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Top TV Dads


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Here's a continuing look at TV's top 13 dads: In chronological order-from the 1950s cardigan-wearing, "Father Knows Best" types to the 21st century guys juggling dysfunctional families and questionable careers.


Heathcliff Huxtable

One of TV's first African American fathers, Heathcliff Huxtable also broke paternal ground in The Cosby Show (1984-1993) for his dual-income earning family. The high-powered couple (Cliff was an OB-GYN, wife Clair a corporate attorney) resonated with American viewers, who were eager to see an image of their own family's working status - rather than TV land's persistence in the passé norm of the housewife mom. Together, the joke-cracking Cliff and straight-laced Clair raised their five kids, ranging in age from preschool to high school, in their Brooklyn brownstone.


Steven Keaton

Steven Keaton (played by Michael Gross) was the liberal, loving dad to three in Family Ties (1982-1989). Both Steven and wife Elyse were former flower children trying to reconcile their now suburban lifestyle with a soulful quest to "do good" in the world. Steven found an outlet for his altruism in his career - running the public TV station; but at home, this former hippy was constantly foiled by eldest son Alex "P." Keaton, a hard-core Reagan Republican.


Dan Connor

Dan Connor (played by John Goodman) was the rotund, beer swigging, blue-collar husband and father on the comedy Roseanne (1988-1997). Frequently confounded by his three kids, Dan also struggled to figure out who really "wore the pants" in his blue-collar family: himself or his wise-cracking wife Roseanne.


Homer Simpson

Speaking of less-than-perfect dads, Homer Simpson has cornered the market on underachieving. As The Simpsons's (1989-present) animated patriarch, Homer personifies bumbling ineptitude in everything he does - from his botched attempts at raising his three kids to his rather ironic job as safety inspector at the local nuclear plant. The longest run show on TV, with characters that have never aged, The Simpsons offers America a satirical, politically incorrect family and one of the most enduring iconic cultural references.


Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor

Tim Taylor (played by Tim Allen) was Home Improvement's (1991-1999) goofy handyman and blundering father to three sons. Fortunately for the Tool Man - as Tim was called on his successful cable DIY show - he was able to count on his ever-patient wife Jill and his sage-like neighbor Wilson for guidance on everything from parenthood to politics.


Ray Barone

Ray Barone (played by comedian Ray Romano) was the Italian-American, sportswriter dad to three on Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005). Set in Long Island, the show featured the complicated (some might say: dysfunctional) family dynamics between the dopey but well-intentioned Ray; his long-suffering wife Debra; his gruff but good-hearted father Frank; and his meddling, passive aggressive mother Marie. And many were the opportunities for conflict between them, since Ray and Debra lived right across the street from Frank and Marie.


Tony Soprano

Now here's a killer dad! Anthony "Tony" Soprano (played by James Gandolfini) was no Ward Cleaver, but he's definitely the most powerful dad on this list. The ruthless Underboss of a New Jersey crime family, Tony seemed to genuinely love his wife (if you can look past his rampant infidelity) and his two teenage kids. But between his depression and anxiety attacks (and borderline sociopath personality), Tony struggled to find his footing in fatherhood - or marriage and any other genuine relationship, for that matter.



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Related Articles:
2011 Father's Day Presidential Proclamation
Father's Day Blog Postings
2009 Father's Day Presidential Proclamation
The Top TV Fathers
2010 Father's Day Presidential Proclamation


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Comments
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Charles Woodruff from Korea (South) (Republic)
07:54 12/25/2010
 
"Top" to me means "best" so you include an imbecile cartoon character yet leave out classic fathers such as Lucas McCain of "The Rifleman"? Flawed choices indeed.
Comment
Helen Hevener
10:29 10/21/2010
 
Ohh another great dad I thought was Tony Danza on Who's the Boss!!!
Comment
Roy from Virginia, US
20:26 10/20/2010
 
How about Fred McMurray of My 3 Sons, Robert Young of Father Knows Best homer Simpson, you have to be kidding, he's a cartoon character.
Comment
vince from Maryland, US
12:51 06/20/2010
 
Why are they all white? What about African American TV dads....The U.S. will never change will it?
Comment
Janet
07:08 05/05/2010
 
it is very nice
Comment
Ray from Alabama, US
14:12 06/18/2009
 
What about James Evans from Good Times? He was a real man who was flawed but cared deeply for his family.
Comment
lizzi from United Kingdom (Great Britain)
07:23 06/09/2009
 
gotta agree with Debra.......Dr Huxtable needs to be added!
Comment
Debra Hackett from California, US
19:55 05/20/2009
 
You've got to be kidding. You have Archie Bunker and not Cliff Huxtable. Incredible
Comment
brett diwa sr from Florida, US
22:57 05/05/2009
 
Also Michel Landon, From Little House on The prarie. He portrayed a great father figure.
Comment
dad
10:58 06/15/2008
 
happy father day


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