From Ward Cleaver to Homer Simpson, some of TV’s greatest dads



Home-screen father figures are celebrated for Father's Day

“Leave It to Beaver’s” Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont) was a memorable television father.

By Staff Writers

With Father’s Day being celebrated on Sunday, June 19, it’s a hugely appropriate time to give a salute to some of the most memorable dads in television history.


Ozzie Nelson (Ozzie Nelson), “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” (ABC, 1952-66): No one could have played David and Rickyʼs dad better.


Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont), “Leave It to Beaver” (CBS, 1957-58; ABC, 1958-63): With sons like Beaver and Wally, youʼd need the patience of a saint. Luckily, Ward had it.


Lucas McCain (Chuck Connors), “The Rifleman” (ABC, 1958-63): Tough when he had to be, rancher and widower McCain always turned tender when it came to son Mark (Johnny Crawford).


Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene), “Bonanza” (NBC, 1959-73): The Ponderosa patriarch made a powerful father figure to his headstrong sons.


Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith), “The Andy Griffith Show” (CBS, 1960-68): The plain-speaking widowerʼs love for son Opie (Ronny Howard) was evident in every breath he took and every life lesson he taught.


Steve Douglas (Fred MacMurray), “My Three Sons” (ABC, 1960-65; CBS, 1965-72): A pipe, a sweater and a level head were trademarks of this parent with an ever-expanding clan.


Mike Brady (Robert Reed), “The Brady Bunch” (ABC, 1969-74): No matter how big his hairstyle or architecture project, Mike was ever-ready with advice for his blended family.


John Walton (Ralph Waite), “The Waltons” (CBS, 1972-81): This patriarch of a large Depression-era brood let everyone know who was boss simply through silent strength.


Charles Ingalls (Michael Landon), “Little House on the Prairie” (NBC, 1974-83): Life wasnʼt easy in late 19th-century Minnesota, but if you wanted someone both rugged and compassionate, Laura Ingallsʼ dad was the man.


Howard Cunningham (Tom Bosley), “Happy Days” (ABC, 1974-84): “Mr. C.” kept his home open to his kidsʼ lively friends — i.e., Fonzie.


Jim Walsh (James Eckhouse), “Beverly Hills, 90210” (Fox, 1990-2000): Letting his twin children Brandon and Brenda learn about life on their own wasnʼt simple for doting dad Jim … but he generally stayed out of their way.


Homer Simpson (voice of Dan Castellaneta), “The Simpsons” (Fox, 1989-present): Either in animation or live-action, there never has been another parent quite like Homer, for a bounty of reasons.

“The Simpsons” is among series that have featured memorable television fathers.

Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher),”The O.C.” (Fox, 2003-07): Another of television historyʼs coolest dads, this liberal public defender often had a hard time reconciling his modest past with his affluent present.


Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell), “Modern Family” (ABC, 2009-20): This realtor didnʼt have all the answers about parenting, though heʼd sometimes have liked it to seem that way.


Logan Roy (Brian Cox), “Succession” (HBO, 2018-present): Heʼll never be mistaken for the warm-and-fuzzy type of dad, but as a media tycoon trying to ensure his conglomerateʼs future, Logan is a force to reckon with.


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