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Here Are the 8 Best TV Dads of All Time

The death of the great character actor John Mahoney recently reminded me of one of television history’s most underrated sitcoms, and of one of its most underrated TV dads.

Not that Frasier and Martin Crane were ignored in their day. It was a very popular show and a critical favorite. But, maybe because it was a spin-off of Cheers (though it actually holds up better in current viewing), neither gets the love they should in lists of the greatest of either.

But without Martin Crane as the manly gravity of the show, Frasier would not have been half as warm—or wise. This list is of TV dads who shared those same qualities. None of them are buffoons, nor are they idealized wise men. They might not have always understood their kids, but they loved them fiercely. And they might have occasionally lost their temper or been mistaken in their discipline, but we always knew the good place they were coming from.

Most of all, the impact on their kids is deep and undeniable. And trying to measure up to dad’s standard, even if it’s motivated by the fear of not making it, is a dominant feature in their kids’ lives—even if the kids are as superior as Frasier and Niles.

8. Jed Clampett—"The Beverly Hillbillies"

Well, doggies! Along with "Green Acres," "The Beverly Hillbillies" was the funniest of the hick comedies of the '60s. And while all the showy, slapstick roles went to those around him, Jed Clampett was the figure everyone (even Granny) came to when things needed to be set right.

And I’m sure that on one of those days he and Jethro had that lonnnnnggg talk.