Sunday, December 30, 2007

In Memoriam: Sitcom Actor Deaths in 2007

Today we pay tribute to the sitcom actors, producers, writers and composers who passed away in 2007. We've lost stars from Barney Miller, Bewitched, Charles in Charge, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Joey Bishop Show, The Munsters, Newhart, and many more that are greatly missed. They are listed in alphabetical order. The links go to their Internet Movie Database entry where you can view a full list of their credits.

Joey Bishop

Joey Bishop - Joey Bishop was the stone-faced comedian who found success in nightclubs, television and movies but became most famous as a member of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack. He was the group's last surviving member. On television he had his own sitcom in the '60s titled The Joey Bishop Show that ran from 1961-1965 on NBC then ABC. He had a talk show by the same name, which was more popular, that aired on ABC and the announcer was Regis Philbin! Regis had this to day about Mr. Bishop: "It was the thrill of my life to be chosen by Joey as the announcer for his talk show on ABC back in the '60s. It was my introduction to the highly competitive late night show world. It was also an introduction to a show business I had never known: the Rat Pack era, the amazing talents of those performers who I probably never would have befriended without Joey. We walked every day before the show up Vine Street to Hollywood Boulevard and back to our studio for nearly three years. I learned a lot about the business of making people laugh. He was a master comedian and a great teacher and I will never forget those days or him." Bishop guest starred on TV series such as Chico and the Man, Get Smart, Trapper John M.D., and Murder, She Wrote. He also filled-in many times for Johnny Carson as guest host on The Tonight Show. Mr. Bishop passed away on October 17, 2007, at the age of 89.

Roscoe Lee Browne

Roscoe Lee Browne - Character actor Roscoe Lee Browne was an Emmy & Tony Award Winning Actor who is best probably known for his sitcom work. He guest starred on series like Barney Miller and The Cosby Show, both of which he earned Emmy nominations (in fact he won for The Cosby Show). Audiences probably remember him most for his regular role as Saunders (the butler who replaced Benson) on the last two seasons of Soap. He also guest starred on an episode of Benson, but not as Saunders. Or they might remember his role with Archie Bunker in the elevator on an episode of All in the Family. He also guest starred as the original teacher, the one who substitute Mr. Moore (Howard Hesseman) replaced on Head of the Class. Mr. Browne died of cancer on April 11, 2007, at the age of 81.

James T. Callahan

James T. Callahan - James T. Callahan was best known for playing Walter Powell on the sitcom Charles in Charge. On the show, Callahan played Walter Powell, a retired Navy man he referred to as the "blustery old grandfather" in a 2000 People magazine interview. When CBS canceled Charles in Charge after one season in 1985, Callahan joined the cast for the syndicated version, which ran from 1987 to 1990. The role was a favorite that brought him wide recognition. Between 1959 and 2007, Callahan appeared in more than 120 films and television shows. He got his start in guest starring stints on westerns such as The Californians, Two Faces West, and Have Gun Will Travel. His first sitcom appearance was in 1960 on an episode of Dennis the Menace. He co-starred in two short lived sitcoms Wendy and Me in 1964 and The Governor & J.J. in 1969. His long list of TV guest shots include Perry Mason, Combat!, The Twilight Zone, Dr. Kildare, Ben Casey, My Favorite Martian, The Fugitive, The FBI, Adam-12, Marcus Welby MD, M*A*S*H, Love American Style, Barnaby Jones, Cannon, Police Story, The Rockford Files, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Dallas, The Ropers, Bosom Buddies, Lou Grant, Benson, Alice, Simon & Simon, Quincy ME, Remington Steele, Little House on the Prairie, The A-Team, Knight Rider, Newhart, Growing Pains, Doogie Howser MD, Highway to Heaven, The Golden Girls, Nurses, Harry and the Hendersons, Picket Fences, Hope & Gloria, Caroline in the City, Cybill, The Practice, 7th Heaven, ER and Medium. Wow...what a list and that is just a partial one! Mr. Callahan died at the age of 76 on August 3, 2007.

Ron Carey

Ron Carey - Ron Carey, the short and puckish comedic actor, was best known for his role as Officer Carl Levitt on the hit sitcom Barney Miller. He was also a member of Mel Brooks' troupe in films such as High Anxiety and Silent Movie. The 5-foot-7 Carey became a semi-regular on ABC's Barney Miller in 1976, the second year of the sitcom that starred Hal Linden, and remained with the show until it ended in 1982. The Newark, NJ native also co-starred in the series Lucky Luke in 1993. He also had a role in the short-lived ABC sitcom produced by John Ritter called Have Faith in 1989. He also was on two short lived sitcoms in the '70s--The Montefuscos (1975) for NBC and The Corner Bar (1972-73) for ABC. He guest starred on sitcoms such as Benson, Alice, New Love American Style. Carey, probably not known by many by his name, certainly will be remembered by his role on Barney Miller by sitcom fans. Mr. Carey died of a stroke on January 16, 2007, at the age of 71.

Bob Carroll

Bob Carroll, Jr. - Sometimes credited as Bob Carroll, he wrote on all of Lucille Ball's sitcoms: I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, and Life with Lucy. He also wrote for classic sitcoms such as Alice, The Mothers-in-Law, The Paul Lynde Show, and the short-lived sitcom Dorothy. Mr. Carroll died at the age of 88 on January 27, 2007, in Los Angeles after a brief illness.

Stan Daniels

Stan Daniels - Stan Daniels was an Emmy-winning TV writer and producer who worked on two of the most acclaimed comedies of the 1970s, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Taxi. Daniels won eight Emmys during his long television career, including three as co-creator and executive producer of Taxi and three as a writer on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He directed episodes of the 80s comedy Dear John as well. Mr. Daniels died of heart failure April 6, 2007, at the age of 72.

Yvonne De Carlo

Yvonne De Carlo - Yvonne De Carlo was best known for the role of wife Lily Munster on the hit '60s sitcom The Munsters. She was also quite known for her role as Charlton Heston's wife in the movie epic The Ten Commandments. She also played Lily Munster in the 1966 movie Munster, Go Home; The Munsters' Revenge in 1981; and in a cameo appearance in the 1995 TV movie revival Here Come the Munsters. De Carlo was an actress who acted in the 1940s even in various movies. Her other TV credits include guest spots on Bonanza, Fantasy Island, Murder She Wrote, Dream On, and Death Valley Days. She even had a small role in the highest rated mini-series of all time, Roots, playing a slave owner's wife. Ms. De Carlo passed away of natural causes at the age 84 on January 8, 2007.

Alice Ghostley

Alice Ghostley - She was of course most remembered for her roles on Bewitched and Designing Women. On Bewitched she played Esmeralda and on Designing Women she played Bernice (which she earned an Emmy nomination in 1992). Ghostley had lots of film work too, including major movies such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Graduate, Gator and Grease. But it was television where she made her mark, especially sitcoms. She co-starred in the sitcoms Captain Nice, Small Wonder and Mayberry R.F.D. (as Cousin Alice). She guest starred on many sitcoms such as playing the ditzy social worker Mrs. Dodds on Good Times and playing Mama's boss Mrs. Turner on What's Happening!! Her other guest starring sitcom credits include Car 54 Where Are You?, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Get Smart, He & She, The Farmer's Daughter, The Mothers-in-Law, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Odd Couple, Hogan's Heroes, Temperature Rising, Here We Go Again, Love American Style, The New Gidget, Big Eddie, Maude, One Day at a Time, Chico and the Man, Gimme a Break!, Stir Crazy, What's Happening Now!!, Punky Brewster, The Golden Girls, Daddy Dearest, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Dharma & Greg, and a recurring role on Evening Shade. Ms. Ghostley passed away at the age of 81 after a long battle with colon cancer and a series of strokes on September 21, 2007.

George Greeley - George Greeley was a pianist, conductor, composer, and arranger who wrote the theme music for television's My Favorite Martian. He wrote the musical themes and underscores for My Favorite Martian, starring Ray Walston and Bill Bixby, and My Living Doll, starring Robert Cummings and Julie Newmar. He also wrote background music for The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Nanny and the Professor. La-La Land Records recently released an excellent My Favorite Martian soundtrack cd. Mr. Greeley passed away on May 26, 2007, at the age of 89.

Dabbs Greer

Dabbs Greer - Dabbs Greer was an American character actor who performed many diverse supporting roles in film and television for about 50 years. Greer had a prominent continuing role in the NBC TV series Little House on the Prairie as Reverend Alden from 1974 to 1983. Often cast as a minister, he performed the marriages of Rob and Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show and of Mike and Carol Brady on The Brady Bunch, and he tended to the spiritual needs of the townfolk in fictional Rome, Wisconsin, as Reverend Henry Novotny in Picket Fences. Mr. Greer died at the age of 90 on April 28, 2007, after a battle with kidney and heart disease.

Merv Griffin

Merv Griffin - Merv Griffin was known for his talk show The Merv Griffin Show that ran from 1962-1986 and for creating the hit game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Merv appeared as himself on several sitcoms like Sanford & Son, The Golden Girls, Hope & Gloria, and Newhart. He also produced the new Lifetime series Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead. He was recently seen on TV Land Moguls as the host, appeared on TV Land's ALF's Hit Talk Show, and appeared on Fat Actress. Mr. Griffin died of prostate cancer at the age of 82 on August 12, 2007.

Richard Jeni

Richard Jeni - He was an American stand-up comedian and actor. Jeni first received recognition through a series of Showtime stand-up specials and frequent appearances on The Tonight Show. The show was well-received and Jeni would return for two more shows, going on to receive a CableACE Award for one of his HBO specials. Jeni would also star on the short-lived UPN sitcom Platypus Man and appeared in the Jim Carrey film The Mask. In 2004, Jeni was ranked #57 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. Mr. Jeni died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on March 10, 2007, at the age of 49.

Jillian Kessner-Graver - She was an American actress and historian who worked with her late husband, Gary Graver, to preserve the work and legacy of director Orson Welles. She was best known as an actress for playing Fonzie's girlfriend, Lorraine, on Happy Days. She also appeared on a number of television shows, including Three's Company, The Rockford Files, The Ropers and Mork & Mindy. Ms. Kessner-Graver died on December 5, 2007, at the age of 58 of a staph infection.

Charles Lane

Charles Lane - He was a prolific character actor whose bespectacled face and crotchety persona made him instantly recognizable to generations of movie-goers. Lane, whose career spanned more than 60 years, appeared in such film classics as It's a Wonderful Life, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and Twentieth Century. He also had a recurring role as the scheming railroad man, Homer Bedloe, on the 1960s TV sitcom Petticoat Junction and appeared often on television's I Love Lucy. He was especially fond of his role in the I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy Ricardo gave birth to her son, Little Ricky. Papa Ricky (Ball's real-life husband, Desi Arnaz) was all nerves while Lane, as a fellow expectant father, was the picture of calm. "This old guy was expecting his 10th child or something, and this nervous young man was expecting his first," Lane recalled in 2005. "It was a marvelous scene, and Desi was a fine actor." His many other sitcom appearances included Topper, Dear Phoebe, The Real McCoys, Bachelor Father, Dennis the Menace, The Lucy Show, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Beverly Hillbillies and Bewitched. Mr. Lane passed away at the age of 102 on July 9, 2007.

Tom Poston

Tom Poston - The Emmy Award Winning actor is best remembered for his roles on The Bob Newhart Show, Mork & Mindy and Newhart. In his early career he guest starred on sitcoms such as The Phil Silvers Show before winning the Emmy in 1959 for his role on The Steve Allen Show. After that he guest starred on series such as Get Smart and The Good Guys before landing the role of Cliff "The Peeper" Murdock on The Bob Newhart Show. After his run on that show he guest starred on series such as Alice, CHiPs and was a regular on two short lived sitcoms On the Rocks & We've Got Each Other. In 1979 he got the role of Franklin Delano Bickley on the hit sitcom Mork & Mindy, starring Robin Williams. His next big role was of George Utley in the sitcom Newhart, reuniting him once again with Bob Newhart. Mr. Poston would reunite one more time with Bob in the sitcom Bob for a few episodes. He was also a regular in the Fox sitcom Good Grief in 1990 and more recently on NBC's short lived sitcom Committed. He guest starred in many many sitcoms in the 80s, 90s and 2000s. He had recurring roles on the ABC sitcoms Grace Under Fire and Coach. He also had a few memorable guest appearances as Mr. Looney (that's Loon-ay!) on the ABC sitcom Family Matters. The man was everything, more sitcom guest credits include Becker, Cosby, 8 Simple Rules, Dharma & Greg, Dream On, George & Leo, Home Improvement, Just Shoot Me, Malcolm & Eddie, Murphy Brown, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, That '70s Show, The Love Boat, The Simpsons, Will & Grace and reunited with his wife Suzanne Pleshette in the NBC sitcom Good Morning, Miami. He was last seen in late 2006 on an episode of the Disney Channel sitcom, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Mr. Poston passed away after a brief illness on April 30, 2007, at the age of 85.

Charles Nelson Reilly

Charles Nelson Reilly - Reilly was famous for being one of the celebrity panelists on the '70s game show Match Game. He also appeared on The Tonight Show many times. He wore his trademark giant glasses and colorful suits with ascots on Match Game and Hollywood Squares. The actor appeared on many sitcoms as well. He appeared on The Ghost and Mrs. Muir from 1968-70. He guest starred on The Patty Duke Show, Car 54 Where Are You?, The Farmer's Daughter, Nanny and the Professor, Here's Lucy, Arnie, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Love American Style, Charles in Charge, Evening Shade, The New WKRP in Cincinnati, Family Matters and The Drew Carey Show. He had done a lot of TV voice work such as SpongeBob SquarePants. Mr. Reilly died from complications from pneumonia at the age of 76 on May 25, 2007.

Will Schaefer - He was an American composer nominated for both an Emmy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for his work. He wrote background music for a number of popular television shows and composed over 700 commercials. Schaefer returned to composing themes for television after the Korean War with Gunsmoke and The Phil Silvers Show. In following decades, he would compose background music for many popular television programs including I Dream of Jeannie, The Flintstones, The Flying Nun, Hogan's Heroes, The Jetsons and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Mr. Schaefer passed away from cancer on June 30, 2007, at the age of 78.

Sidney Sheldon

Sidney Sheldon - He was an American writer who won awards in three careers—a Broadway playwright, a Hollywood TV and movie screenwriter, and a best-selling novelist. His TV works spanned a 20-year period during which he created I Dream of Jeannie (1965-70), Hart to Hart (1979-84), and The Patty Duke Show (1963-66), but it was not until after he turned 50 and began writing best-selling novels such as Master of the Game (1982), The Other Side of Midnight (1973) and Rage of Angels (1980) that he became most famous. Mr. Sheldon died from complications arising from pneumonia at the age of 89 on January 30, 2007.

Brett Somers

Brett Somers - She was the popular Match Game panelist. Over the years she guest starred on many classic TV shows such as The Love Boat, Barney Miller, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Odd Couple, Love American Style and more. Ms. Somers passed away from stomach and colon cancer at the age of 83 on September 15, 2007.

Miyoshi Umeki

Miyoshi Umeki - Miyoshi Umeki won an Oscar for her performance (first Asian to ever win one) as the doomed wife of an American serviceman in Sayonara and later starred in the Broadway musical Flower Drum Song. Umeki also portrayed Mrs. Livingston, the housekeeper, in the ABC sitcom, The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1969-1972), which starred Bill Bixby and Brandon Cruz. In a 1969 Washington Post interview, Bixby called her "the best actress I've ever worked with." Her other TV credits include guest shots on sitcoms Mister Ed and The Donna Reed Show. Ms. Umeki died of cancer complications at the age of 78 on August 28, 2007.

Sigrid Valdis and Bob Crane

Sigrid Valdis - Sigrid Valdis played Col. Klink's sexy blond secretary on Hogan's Heroes and married the show's star, Bob Crane. Valdis played Hilda for five seasons on Hogan's Heroes, the 1965-71 CBS situation comedy about Allied prisoners in a World War II German POW camp. She and Crane were married on the TV show's set in 1970. She didn't have many other credits, but she did guest star on Wild Wild West and Kraft Suspense Theatre. Ms. Valdis died from lung cancer at the age of 72 on October 14, 2007.

Dick Wilson

Dick Wilson - Dick Wilson was known to millions as the long-time Charmin bath tissue pitchman. Wilson portrayed grocer Mr. Whipple and made "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" a household phrase. Wilson appeared as Mr. Whipple in more than 500 spots for Charmin from 1964 through 1985 (click here to view one of them). After a 14-year hiatus, Wilson reprised the role in 1999 to introduce a new version of Charmin. In 2001, Procter & Gamble, maker of Charmin, presented Wilson with a lifetime achievement award to commemorate his contribution to the brand. Wilson's television credits include Captain Gruber on Hogan's Heroes, Assistant Mayor Dino Boroni on McHale's Navy, a popular recurring character on Bewitched as a drunk, and other roles in Alice, The Bob Newhart Show, Adam-12, Love American Style, Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun, Gidget, My Favorite Martian, Perry Mason, The Hero, That Girl, The Don Rickles Show, The Rifleman, Fantasy Island, Quincy M.E., The Rockford Files, Arrest & Trial, Petticoat Junction, Maude, The Partridge Family on the Bewitched spin-off Tabitha, and many more. Wilson is survived by his wife Meg, three children (which includes Perfect Strangers co-star Melanie Wilson) and three grandchildren -- all located in the Los Angeles area. Mr. Wilson passed away at the age of 91 on November 19, 2007.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, September 21

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to Speed Bump" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
A near-accident awakens Dave’s sense of civic duty, prompting him to team up with Calvin to try to improve the safety of their community. Also, a trip to the county fair turns into a nerve-wracking adventure for Malcolm, Marty and Grover.

Young Sheldon - "A Parasol and a Hell of an Arm" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
A church carnival leads Missy to try out for the baseball team. Also, Meemaw struggles after her breakup with Dr. Sturgis. Craig T. Nelson guest stars as Coach Dale.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 21)

Monday, September 21

  • Laurence Fishburne (black-ish) - Watch Laurence on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Brendan Hunt (Ted Lasso) - Brendan appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Anna Camp (Perfect Harmony/The Mindy Project) - Anna will be on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City) - Kim talks about the Fox series Filthy Rich on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan and Access Daily, so check your listings. She will also be on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Ali Wentworth (Nightcap) - Ali speaks about her podcast Go Ask Ali on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Tiffany appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Denise Richards (Blue Mountain State) - Denise is a guest on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane will be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Candace Cameron Bure (Fuller House/Full House) - Candace appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August/September)

Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven Will & Grace - The Revival -Season Three - The Farewell Season Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season

06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
06/09 - How to Be a Gentleman - The Complete Series
06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
06/09 - No Activity - Season 1
06/09 - Superior Donuts - Season Two
06/23 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 10th Season
06/23 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
06/23 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Seventh Season
06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
06/30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven
07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
07/21 - The Thundermans - Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3 / Season 4
07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
07/28 - The Thundermans - Season 1-4 Bundle
08/04 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Eighth Season
08/04 - The Neighborhood - Season One
08/11 - Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens - Season 1
08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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