Top 15 TV Dads Reflect Yearning for Days Gone By

June 18, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Media & Entertainment | Men | Television | Youth & Gen X

Dr. Cliff Huxtable, the sweater-wearing patriarch of The Cosby Show, tops the list of all-time favorite TV dads in a recent US poll from Harris Interactive, which also revealed that a surprising number of favorite TV dads are from decades past.

Behind Dr. Huxtable, Ward Cleaver (Beaver’s dad) of Leave it to Beaver came in at #2, followed by Jim Anderson of Father Knows Best at #3, Andy Taylor (Opie’s dad) of The Andy Griffith Show at #4, and Ozzie Nelson – of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet – at #5.

The complete TV dad rankings:


Favorite Picks Vary Slightly by Generation

Harris noted that polls of the US population usually show that different age and demographic groups have their own favorites. However, with TV dads, this did not hold true, as only one group (Matures, ages 64+) did not pick Cliff Huxtable as their favorite TV dad. This group instead picked Jim Anderson, Harris said:


The selection of second-favorite dad did show some differences by generation. Matures chose Cliff Huxtable as their second favorite, while Boomers (ages 45-63) chose Ward Cleaver; Gen Xers (ages 33-44) picked Mike Brady; and Echo Boomers (ages 18-32) tapped Danny Tanner as second-favorite.

Yearning for Days of Old?

Interestingly, of the top 15 television dads, only one is currently on primetime TV (Homer Simpson), while seven of them are from shows from the 1950s or 1960s, and two were on shows set in the 1950s or earlier.

“Maybe it is the economic crisis or just a desire for the days of old, but it seems when picking their favorites, Americans are looking back to simpler times and maybe even happier times,” Harris said in a press release.

About the survey: The study included 2,681 US adults surveyed online between May 11 and 18, 2009.

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