I always hate to have to report the death of one of those familiar TV character actors we all grew up watching. On the other hand, many of them gave us countless hours of enjoyment without ever breaking through to the perks of big stardom, and I like being able to call attention to their contributions and let them take a final bow. So on that note, let’s all say a final “Thanks for the memories” to comic actor Bill Daily, who passed away last week in his longtime home of Santa Fe, New Mexico, at 91.
You might not recognize his name, but if I told you he was Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden’s best friend, “Major Healey,” on “I Dream of Jeannie,” I bet you’d instantly recall his face and voice and comic timing. Or if I told you he was Bob’s neighbor, the befuddled airline pilot Howard Borden, on “The Bob Newhart Show.” Or if you turned on a rerun of “ALF,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Love American Style” or countless other shows, you’d be likely to see him pop up and make you laugh.
You’ll be glad to know that his colleagues remember him as being as likable off-screen as on. Bob Newhart called him “one of the most positive people I ever knew.” And his son said, “He loved every sunset, he loved every meal — he just decided to be happy about everything.” And he made a lot of other people happy, too. There are some performers who reach the highest stardom but who never achieve as great an honor as being remembered that way.
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