Sunday, May 24, 2009

An odd list

Instead of going to bed, I was trying to think of TV actors who created two (or more) really memorable characters, cultural icons!. Here' my list.

Mary Tyler Moore -- Laura Petrie,
The Dick Van Dyke Show; Mary Richards, The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Betty White -- Rose Nylund,
The Golden Girls; Sue Ann Nivens (The Happy Homemaker), The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Bea Arthur -- Maude Findlay, Maude; Dorothy Zbornak, The Golden Girls.

Raymond Burr -- Perry Mason,
Perry Mason; Robert T. Ironside, Ironside.

John Cleese --Basil Fawlty,
Fawlty Towers; Various, Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

I added Cloris Leachman and Michael J. Fox because of their TV
and movie roles.

Cloris Leachman -- Phyllis Lindstrom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Phyllis;
Frau Bl├╝cher, Young Frankenstein; Ruth Popper (the coach's wife), The Last Picture Show.

Michael J. Fox -- Marty McFly, Back to the Future trilogy; Alex P. Keaton
, Family Ties; Mike Flaherty, Spin City.

Added by Chicken Little in a comment:
John Ritter-- Jack Tripper,Three's Company, Reverend Fordwick,The Waltons.

For Betty White (above), I did not include
Life with Elizabeth.
Life with Elizabeth was produced by a local LA TV station and was a big hit at the time (1953 - 1955), comparable to I Love Lucy. The reruns can only be seen on America One, a low-power TV network (LPTV) and on DVD. I saw the reruns many years ago. Betty White and co-star Del Moore used to more items on the set when no one was looking -- causing lamps, pillows, and ashtrays to jump about when the different takes were assembled into a show. Each episode ended the same way -- pure Betty White: "Elizabeth and Alvin are a married couple who live an ordinary suburban life, but inevitably managed to get into predicaments. At the end of most predicaments, Alvin, in variable degrees of frustration, would say, "I shall leave you now, Elizabeth" and would walk out of sight. The announcer would say, "Elizabeth, aren't you ashamed?" She would slowly nod, but then, with a slightly devilish grin, would vigorously shake her head to indicate she wasn't."

I also forgot to add Harry Morgan to my original list. What a remarkable career he has had! His list of TV and movies at IMDB is mind-bending, including the judge in Inherit the Wind.
  • Pete, December Bride and spin-off Pete and Gladys (December Bride was the show that followed I Love Lucy on CBS).
  • Officer Bill Gannon, Dragnet.
  • Major General Bartford Hamilton Steele, M*A*S*H.*
  • Colonel Sherman T. Potter, M*A*S*H.*
*The only person I can think of to create two memorable characters in a single TV series. General Steele was in "The General Flipped At Dawn."


Chicken Little said...

I'd like to add to your list:

John Ritter played Jack Tripper in Three's Company and also Reverend Fordwick in The Waltons. Very different and very memorable characters.

stan said...

Tom Selleck was memorable as Thomas Magnum in "Magnum, P.I." and for his recurring role in "Friends" as Monica's on-again, off-again boyfriend Richard.

Richard Dean Anderson was both "Macgyver" and Col. Jack O'Neill on "Stargate SG-1".

Melina Kanakederedarededakeras had a very successful run as the lead character in NBC's "Providence" and is now successful as one of the main characters in "CSI:NY". Of course, one could argue against her being memorable to me, since I can't remember her character name in either show.

And don't forget Bill Cosby as Alexander Scott in "I Spy" and Cliff Huxtable in "The Cosby Show."

This is a fun game, I love this kind of stuff.

stan said...

And you can't forget about William Shatner as both Captain Kirk (now we have to say "original" Kirk) and Denny Crane in "Boston Legal." (I guess I should include "T.J. Hooker," too.)

And David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight in "Knight Rider" and Mitch Buchanan in "Baywatch."

There's another long list if you start looking at only shortens a bit if you limit it to movie series...

sleepyrn said...

Alan Alda in M*A*S*H for TV and many movies including my favorites "Same time next year" and "The four seasons."

I LOVE Alan Alda.

sleepyrn said...

OK - maybe the movie characters weren't particularly memorable to most people but they are to me - cuz I LOVE Alan Alda.

stan said...

I should probably stop. However, I just remembered one more: Larry Hagman was memorable in both "I Dream of Jeannie" and in "Dallas."