Since Father's Day is this Sunday, we wanted to take some time to honor some of the best TV dads of all time. So, loosen your belt, crack open a beer, plop down on the recliner and check out which fantastic fathers made our Top 10!
Ward Cleaver, Leave It to Beaver - Ward, as played by Hugh Beaumont, was THE prototypical middle-class suburban dad of the late '50s and early '60s. He was an all-American guy who worked hard all day, appreciated his wife and acted as the moral compass for his sons, Wally and Beaver. Even though the world has changed a great deal since LITB aired, Ward's influence can still be seen in many TV dads who followed.
Andy Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show - Although he was also a moral compass—for his son Opie and the entire town of Mayberry—Sheriff Andy wasn't preachy. He had a knack for casually presenting moral dilemmas and letting people discover the "right thing to do" on their own. Even though Andy was surrounded by some oddball relatives and townspeople (and a bumbling deputy), he always managed to keep his head. And even though he had an entire town to look out for, the widowed dad always made time to go fishing or have a catch with his boy.
Mike Brady, The Brady Bunch - Robert Reed's Mike Brady was once named "Father of the Year" on a Brady Bunch episode, and it's not hard to see why. Like Ward Cleaver, Mike was a very scrupulous man who spent much of his time at home teaching his sons and stepdaughters ethical values. However, since he was a dad of the '60s and '70s, he was much more...uh...groovy.
Charles Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie - Michael Landon's portrayal of "Pa" Ingalls—an 1870s farmer who tried to make a better life for his wife and three daughters by moving the family to Walnut Grove, MN—was pitch-perfect. Sensitive yet super masculine (he was pretty sexy when he got angry), Charles was the kind of dad that every daughter hoped for and the kind of man that every woman dreamed of raising her kids with.
Cliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show - Cliff managed to be a morally strong dad without coming off as a square. Drawing from his stand-up material about family life, Bill Cosby made Cliff a kind and supportive father who raised his children with humor and was never afraid to look completely goofy. I mean, those sweaters. Yikes.
Martin Crane, Frasier - How a blue-collar, no-nonsense guy like Martin ever ended up with two uptight sons like Frasier and Niles is a mystery for the ages. (Clearly, his genes were no match for those of his late psychiatrist wife.) While Martin (played wonderfully by John Mahoney) may have been a bit gruff and had a hard time with expressing emotions, it was quite obvious that he was proud of his sons' accomplishments and loved them very much. And although he wasn't necessarily the "moral compass" for his kids, Martin usually taught them a thing or two about common sense.
Howard Cunningham, Happy Days - On a show set in the '50s but filmed in the '70s, Tom Bosley's Mr. C was another typical "good guy" dad, but wasn't the prim, proper and "perfect" man of the house like the dads from shows filmed in the '50s—meaning he was much more realistic. Sometimes stern, sometimes sweet and always supportive, Howard was level-headed, jovial and pretty darn cool. Just ask Fonzie.
Hank Hill, King of the Hill - For an animated character, Hank is not a very animated guy. But he's a real "dad's dad"—hard-working, dependable, loyal and honest. And although he's not one to show emotions either, he's always there for his son Bobby...even if the boy ain't right.
Burt Hummel, Glee - In just a few appearances, Mike O'Malley turned Burt Hummel, openly gay Kurt's father, into one of the best loved Glee characters. The character is an interesting departure from the typical TV dad, although he is a bit similar to Martin Crane in that Burt is a widowed, blue-collar manly man who loves his son unconditionally, yet is still learning how to handle the differences between their lifestyles. But he certainly knows a lot about being supportive—I mean, what Glee fan wasn't moved by Burt's recent tirade against Finn for using the word "faggy?"
Adam Braverman, Parenthood - As the dependable eldest sibling of Parenthood's Braverman clan, Adam (Peter Krause) is the glue who keeps his family together. He's a genuinely good guy, if not a little overly concerned about keeping everything perfect and "normal." However, that desire for normalcy went out the window when he and his wife discovered that their son Max had Asperger's syndrome. Adam may be overwhelmed, but is working hard to stay connected to his son.
Which TV dads are your favorites?