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Published: Sunday, 6/19/2005

Tuning in to TV's role models


Dads seem to know everything, don't they? It's like they were born to pass on their wisdom to you - how to throw a baseball, ride a bike, use power tools, make a snow angel. TV dads are the same way, and it's a good thing, because many of us spend as much time with them as our own fathers. Who grew up watching those ideal dads of the '50s and '60s - Ward Cleaver in Leave it to Beaver; Jim Anderson, Sr. of Father Knows Best, even Ben Cartwright on Bonanza - and didn't wish their dad could be that good? Modern TV dads seem to trend more toward the goofy, even buffoonish at times, but they have their own wit and wisdom to share. But don't take our word for it; take theirs.


TV Dad: Danny Williams

Show: Make Room for Daddy (1953-1965)

Profession: Nightclub entertainer

Actor: Danny Thomas

Fatherly wisdom: "I love you, you little jerk."

TV Dad: Jim Anderson

Show: Father Knows Best (1954-1960)

Profession: Insurance agent

Actor: Robert Young

Fatherly wisdom: "I look barely in my '40s. That hardly qualifies me for the home for the aged. Yet."

TV Dad: Steven Keaton

Show: Family Ties (1982-1989)

Profession: Works for public television

Actor: Michael Gross

Fatherly wisdom: "Oh yes, we can ground her. Ground her as she's never been grounded before. Ground her deep, ground her long, ground her hard."

TV Dad: Heathcliff Huxtable

Show: The Cosby Show (1984-1992)

Profession: Doctor

Actor: Bill Cosby

Fatherly wisdom: "You're going to do it because I said so. I am your father. I brought you into this world, and I'll take you out!"

TV Dad: Al Bundy

Show: Married With Children (1987-1997)

Profession: Women's shoe salesman

Actor: Ed O'Neill

Fatherly wisdom: "A Bundy never wins, but a Bundy never quits."

TV Dad: Homer Simpson

Show: The Simpsons (1989-present)

Profession: Nuclear power plant safety inspector

Actor: Dan Castellaneta

Fatherly wisdom: "I won't lie to you, fatherhood isn't easy like motherhood."

TV Dad: Tony Soprano

Show: The Sopranos (1999-present)

Profession: Waste management consultant/mob boss

Actor: James Gandolfini

Fatherly wisdom: "There is nothing more useless than an unloaded gun."

TV Dad: Tim Taylor

Show: Home Improvement (1991-1999)

Profession: Host of TV program about tools

Actor: Tim Allen

Fatherly wisdom: "There's two different types of pain. Pain and man pain ... Man pain is when you do something stupid."

TV Dad: Sandy Cohen

Show: The OC (2003-present)

Profession: Lawyer

Actor: Peter Gallagher

Fatherly wisdom: "Never underestimate a parent's ability to mortify their child."

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