I know that Modern Family will join this list, but that show is only in the third season, & I am still in the first stages of love, all dizzy & blurry & unable to be objective:
Top 10 Sitcoms of All Time:
1. I Love Lucy
2. The Dick Van Dyke Show
3. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
5. Will & Grace
8. Arrested Development
10. The Bob Newhart Show
He appeared in hundreds of TV shows & films, but I loved him best as the dour Mel Cooley on The Dick Van Dyke Show. At the start of his career, Richard Deacon was advised by Helen Hayes to abandon all hope for becoming a leading man. She encouraged him to chase a career as a character actor.
Big, bald, bespectacled & bass-voiced, Deacon heeded Hayes' advice, & was able to survive in show business far longer than most of the leading men. Usually cast as a sourpuss, Deacon was a valuable & highly regarded supporting cast commodity for films: Desiree (1954), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Spirit Of St. Louis (1957), The Young Philadelphians (1959) & The Birds (1963), among many others. Virtually every major star who worked with Deacon paid compliments to his skills. His biggest admirers were Lou Costello, Lucille Ball, Jack Benny & Cary Grant, no slouches in the comedy department.
He proved even better on TV. His resume his head-spinning. He guest starred on nearly every sitcom of the era. Deacon had the distinction of doing 2 sitcoms at the same time in the early 1960s: he was pompous suburbanite Fred Rutherford on Leave It to Beaver, & the long-suffering Mel Cooley on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Deacon also co-starred as Kaye Ballard's husband on the delicious- The Mothers-in-Law (1968) with Eve Arden, & enjoyed a rare leading role on the 1964 Twilight Zone installment The Brain Center at Whipples. In his last decade, Richard Deacon hosted a TV program on microwave cookery, & published a companion book on the subject.
Deacon appeared in the long-running Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! as Horace Vandergelder (a role I played to great acclaim in the late 1980s), opposite Phyllis Diller from 1968-1970. Deacon continued appearing on television & in the movies until his death from heart disease at 67 years old.
On The Dick Van Dyke Show, I always wanted him to have more air time, I thought him to be so funny. His work on this show had a certain influence on my comedy style. My favorite Deacon moments were as Tallulah Bankhead’s butler on an episode of I Love Lucy. He was born 90 years ago, on this day, May 14th. Melvin Cooley, what a cool name, huh?
I would love to know your favorite sitcom of all time. Care to comment?