A Tony Award-winning Broadway actor at the beginning of his career, Ken Howard enjoyed a few leading primetime television roles in the 1970s, but spent the majority of his career as a prolific character actor in film and on television. Howard's most memorable headlining television role was that of a retired NBA player-turned-coach of an inner city high school basketball coach on "The White Shadow" (CBS, 1978-1981), which showcased his talent for conveying authority and leadership softened by an emotional accessibility. That quality led Howard to be cast in countless guest roles as judges, doctors and men of the cloth on procedural dramas and sitcoms alike. Meanwhile, he starred as many an athlete and protective family man in decades of made-for-television movies. Longer-running recurring roles on "Crossing Jordan" (NBC, 2001-07), "Melrose Place" (Fox, 1992-99), "Dallas" (CBS, 1978-1991) and "Cane" (CBS, 2007) assured that the prolific character player maintained his name recognition throughout his career, though his onscreen presence invariably brought up fond memories of the groundbreaking, racially mixed television series that established his career.