in the Off-Broadway play American Gothic. Her early appearances on Broadway in musicals and plays included Damn Yankees, Bells Are Ringing, Rhinoceros and Funny Girl. Stapleton's early television work included roles in Starlight Theatre, Lux Video Theatre, Robert Montgomery Presents, Woman with a Past, The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, Dr. Kildare, The Doctors and the Nurses, Naked City, The Eleventh Hour and Route 66. In 1962, she guest starred in an episode of The Defenders with her future television husband Carroll O'Connor. Her 1960s sitcom guest appearances included Dennis the Menace, Car 54, Where Are You?, My Three Sons and The Patty Duke Show.
Stapleton auditioned for the role of Edith after creator Norman Lear saw her perform with a nasal tone in Damn Yankees. Two pilots were shot for ABC in 1968 and 1969, but both were turned down. CBS developed All in the Family with the final cast of Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers. The series premiered on January 12, 1971. The highly successful series ran for 9 seasons and 208 episodes from 1971 to 1979. Stapleton appeared as Edith Bunker in all but 4 episodes of the series. O'Connor and Stapleton performed the show's opening theme song, Those Were the Days. She received eight Emmy nominations and won three times in 1971, 1972 and 1978. She also won two Golden Globes for Best Actress in 1972 and 1974. After All in the Family ended in 1979, the spin-off series Archie Bunker's Place ran for four seasons. Stapleton appeared in a recurring role in the first season before she decided to leave the series in late 1979. It was mentioned in the one-hour second season premiere episode that Edith had died of a stroke. CBS aired the All in the Family 20th Anniversary Special on February 16, 1991. Stapleton reunited with O'Connor on Donny & Marie on April 24, 2000.
After tiring of the role and leaving Archie Bunker's Place in 1979, she continued to work in television, film and plays. She appeared as a British spy named Lady Emily Farnsworth in two episodes of Scarecrow and Mrs. King in 1984. She played the Giantess and Fairy Godmother in two episodes of Faerie Tale Theatre in 1983 and 1985. In 1986, she appeared in The Love Boat. She co-starred with Whoopi Goldberg in the 1990-1991 CBS sitcom Bagdad Cafe. Some of her other sitcom guest appearances included Grace Under Fire (Emmy nominated), Caroline in the City, Murphy Brown, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Style & Substance. Her television movie and film credits included Eleanor, First Lady of the World (Emmy nominated), Something's Afoot, Michael, Chance of a Lifetime (with John Ritter and Katey Sagal) and You've Got Mail.
PJ Torokvei (born Peter Torokvei) was a Canadian actor and television producer. She died from liver failure on July 3, 2013. She was 62.
She was the head writer and worked as a producer on WKRP in Cincinnati. Torokvei received two nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series for her role as a producer on the series. Her film credits included co-writing Real Genius, Back to School, Armed and Dangerous and Caddyshack II.
Actress Marcia Wallace was best known for her roles as receptionist Carol Kester in The Bob Newhart Show and as the voice of elementary school teacher Edna Krabappel in The Simpsons. She died on October 25, 2013, in Los Angeles due to complications from pneumonia and breast cancer. Ms. Wallace was 70.
Wallace played the joke-loving receptionist Carol Kester (later Carol Kester Bondurant) in The Bob Newhart Show. The popular sitcom ran for 142 episodes on CBS from 1972-1978. Her character married travel agent Larry Bondurant (Will Mackenzie) in the fourth season. The series received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1977. In 1991, the cast reunited for the one-hour clip show The Bob Newhart Show 19th Anniversary Special. Wallace reprised her role as Carol Bondurant in a 1994 episode of Murphy Brown. In the episode Anything But Cured, Bob Hartley (Bob Newhart) begs her to leave her job as Murphy's secretary and come back with him to Chicago. Wallace received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 1994 for her role as Secretary #66.
Wallace's early sitcom credits included Bewitched, The Brady Bunch (2 episodes: Will the Real Jan Brady Please Stand Up? and Getting Davy Jones) and Love, American Style. She was a semi-regular on The Merv Griffin Show, with over 75 appearances, before she landed her role on The Bob Newhart Show. Her many other sitcom guest appearances included The Love Boat, Flying High, Taxi, Gimme a Break!, ALF, Night Court, Small Wonder, Charles in Charge, A Different World and Full House. She was a series regular as Maggie Hawley on the Comedy Central sitcom That's My Bush in 2001. In 2009, she played Annie Wilkes in the daytime soap opera The Young and the Restless. She was also a regular game show panelist for more than thirty years. Her many appearances included The Hollywood Squares, Password Plus, Super Password, Card Sharks, Hot Potato, Body Language, The $25,000 Pyrmaid, Double Talk, Win, Lose or Draw, and Match Game.
Her other main role was the voice of Bart's elementary school teacher in The Simpsons. Edna Krabappel was married to Ned Flanders. Wallace voiced the character in over 100 episodes. In 1992, she won an Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for the episode Bart the Lover. The show has announced that her character will be retired. Wallace's other voice credits included Darkwing Duck, Batman, The Addams Family, The Angry Beavers and Monsters University.
Danny Wells is perhaps best known for his occasional role as Charlie the bartender in The Jeffersons. He died in Toronto on November 28, 2013. Mr. Wells was 72.
Wells appeared in over 20 episodes of The Jeffersons as Charlie from 1975-1985. His many other sitcom guest appearances included Lotsa Luck, Rhoda, Sanford and Son, What's Happening!!, Carter Country, Happy Days, Silver Spoons, Punky Brewster and Small Wonder. He played the video game character Luigi, brother of Nintendo's mascot Mario, in the live-action segments of the short lived series The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!
Character actor Ned Wertimer was best known for playing Ralph the doorman in The Jeffersons. He died on January 2, 2013, at the Sherman Village Health Care Center in Los Angeles, California. According to his manager, Brad Lemack, he had fallen at his home in Burbank in late November 2012 and never recovered. Mr. Wertimer was 89.
Wertimer played Ralph Hart, the doorman, for all 11 seasons of the CBS sitcom The Jeffersons from 1975-1985. His character first appeared in the All in the Family episode titled "The Jeffersons Move on Up," which was the pilot episode of The Jeffersons. He appeared in 51 of the 253 episodes of The Jeffersons, which was one of the longest-running sitcoms in American television history. Ralph was known for always asking for a tip from the tenants of the luxury high-rise apartment on Manhattan's East Side.
He had more than 100 TV credits. Some of his sitcom guest appearances included Car 54, Where Are You?, Get Smart, That Girl, Hogan's Heroes, Mayberry, R.F.D., Mary Tyler Moore, Sanford and Son, Happy Days, Welcome Back, Kotter, WKRP in Cincinnati, Mork & Mindy and 227. His other TV credits included Gunsmoke, McMillan & Wife, Starsky & Hutch and Simon & Simon. Wertimer's film credits included Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, The Impossible Years, Mame, The Strongest Man in the World and The Pack.
Actor and comedian Jonathan Winters appeared in Mork & Mindy and won an Emmy Award for his role in Davis Rules. He died on April 11, 2013, in Montecito, California, of natural causes. Mr. Winters was 87.
Winters first appeared on television in 1954 on the game show Chance of a Lifetime. Some of his early television appearances included Omnibus, Pass the Line, The Blue Angel, And Here's the Show and The Colgate Comedy Hour. Winters appeared in 17 episodes of The NBC Comedy Hour Show in 1956. In 1956-1957, he starred in The Jonathan Winters Show, which was a 15-minute comedy/variety series. He appeared as James Howard "Fats" Brown in a 1961 episode of Twilight Zone. Winters starred in his own one-hour variety show for two seasons from 1967-1969 on CBS. He later starred in the syndicated comedy variety series The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters from 1972-1974.
He joined the cast of Mork & Mindy for its fourth and final season in 1981-1982. He played Mork & Mindy's child, Mearth. Winters was the idol of Robin Williams. Despite some funny improvised moments, the show struggled in the ratings and was canceled. Winters later became a regular in Hee Haw in the 1983-1984 season. He went on to voice Grandpa Smurf in The Smurfs from 1986-89. He voiced Papa Smurf in the 2011 film The Smurfs and the The Smurfs 2 in 2013. In 1992, he voiced Mayor Cod in Fish Police, a 1992 CBS series featuring many stars like John Ritter, Ed Asner, Tim Curry and Robert Guillaume. His many other voice credits included The Pound Puppies, The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, Gravedale High, Garfield and Friends, Tiny Toon Adventures, Frosty Returns, Animaniacs and Yogi the Easter Bear.
In 1991-1992, he starred in the ABC and later CBS sitcom Davis Rules. Winters played Gunny Davis, the eccentric father of Dwight Davis (Randy Quaid) who gave outlandish advice. He won an Emmy Award for his supporting role in 1991. In 2002, he received an Emmy nomination for his guest appearance in Life with Bonnie. Robin Williams presented Winters the Pioneer TV Land Award in 2008.
Lee Thompson Young starred in The Famous Jett Jackson on the Disney Channel. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Los Angeles on August 19, 2013. Mr. Young was 29.
Young played Jett Jackson / Silverstone in The Famous Jett Jackson, which aired on the Disney Channel from 1998-2001. His other television guest apperances included The Guardian, South Beach, Smallville, FlashForward, The Event and CSI: NY. He appeared in 3 episodes of Scrubs in 2009. His last starring role was portraying Boston police detective Barry Frost in the TNT police drama series Rizzoli & Isles.
New on DVD/Blu-ray (February)
02/16 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series
02/16 - The Brady Kids - The Complete Animated Series
02/16 - Girls - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
02/16 - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch - The Complete Series
02/16 - Togetherness - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest
Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Thursday, February 11
The Big Bang Theory - "The Valentine Submergence" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Sheldon and Amy host a live Valentine’s Day episode of Fun with Flags, Leonard and Penny grapple with getting older, Howard and Bernadette find a surprise in their hot tub and Raj is torn between Emily and the cute girl he met at the Comic Bookstore.
Life in Pieces - "Tattoo Valentine Guitar Pregnant" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Tyler and Clementine (Hunter King) go to a guitar store, Tyler gets uncomfortable when the attractive salesman, Ian (Josh Groban), repeatedly hits on her. Also, Tim’s tattoo artist, Lois (Kat Von D) makes a spelling error on a tattoo he got as a Valentine’s Day surprise for Heather, Matt’s plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day with Colleen doesn’t go as well as he hoped, and Greg and Jen discuss whether they should have another baby.
Mom - "Cinderella and a Drunk MacGyver" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Christy tries to help Julian, a handsome, newly sober AA member, but her attraction to him complicates things. Meanwhile, Bonnie jumps at the chance to attend a lavish charity gala with Jill. Joe Manganiello guest stars as Julian, a handsome newcomer to AA.
The Big Bang Theory - "The Helium Insufficiency" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
In the midst of a nation-wide helium shortage, Sheldon and Leonard take desperate measures to get the supplies they need. Also, Penny and Bernadette download a dating app on Amy's phone to try and find her a new man. Michael Rapaport guest stars Kenny, a black market dealer.
Baskets - "Easter in Bakersfield" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Easter in Bakersfield is not all Neil Diamond sings it to be as Baskets family drama brews over brunch.
Thursday, February 11
- Alison Brie (Community) - Catch Alison on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC and on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
- Jake Lacy (Better with You/The Office) - Jake appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Mark McKinney (Superstore) - Mark stops by Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
- Brian Posehn (The Sarah Silverman Program) - Brian is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show) - Carl visits Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Tiffani Thiessen (Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani talks about the Cooking Channel's Dinner at Tiffani's on The Meredith Vieira Show, so check your local listings.
- Fran Drescher (Happily Divorced/Living with Fran/The Nanny) - Fran talks about the American Heart Associations' Go Red for Women Red Dress Collection on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET
- Bryan Greenberg (How to Make It in America) - Bryan talks about his new movie Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong NBC's Today in the 9am hour and on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
- Joe Morton (Grady) - Joe plays the guitar on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
- Autumn Reeser (Entourage/Complete Savages) - Autumn talks about Hallmark Channel's original movie Valentine Ever After on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate) - Dakota is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
- Scott Foley (The Goodwin Games/A.U.S.A./Scrubs) - Scott appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.