Thursday, July 28, 2022

ABC to Present Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter; Remembering Tony Dow of Leave it to Beaver and Paul Sorvino

Norman Lear

Honoring the life and legacy of the remarkable storyteller, activist and philanthropist Norman Lear, ABC will present a one-night-only celebration, Norman Lear: 100 Years of Music and Laughter. The special will pay homage to the man behind some of television's greatest stories and will feature an impressive lineup of celebrity guests and musical performances to celebrate his 100th birthday, airing Thursday, September 22 from 9:00-11:00 p.m. EDT on ABC and available the next day on Hulu. Special guests and performers will be announced at a later date. Born in 1922 in New Haven, Connecticut, Lear attended Emerson College before flying 52 combat missions over Europe during World War II. Upon his return, he began a successful career writing and producing programs like The Colgate Comedy Hour and The Martha Raye Show — ultimately leading to Lear captivating 120 million viewers per week with his iconic shows of the 1970s and '80s - All in the Family, Good Times, The Jeffersons, Maude, One Day at a Time and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. He has won six Primetime Emmys and a Golden Globe®.

Tony Dow

Actor and director Tony Dow, who starred as Wally Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver, has died. He died on July 27 at his home in Topanga, California, of complications from liver cancer. Mr. Dow was 77.

Leave it to Beaver

Dow's career began when he went on a casting call and landed the role of Wally Cleaver in Leave it to Beaver. The classic family sitcom aired on CBS for one season from 1957 to 1958 before moving to ABC for five seasons from 1958 to 1963. A total of 234 episodes were produced over the six seasons. Wally is June (Barbara Billingsley) and Ward's (Hugh Beaumont) son and Beaver's (Jerry Mathers) older brother. His pals include Tooey Brown (Tiger Fafara), Chester Anderson (Buddy Hart), the awkward Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford (Frank Bank), and smart-aleck Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond).

The New Leave it to Beaver

He reprised his role as Wally in the 1983 CBS reunion television movie Still the Beaver, which aired on March 19, 1983. The ratings success of the movie prompted the creation of the Disney Channel revival series Still the Beaver, which aired for one season from 1984 to 1985. The series was retitled The New Leave it to Beaver when it moved to WTBS for three additional seasons from 1986 to 1989. A total of 101 episodes (plus the movie) were produced over the four seasons. Dow wrote one episode and directed five episodes of the series. The cast included Barbara Billingsley, Jerry Mathers, Kipp Marcus, John Snee, Janice Kent, Kaleena Kiff, Ken Osmond, Eric Osmond, Christian Osmond, Ellen Maxted, Troy Davidson (1987-1989) and Frank Bank.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Tony Dow - Square Pegs

Dow played Ed Greene, the father of Patty Greene (Sarah Jessica Parker), in two episodes of Square Pegs in 1982. Some of his other sitcom guest appearances included My Three Sons (1964), Love, American Style (1971), The Love Boat (2 episodes) and Charles in Charge.

Tony Dow on Adam-12

He starred as Chet on the 1965-1966 ABC daytime soap opera Never Too Young. Some of his television drama guest appearances included Dr. Kildare, The Eleventh Hour, The Greatest Show on Earth, Mr. Novak (5 episodes), Lassie (3 episodes), Adam-12, Mod Squad, Emergency!, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Quincy, M.E. (1983), Knight Rider, The New Mike Hammer (1987), Murder, She Wrote (1987), Jesse Hawkes, Freddy's Nightmares (2 episodes) and Diagnosis Murder.

Dow parodied his Wally role in The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) with Jerry Zucker playing Beaver. He played Principal Pete Kinney in the 1983 NBC TV movie High School U.S.A., which starred Michael J. Fox, Nancy McKeon, Anthony Edwards, Crispin Glover, Todd Bridges, Dana Plato, Frank Bank, Ken Osmond and many other sitcom stars.

Some of his other sitcom directing credits included Get a Life, Harry and the Hendersons (6 episodes), Coach (13 episodes), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show (3 episodes) and Manhattan, AZ (3 episodes). His drama directing credits included The New Lassie (2 episodes), Swamp Thing (5 episodes), Babylon 5 (5 episodes), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Crusade (2 episodes) and Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family (3 episodes).

Dow served as the visual effects supervisor for Babylon 5. In 1996, he provided visual effects for the Fox television movie Doctor Who. He was a producer for The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space (1995) and It Came from Outer Space II (1996).

In addition to his wife Lauren Shulkind, survivors include a son from his first marriage, Christopher; a brother; and a granddaughter.

Tony Dow

Mr. Dow was wonderful as Wally Cleaver. He was one of TV's best older brothers. In addition to acting, directing, producing and writing, he was also a sculptor, creating abstract bronze sculptures. We thank him for his work as an actor and director. He will be greatly missed.

Share your memories on our Leave it to Beaver message board. View photos in our galleries.

MeTV Remembers Tony Dow

The MeTV Network will celebrate legendary actor Tony Dow with a special extended presentation of Leave it to Beaver episodes, airing Sunday, July 31 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm on MeTV. Featuring 10 episodes showcasing Tony Dow’s beloved character Wally Cleaver, MeTV's tribute will include the episodes "Wally's Job," "Wally's Car" and "Wally's Weekend Job." Leave it to Beaver currently airs on MeTV weekdays from 8:00 to 9:00am ET/PT.

Paul Sorvino

Actor Paul Sorvino, who starred as NYPD Sergeant Phil Cerreta on Law & Order, has died. His first TV series starring role was on the short-lived 1975 sitcom We'll Get By. He died of natural causes at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, on July 25. Mr. Sorvino was 83.

We'll Get By

Sorvino's first weekly television series starring role was as George Platt on the short-lived 1975 CBS sitcom We'll Get By. The series, which was created by Alan Alda, featured a typical middle-class New Jersey family, the Platts. George Platt worked as a lawyer. He and his wife, Liz (Mitzi Hoag), had three teenage children: Muff (Jerry Houser), Kenny (Willie Aames) and Andrea (Devon Scott).

Law & Order

He starred as Sergeant Bert D'Angelo on the short-lived 1976 ABC police drama Bert D'Angelo/Superstar. He played Detective Ike Porter on the 1987-1988 CBS police drama The Oldest Rookie. He starred as Sergeant Phil Cerreta in 31 episodes of the second and third seasons of the NBC police procedural and legal drama Law & Order from 1991 to 1992. From 2000 to 2002, he starred as Frank DeLucca on the CBS comedy-drama That's Life. He also directed two episodes of That's Life in 2001 and 2002. In 2017, he appeared as Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. on the Canadian crime drama Bad Blood. He played Frank Costello in the Epix crime drama Godfather of Harlem from 2019 to 2021.

Paul Sorvino and Mark Addy - Still Standing

Sorvino had a recurring role as Al Miller, the father of Bill Miller (Mark Addy), in four episodes of the CBS sitcom Still Standing from 2004 to 2006. He played Ben "Pop-Pop" Goldberg, the father of Murray Goldberg (Jeff Garlin), in a season two episode of The Goldbergs in 2014. The character was later played by Judd Hirsch. He guest starred as Jack Martino, the father of James "Jimmy" Martino (John Stamos), in a 2016 episode of Grandfathered.

He guest starred as David Addison Sr., the father of David Addison Jr. (Bruce Willis), in a 1986 episode of Moonlighting. Some of his other television drama guest appearances included The Streets of San Francisco, Murder, She Wrote (1989), Star Trek: The Next Generation, Jack & Bobby, Elementary and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.

Sorvino starred as Lucchese crime family caporegime Paulie Cicero (based on real life gangster Paul Vario) in Martin Scorsese's 1990 gangster film Goodfellas. Some of his other film credits included A Touch of Class (1973), Oh, God! (1977), Bloodbrothers (1978), Reds (1981), That Championship Season (1982), The Stuff (1985), Dick Tracy (1990), The Rocketeer (1991), Nixon (1995), Romeo + Juliet (1996) and The Cooler (2003).

Survivors include his wife, Dee Dee Benkie; three children from his first marriage, Mira, Amanda and Michael Sorvino; a brother; and five grandchildren.

Mr. Sorvino was a gifted actor. He often portrayed authority figures on both the criminal and the law enforcement sides of the law. We thank him for the entertainment that he brought us during his long career. He will be sorely missed.

Share your memories on our We'll Get By message board. View photos in our galleries.

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, December 5

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to Our Time" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Calvin weighs the pros and cons of making a major life change. Also, Marty turns to Dave for help dealing with a troubling discovery.

Bob Hearts Abishola - "Idle Nigerians" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Abishola’s visit to the sock factory during a nurse’s strike puts extra pressure on Bob to make the factory successful.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 5)

Monday, December 5

  • Selena Gomez (Only Murders in the Building/Wizards of Waverly Place) - Watch Selena on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Sebastian Maniscalco (How to Be a Bookie) - Sebastian appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • John David Washington (Ballers) - John is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Lea Michele (The Mayor/Scream Queens) - Lea will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Janelle James (Abbott Elementary) - Janelle appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Kenan Thompson (Kenan/Kenan & Kel) - Kenan is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. He will also be on E! News on E! at 11:30pm.
  • Annaleigh Ashford (B Positive) - Annaleigh will be on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • ReneĆ© Rapp (The Sex Lives of College Girls) and Alyah Chanelle Scott (The Sex Lives of College Girls/Reboot) - ReneĆ© and Allyah are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Gabourey Sidibe (Difficult People/The Big C) - Gabourey unpacks the new holiday film All I Didn't Want for Christmas on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse talks about Take Me Out on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am and on NBC's Today in the 10am.
  • John Stamos (Fuller House/Grandfathered/Jake in Progress/Full House/You, Again?) - NBC's Today has the Citi Music Series with John and The Beach Boys some time between 7-9am.
  • Sarah Chalke (Roseanne/Scrubs/How I Met Your Mother/Mad Love/How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)) - Sarah talks about Netflix's Firefly Lane on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Liza Lapira (9JKL/Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life/Super Fun Night/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23/Traffic Light) - Liza is a guest on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 9:40am.
  • Kel Mitchell (Game Shakers/Kenan & Kel) - Kel appears on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 10:30am.

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

Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Ghosts - Season One The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Christmas Collection Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

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
10/04 - Mr. Mayor - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
10/04 - The Munsters - Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Cast
10/18 - Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season
11/08 - Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/08 - Young Rock - Season Two (Blu-ray) (DVD)
11/15 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Seven / The Complete Season Eight
11/22 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/29 - Ghosts - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
12/06 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Christmas Collection
12/13 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season
12/13 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Recent News Blog Posts

12/05 - NBC Orders Full Season of Lopez vs. Lopez; Apple TV+ Christmas Collection
12/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of December 5, 2022)
12/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: First Look at That '90s Show; Warner Bros. Discovery Makes More Changes, Including Ending Live News at HLN
12/02 - Classic Holiday Game Show Block on GSN; Zooey Deschanel Gets Discovery+ Series
12/01 - Apple TV+ Announces Premiere Date for Shrinking; Disney Producing Animated Sitcom
11/30 - That '90s Show Premieres Jan. 19; The CW Midseason 2023 Schedule
11/29 - Master Minds Returns Jan. 9 on Game Show Network; Remembering Sons & Daughters Co-Creator Nick Holly, Clarence Gilyard Jr., Ron Masak and Others We Recently Lost
11/28 - The Game Revival Season 2 Trailer, Premieres Dec. 15; Reno 911! Holiday Movie on Comedy Central
11/27 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 28, 2022)
11/26 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Kelsey Grammer Explains Why David Hyde Pierce Won't Return to Frasier Reboot; NBC to End Year with Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton
11/25 - George Lopez Reunion on Lopez vs. Lopez on Dec. 16; Marc Maron Gets HBO Comedy Special
11/24 - 2022 Thanksgiving TV Marathons on TV This Holiday Weekend Include Soap Every Episode Marathon
11/23 - Fran Drescher Hosts The Nanny Marathon on COZI TV; Fox Gets Celebs for TMZ Christmas Special
11/22 - NBC Schedules New Game Show During Holidays; Peacock Teams Up with Comedian Sean Patton
11/21 - Letterkenny Returns for Season 11 on Hulu; The White Lotus Season 3 Ordered
11/20 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 21, 2022)
11/19 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Vicki Lawrence to Guest Star in Call Me Kat; Grey's Anatomy Gets a Little Less Grey
11/18 - Bounce Orders New Sitcom for Spring 2023; Remembering Hogan's Heroes Star Robert Clary, The Bob Newhart Show and Taxi Co-Creator David Davis, and Head of the Class Co-Creator Richard Eustis
11/17 - MeTV's A Very Merry MeTV Schedule; HBO Max's Sort Of Returns Dec. 1
11/16 - Comedic Stars Line Up for Baking It Holiday Special; Atsuko Okatsuka Gets First HBO Special
11/15 - CBS Midseason 2023 Schedule; Oprah Interviews Abbott Elementary Megastar
11/14 - Netflix Books Sebastian Maniscalco Comedy Special; Hallmark Channel Signs Hunter King for Movies
11/13 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 14, 2022)
11/12 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Midseason Premiere Dates Set for Reboots of 80s Classics; Abbott Elementary Still Strong in Ratings
11/11 - Chris Rock Live Comedy Special Set for Netflix; Hulu Renews This Fool for Season 2
11/10 - Fox Orders New Animated Comedy for 2024; Netflix Picks Up Reggaeton Comedy Neon
11/09 - NBC Midseason 2023 Schedule; Apple TV+ Renews Bad Sisters for Season 2
11/08 - ABC Midseason 2023 Schedule; Fox 2023 Midseason Schedule
11/07 - Showtime and Paramount Network Set Simultaneous Premiere; Jeff Dunham's New Comedy Central Special
11/06 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 7, 2022)
11/05 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Pluto TV Adding 6,300 Episodes from CBS Vault; Tuca & Bertie Cancelled