Hardman: Top 10 Sitcom Stars of All-Time

These sitcom characters have stood the test of time.

While I was sitting at the computer the other day, I was listening to a radio talk show host complain about other hosts who just talk about movies or sitcom stars instead of sports.

Thank you, Mr. radio talk show host, you gave me an idea for column.

Everyone has their favorite sitcom stars. The character and figures, for good and bad, leave a lasting impression on us. Sometimes they are the stars of the show, but other times, they are secondary characters who stole the show from the lead characters.

I have my personal top 10, but I'm pretty sure you will have your own, so that's why we have the comment section at the bottom of the stories.

Let the debate begin, but I'm going first.

Drum roll, please...

10. Eddie Haskell (Ken Osmond). Eddie tried to charm Mrs. Cleaver and lead our boy, Wally, a strayin "Leave it to Beaver." Let's face it, we all know someone like Eddie. We don't want to know him, but he's in our life anyway. By the way, you all look lovely today. Did I tell you what great readers you are?

9. Aunt Ester (LaWanda Page). Her battles with Fred on Sanford and Son were classic put down affairs. Nobody got under Fred's skin as much as his sister-in-law did. With her going to church outfit, complete with her Bible and a pocket book able to be swung at anytime, Ester was a show stealer.

8. Jeannie (Barbara Eden). Today, show creator goes into TV network office and says, "I want to do a show called "I Dream of Jeannie" about a woman genie in a bottle with doesn't wear much clothing and calls her man master." TV network person tosses said show creator out the window. Somehow in the 1960s, it worked. God, I loved the 60s.

7. Carla (Rhea Pearlman). The woman of a thousand names with 100 pounds of fearlessness and had one husband who died in a tragic Zamboni accident (I still laugh typing that) and keep a bunch of barflies in line on "Cheers." The Thanksgiving scene at Carla's house is a TV classic.

6. Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox). Let's fast-forward from the 1980s "Family Ties" to 30 years later: After a successful career as a venture capitalist, Alex decides to run for president on the republican ticket. Wait, this would be Milt Romney if he had been raised by hippie parents.

5. Don Knotts (Barney Fife). First, full disclosure here: Don is a cousin on the West Virginia side of my clan. I could have him No. 1. Sure it was the "Andy Griffith Show," but it really was about the life and times of one bullet Barney Fife, who keep the den of sin, known as Mayberry, N.C. on the straight and narrow.

4. George Costanza (Jason Alexander). Like Barney, George really stole the show from the star, Jerry Seinfield, whose name was on it. He's bald, fat, short, can't keep a job, has woman troubles and is also on the verge of the next big thing. In the middle of all that, he lives with his wacky parents, his future wife dies from bad envelope glue and he works for the Yankees. That's enough pain for anyone.

3. Homer Simpson (Dan Catellaneta). I have this strange feeling that 50 years from now some college class will be studying Homer (Simpson, that is) and decide that's what men of this generation were really like. Homer, fortunately or unfortunately, is everyman of the 20th and now 21st century.  Doh, oh.

2. Mary Tyler Moore. True confession: I have been in love with Mary since the Dick Van Dyke Show days when she was a beautiful suburban housewife to her days as a single working woman in Minnesota. Yes, Mary has lighten up my life with a single smile for a long time. The funeral scene in the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" when the station's clown host dies is a classic. Mary gets the chuckles and can't stop laughing. Google it if you have never seen it.

1. Al Bundy (Ed O'Neil). The pride of Polk High was a gift to men everywhere during the run of "Married With Children." No matter how your life turned out, nobody had it as bad as Al Bundy, fallen football hero and lifetime shoe salesman. You felt Al's pain of dealing with his failures and laughed about it.

Well, that's my top 10. I'm sure I left some of your favorites out, so be sure to add them to the comment section.

By the way, did I tell you what great readers you are?

Fiscal Conservative March 22, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Matt: GOOD JOB!!! Not too many people would know that. He was a great character in a fairly funny show. Bet you may not know that, Bob Denver, was actually a 4th Grade teacher before he became an actor. Maynard was one of my favorite characters, alone with Corporal Agarn of F Troop. My alltime favorite character was Jerry Horowitz. Do you know the character he played?
Tino Volpe March 22, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Ah so many great shows listed here. It would have to be a list a lot longer than 10 to even begin to capture everyone. I grew up watching Gilligan's Island (Bob Denver) The Munsters (Fred Gwynne), The Addams family (John Astin), Lost in Space (Jonathan Harris), Batman (Adam West) and of course F Troop with good ol' Corporal Agarn (Larry Storch). The list goes on and on. When you think about it even though there are a lot of bad sitcoms out there, there were a fair share of great ones too. TV Land channel doesn't come close to replaying all these classics. If it did these showswould be the only ones I watched except for Big Bang Theory. Especially considering the airwaves today are awash with reality shows (something like 250 at last count). What garbage
Shakey March 22, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Kramer, no more needs to be said, well maybe Ed Norton.....
Matt S March 22, 2012 at 08:51 PM
I had to do a little research because I did not have the answer was it Curly Howard?
Jolie March 30, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I loved Barbara Eden in "I love Jeannie", and although she called him "Master", she had plenty of sass and did her own thinking. Barbara's Jeannie actually illustrated a not so undercurrent of women's liberation! I truly hope she decides to do sitcom again.


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