Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Remembering Tom Lester of Green Acres, Sitcom Producers Saul Turteltaub and Thomas L. Miller, and Others We've Recently Lost

Tom Lester

Actor Tom Lester, who was best known for his role as Eb Dawson in Green Acres, has died. He died of complications from Parkinson's disease on April 20 in the Nashville, Tennessee home of his fiancée and long-term caregiver, Jackie Peters. Mr. Lester was 81.

Green Acres

Lester starred as Eb Dawson in the 1965-1971 CBS sitcom Green Acres. Eb Dawson was the naive, wide-eyed, yet smart-mouthed young farmhand to Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert) and Lisa Douglas (Eva Gabor). He habitually addressed the Douglases as "Dad" and "Mom", much to Oliver's consternation. Lester won the role over 400 other actors after a screen test. He got the role because he was the only one who could milk a cow in real life since he grew up on a farm in Mississippi. He appeared in 150 of the 170 episodes. He missed the first half of the 1967–1968 season when he suffered mononucleosis. The cast also included Pat Buttram, Alvy Moore, Frank Patterson, Barbara Pepper (1965-1969), Frank Cady, Sid Melton (1966-1969) and Mary Grace Canfield (1966-1971).

He appeared as Eb Dawson in six episodes of Petticoat Junction in 1966-1967 and three episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies in 1968. In 1990, he reunited with Albert, Gabor and the other surviving cast members in the CBS TV movie Return to Green Acres.

Some of his other TV guest appearances included Love, American Style, Marcus Welby, M.D., Little House on the Prairie, Knight Rider and Santa Barbara.

Lester appeared as Riley in the 1974 film Benji. He played the adult Pete Maravich in the 1991 film The Pistol: The Birth of a Legend. He appeared as Cousin Jake in the 1995 film Gordy, which was about a talking pig. His final role was in the 2014 film Campin' Buddies. He also served as a writer and producer of the film.

He was a farmer and for many years had been a Christian speaker who traveled the nation, preaching a message of faith and obedience.

Survivors include his brother, Michael; great-nieces Haleigh and McKenzie; great-great-niece Scarlett; and great-great-nephew Wes.

Mr. Lester was very funny and likable as Eb Dawson in Green Acres. He seemed like a very nice man off the screen just like his character. He will be greatly missed.

Share your memories on our Green Acres message board. View photos in our galleries.

Roger Beatty

Emmy-winning writer Roger Beatty worked on The Carol Burnett Show and Mama's Family. He died on April 6 at his home in Palm Desert, California, of prostate cancer. Mr. Beatty was 87.

He won five Emmy Awards (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1978) for his work on The Carol Burnett Show. He created his first sketch for Carol Burnett in 1969.

Beatty directed three episodes and wrote an episode of the variety series The Tim Conway Show in 1980 and 1981. He co-wrote the feature film The Billion Dollar Hobo (1977), which starred Tim Conway. He directed 35 episodes and wrote an episode of Mama's Family in 1983 and 1984.

Saul Turteltaub

Television writer and producer Saul Turteltaub worked on 23 sitcoms, including That Girl, Sanford and Son and What's Happening!!. He died on April 9 at his home in Beverly Hills, California. Mr. Turteltaub was 87.

Turteltaub worked as a producer on That Girl from 1969 to 1971. He also directed 6 episodes and wrote 26 episodes of the series. The series starred Marlo Thomas, Ted Bessell, Lew Parker, Bernie Kopell and Rosemary DeCamp.

His sitcom producing credits included The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Love, American Style, Sanford and Son, Sanford Arms, What's Happening!!, E/R (1984-1985), You Again?, Throb and Baby Talk.

Some of his sitcom writing credits included Hey, Landlord, Accidental Family, A Touch of Grace, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Love, American Style, Lotsa Luck!, Grady, Sanford and Son (23 episodes), Sanford Arms, What's Happening!!, Carter Country, 13 Queens of Boulevard, One in a Million, One of the Boys, Double Trouble, E/R (1984-1985), Foley Square, You Again?, Kate & Allie, Chicken Soup, Baby Talk and Cosby.

He received three Emmy nominations as part of the writing team for That Was the Week that Was in 1964 and 1965 and for The Carol Burnett Show in 1968.

He was interviewed for The Television Academy Foundation: The Interviews on May 12, 2016.

Thomas L. Miller

Television producer and writer Thomas L. Miller worked on Perfect Strangers, Full House and Family Matters. He died on April 5 from complications from heart disease in Salisbury, Connecticut. Mr. Miller was 79.

Miller and Edward K. Milkis formed Miller-Milkis Productions in 1969. They worked as producers on Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Blansky's Beauties, Angie, Makin' It and Out of the Blue. Miller-Milkis-Boyett Productions sitcoms included Goodtime Girls, Bosom Buddies and Joanie Loves Chachi.

Robert L. Boyett joined the company in 1978. They became Miller-Boyett Productions. Miller-Boyett was responsible for family-oriented hit sitcoms such as Valerie/The Hogan Family, Perfect Strangers, Full House, Family Matters and Step by Step. Some of their other sitcoms included Going Places, The Family Man, Getting By, On Our Own, Meego, Two of a Kind and Fuller House.

Some of his sitcom writing credits included Nanny and the Professor, Me and the Chimp, Out of the Blue, Goodtime Girls, Bosom Buddies, Going Places, Getting By, Meego, Step by Step, Family Matters and Two of a Kind.

He is survived by Bob Boyett, his real-life and professional partner of 40 years.

Brian Dennehy

Actor Brian Dennehy starred in the short-lived sitcoms Star of the Family and The Fighting Fitzgeralds. He died on April 15 of cardiac arrest due to sepsis at his home in New Haven, Connecticut. Mr. Dennehy was 81.

Star of the Family

Dennehy starred as Buddy Krebs in the short-lived 1982 ABC sitcom Star of the Family. Buddy Krebs was a fire captain and the father of a 16-year-old singing daughter named Jennie Lee. The series also starred Kathy Maisnik, Michael Dudikoff, Todd Susman, George Deloy, Danny Mora and Judy Pioli.

The Fighting Fitzgeralds

He starred as "Fitz" Fitzgerald in the short-lived 2001 NBC sitcom The Fighting Fitzgeralds. Fitz was a widower and retired fire captain who wants to enjoy his retirement but shares his home with three grown sons, a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter. The series also starred Justin Louis, Connie Britton, Christopher Moynihan, Abigail Mavity, Jon Patrick Walker and Constance Zimmer.

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included M*A*S*H, The Tony Randall Show, Just Shoot Me, 30 Rock and Rules of Engagement. His TV drama credits included Kojak, Police Woman, Dynasty, Cagney & Lacey, Hunter, Miami Vice, Birdland, The West Wing, The Good Wife, Public Morals, The Blacklist and Hap and Leonard. He was nominated for Emmy Awards six times for his television movies.

He was best known for his film work. Some of his credits included First Blood (1982), Gorky Park (1983), Silverado (1985), Cocoon (1985), F/X (1986), Presumed Innocent (1990), Tommy Boy (1995), Romeo + Juliet (1996), and Knight of Cups (2015). He won Tony Awards in 1999 for Death of a Salesman and in 2003 for Long Day Journey's Into Night.

Danny Goldman

Actor Danny Goldman starred in The Good Life and Busting Loose. He died in his home in Los Angeles on April 12 from complications of two strokes. Mr. Goldman was 80.

Goldman starred as Nick Dutton, the teenage son of Charles Dutton (David Wayne) and Grace Dutton (Hermione Baddeley), in the 1971-1972 NBC sitcom The Good Life. The series starred Larry Hagman and Donna Mills as Albert and Jane Miller, a middle-class American couple who tire of their mundane existence and decide to seek new employment as the live-in butler and cook of a millionaire industrialist, Charles Dutton.

He starred as Lester Bellman, a childhood friend of Lenny Markowitz (Adam Arkin), in the short-lived 1977 CBS sitcom Busting Loose. The series also starred Barbara Rhodes, Jack Kruschen, Pat Carroll, Steve Nathan, Greg Antonacci, Paul Sylvan, Paul B. Price, Ralph Wilcox and Louise Williams.

Some of his sitcom guest appearances included That Girl, Room 222, The Partridge Family, Love, American Style, Happy Days, Chico and the Man, At Ease!, Soap, Alice, It's a Living, The Love Boat, Webster, The Golden Girls, The Famous Teddy Z, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and The King of Queens.

Goldman was most widely recognized as the voice of Brainy Smurf in Hanna-Barbera's The Smurfs from 1981 to 1989. He played Ozzie the Answer in Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer from 1984 to 1987. He appeared as the inquisitive medical student in the opening scene of the 1974 film Young Frankenstein.

Timothy Brown

Actor, singer and professional football player (Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Colts) Timothy Brown starred as Spearchucker Jones in the first season of M*A*S*H. He died of complications of dementia on April 4 in Palm Springs, California. Mr. Brown was 82.

Brown appeared as Dr. Oliver Harmon "Spearchucker" Jones in the first six episodes of M*A*S*H in 1972. The character was dropped from the show reportedly because the producers learned there were no African American surgeons serving in Korea during the Korean War. He played Cpl. Judson in the 1970 film M*A*S*H. Gary Burghoff, G. (George) Wood, and Corey Fischer were the only other actors to appear in both the film and TV series.

He guest starred in The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970, Benson in 1984 and Gimme a Break! in 1985. Some of his other TV guest appearances included The Wild Wild West, The Young Lawyers, Cade's County, Adam-12, Mission: Impossible, S.W.A.T, Cannon, The Rookies, T.J. Hooker and The Colbys.

David Schramm

Actor David Schramm was best known for playing the role of Roy Biggins in Wings. He died from a heart attack on March 28 in New York City. Mr. Schramm was 73.

Wings

Schramm starred as Roy Biggins, the blustery, cantankerous rival airline owner of Aeromass, in the 1990-1997 NBC sitcom Wings. He appeared in all 172 episodes of the series. The series also starred Timothy Daly, Steven Weber, Crystal Bernard, Rebecca Schull, Thomas Haden Church (1990-1995), Tony Shalhoub (1991-1997), Farrah Forke (1992-1994) and Amy Yasbeck (1994-1997).

He played Joe McGill, the father of Tess McGill (Sandra Bullock), in the short-lived 1990 NBC sitcom Working Girl, which was based on the 1988 film of the same name. The series also starred Nana Visitor, Judy Prescott, George Newbern, Edye Byrde, Tom O'Rourke, Anthony Tyler Quinn and B.J. Ward.

Some of his TV guest appearances included Another World, Spenser: For Hire, The Equalizer, Wiseguy, Jake and the Fatman, Max Monroe and Space Cases. His film credits included Let It Ride (1989), Johnny Handsome (1989) and A Shock to the System (1990).

We thank them all for the laughs and entertainment they brought us during their careers. They will be greatly missed.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Wednesday, September 28

The Conners - "Scenes From Two Marriages: The Parrot Doth Protest Too Much" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jackie moves in with Neville and discovers that being newlyweds produces new problems when Neville shows up to their home with an excess of animals from his vet office. Meanwhile, Darlene and Ben have an argument as Ben points out Darlene is turning into her father.

The Golbergs - "That's a Schwartz Man" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
With both sides of the family eager for answers on Geoff and Erica’s pregnancy, they decide to keep their baby’s sex a surprise. However, a sonagram finding from Lou Schwartz might provide an unexpected discovery. Meanwhile, Adam recruits Glascott to help his mother cope with his departure for NYU; but when he later has a change of heart about heading off to college, he sources a job as the personal assistant to a special celebrity to help lessen the blow when news of his deferred enrollment is delivered to Beverly.

Abbott Elementary - "Wrong Delivery" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
After Janine gets a look at the new charter school down the street, she becomes determined to fix up Abbott and make it just as good. As Gregory goes out of his way to avoid Barbara due to an awkward situation with his personal life, and Ava takes to the school library to host a “Shark Tank”-style pitch to decide what to do with the rest of the funds from the grant.

Home Economics - "Melatonin 10 Mg Tablets, $14.99" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Tom begins publicity for his new book as Marina takes on the redesign of Gretchen’s room, which causes a lot of stress at home and in the bedroom. Meanwhile, Sarah, Denise and the kids have to crash at Connor’s house when their apartment floods, much to Lupe’s chagrin.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 26)

Wednesday, September 28

  • Mila Kunis (Family Guy/That '70s Show) - Watch Mila on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC. She talks about Luckiest Girl Alive on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
  • Ramy Youssef (Ramy/See Dad Run) - Ramy appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet) - Timothy is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Max Greenfield (The Neighborhood/New Girl/Modern Men) - Max will be on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Mayim Bialik (Call Me Kat/The Big Bang Theory/Blossom) - Mayim is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Rosie O'Donnell (SMILF/Stand By Your Man/Gimme a Break!) - Rosie appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tyler James Williams (Abbott Elementary/Go On/Everybody Hates Chris) - Tyler is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kim Coles (Living Single/The Geena Davis Show) - Kim talks about her new series Finding Happy on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • George Clooney (Roseanne/The Facts of Life/ E/R (1984-1985) - George and Amal Clooney are guests on CBS Mornings sometime between 7-9am.
  • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri appears on CBS Mornings sometime between 7-9am.
  • Vanessa Lachey (Truth Be Told/Dads) - Vanessa is a guest on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Jaime Camil (Schmigadoon!/Broke) - Jaime talks about Netflix's El Rey: Vicente Fernandez on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Lio Tipton (Manhattan Love Story) - Lio appears on PIX 11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 9:40am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (May-September)

Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release) The Neighborhood - Season Four Young Sheldon - The Complete Fifth Season The Adventues of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Five The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Six

05/03 - No Activity - Season Three
05/13 - The Donna Reed Show - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Time Life)
05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
06/14 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Eleventh Season
06/14 - Hacks - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
06/14 - Rutherford Falls - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
06/21 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season One / The Complete Season Two
07/19 - The Neighborhood - Season Four
07/19 - Reno 911! - The Hunt for QAnon (Blu-ray) (DVD)
07/26 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Three / The Complete Season Four
08/16 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season (Warner Bros. - Canada)
08/16 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Fourth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/06 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/20 - Kim's Convenience - The Complete Series
09/27 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Five / The Complete Season Six
More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

09/28 - Mike Epps Gets HGTV Series; black-ish's Marsai Martin Headlines Paramount+ Comedy Film
09/27 - COZI TV Fall 2022 Schedule; FX Announces New Drama Premiere Date for Hulu
09/26 - Tudum: A Netflix Global Fan Event Recap; The White Lotus Season 2 Premieres Oct. 30
09/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 26, 2022)
09/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Addams Family Based Series Wednesday; Peacock Cancels Queer as Folk
09/23 - FX Renews Reservation Dogs for Season 3; Stars of Young Sheldon Head to The Price Is Right at Night
09/22 - Bounce Dramedy Finding Happy Premieres Saturday (Sept. 24); Roku's Kevin Hart Comedy Adds More Stars for Season 2
09/21 - ABC Extends Jimmy Kimmel Live Through Season 23; Peacock Orders Animated Comedy
09/20 - CBS Announces New Holiday Special; The CW Halloween Specials
09/19 - Rewind TV's Sabrina, The Teenage Witch-O-Ween Halloween Marathon; Iliza Shlesinger Returns to Netflix
09/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 19, 2022)
09/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saturday Night Live Adds New Cast Members for New Season; Streaming Media Mergers in the Works?
09/16 - The CW's A Waltons Thanksgiving Airs Nov. 20; Rewind TV's A Week of Very Special Episodes Includes Diff'rent Strokes, Facts of Life and More; Remembering Mark Miller of Please Don't Eat the Daisies
09/15 - Antenna TV Celebrates The Bewitched Witch-O-Ween Marathon; Avenue 5 Returns October 10 on HBO
09/14 - Rick and Morty Season 6 Premiere Is a Hit; FX Brings Comedy Specials to Hulu
09/13 - 74th Primetime Emmy Awards Winners; HBO Max Renews Rap Sh!t for Season 2
09/12 - MeTV Celebrates M*A*S*H 50th Anniversary with The Best by Farr; The Simpsons Season 33 Coming to Disney+
09/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 12, 2022)
09/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Laverne Cox Comedy from Norman Lear Lands Freevee Series Order; Fox Looking Into Adult Animated Drama
09/09 - Dancing with the Stars Season 31 Cast; Great Scott! Back to the Future Reunion at New York Comic Con This Fall
09/08 - COZI TV Acquires Monk, Bones and Las Vegas; HBO Max Renews Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
09/07 - Rewind TV Fall 2022 Schedule; Back to School Abbott Elementary Marathon
09/06 - Antenna TV Fall 2022 Schedule; BUZZR Celebrates 50 Years of The Price Is Right
09/05 - TV Marathons on Labor Day 2022
09/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 5, 2022)
09/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jeff Garlin's Character to Exit The Goldbergs; Peacock Cancels Rutherford Falls
09/02 - Freeform's 31 Nights of Halloween 2022 Schedule; Sherman's Showcase Returns for Season 2 on IFC and AMC+
09/01 - Netflix Sitcom with Michelle Buteau Rounds Out Cast; HBO Max Renews Harley Quinn for Season 4
08/31 - Antenna TV's Welcome Back to School Marathon; Apple TV+ Is Trying for More Comedy
08/30 - Netflix's Blockbuster Gets Premiere Date; Teri Hatcher Returns to Hallmark
08/29 - ABC Fall Preview Special Airs Sept. 14; Acapulco Returns in October on Apple TV+
08/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 29, 2022)