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Daddy Dozen: Our favorite TV fathers

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 10:34 PM

The death of actor Tom Bosley reminds us that we have lost another great TV dad. Who was your favorite?

The death this week of actor Tom Bosley reminds us that we have lost another great TV dad. Bosley's Howard Cunningham on "Happy Days" would make anyone's list of top fathers.

Most TV dads have been the bumbling kind found on TV sitcoms where Mom always knew best.

Veteran film actor Robert Young set the standard for kind, understanding, and well-meaning family patriarch on "Father Knows Best" in the 1950s. Since then, we've seen all kinds of TV dads from Ben Cartwright on "Bonanza" to cartoon goofball Homer Simpson (the dumbest of dumb dads).

Here is list of the Daddy Dozen - 12 TV fathers who may not have always known best but they tried:12. Hank Hill (Mike Judge) was an animated blue-collar Southern dad who struggled with expressing his feelings. Deep down he was a lot more sensitive than Homer Simpson.

11. Steven Keaton (Michael Gross) played a former '60s rebel who tried to keep an even temper while raising a conservative son on "Family Ties."

Michael Gross had to meld his hippie past with the Republican leanings of his son on "Family Ties." He proved that politics don't have to divide relatives.

10. Mike Brady (Robert Reed), in the 1970s, was oh so mod as he headed up the ultimate blended family on "The Brady Bunch."

9. Eric Camden (Stephen Collins) was wise, kind and even cool as a modern minister with seven kids on "7th Heaven."

8. Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) represents the most recent incarnation of a single TV father who is trying to connect with his teenage daughter.

7. Ray Barone (Ray Romano) on "Everybody Loves Raymond" continued the long tradition of clueless but well-meaning TV dads.

6. Martin Crane (John Mahoney) deserves our sympathy as the long suffering father to brainy offspring Frasier and Niles on "Fraiser."

5. George Lopez (George Lopez) wasn't really playing himself on the "George Lopez" sitcom. The character was a funny blue-collar father who was a great Hispanic role model.

4. Charles Ingalls (Michael Landon) was a loving pioneer father on "Little House on the Prairie."

3. Howard Cunningham (Tom Bosley) was a '50s dad on a beloved '70s TV show who kept his cool around the coolest dude - The Fonz.

2. Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby) was a funny dad who gave his kids tough love when they needed it on "The Cosby Show."

1. Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) was the kind of wise, small-town father dad every baby boomer wished for and he's still dispensing advice to Opie because "The Andy Griffith Show" has been in reruns for 40 years.

 

Honorable Mention:

Future Top 10s

Burt Hummel (Mike O'Malley) is a blue-collar guy who is trying hard to accept his son Kurt with unconditional love on "Glee."

Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) was a New Jersey mobster but he was a lovable brute whose fatherly concern ran so deep that he had his daughter's unworthy suitor "whacked."

Red Foreman (Kurtwood Smith) was a dry, world-weary 70s father for whom the glass was always half-empty but he was always refreshingly frank with simple wisdom like "What a load of crap!"

Seely Booth (David Boreanaz) is an FBI agent and single dad who is devoted to his young son, Parker.

Cam Tucker (Eric Stonestreet) on "Modern Family" is an excellent role model for gay fathers. He may be neurotic and insecure but he's trying as are all the dads on "Modern Family."

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