We invest a lot — our faith, hearts, even our childhood — in the television shows and fictional characters we grow to love the most. And despite time moving forward and the inevitable progression of aging taking its toll, it can sometimes be difficult to disassociate the actors who played your favorite TV network fathers from the seemingly all-knowing, full-of-wisdom people they are on screen. Carl Winslow, doing anything but being the neighbor of Urkle? Pffffft. Consider this your sad but gentle reminder that it is in fact the year 2016 and TV dads like Sandy Cohen and Keith Mars have moved onto bigger and better things (it’s a figure of speech; we all know nothing beats The O.C. and Veronica Mars).
Peter Gallagher has had many memorable roles throughout his acting career, but for all you hardcore O.C. fans, it might be a tad difficult to see beyond anything but Sandy Cohen. He may forever be the public defender who arguably saved Ryan Atwood’s life in your mind, but he’s gone on to do much more since the show ended back in 2007. Currently, he’s filming a TV movie called Center Stage: Dance Camp and has appeared regularly in Law and Order: SUV as Deputy Chief William Dodds since 2014.
Perhaps there was no plot line sweeter than watching Burt Hummel connect with his gay son, Kurt Hummel (played by Chris Colfer) in season one of Glee. I mean, who can forget when Burt totally walked in on Kurt and his scantily-clad backup dancers booty shaking to “Single Ladies?” A classic TV moment right there. Post-Glee, Mike O’Malley had a small role in a Will Smith's recent movie Concussion in 2015.
Enrico Colantoni will forever be the clever and cool, quick-witted private investigator who bailed his spunky daughter Veronica out of the stickiest and trickiest of situations, no matter how many AVM roles he has. (AVM stands for After Veronica Mars, in case you lack classic spy deductive reasoning skills.) Keith Mars always kept us on our toes, but since Kristen Bell’s series ended, he’s starred in a slew of projects including Remedy and a 2015 movie called The Dark Stranger.
When calling to mind the hilarious '90s TV show Family Matters, the only sound that resonates more distinctly than the goofy shrill of Urkle’s voice is police officer and man-of-the-house Carl proclaiming, “I have spoken!” Reginald VelJohnson, who made the anti-Urkle character famous, has had a lofty acting career since the days of kicking his suspendered-nemesis out of his TV home. He’s guest starred on Disney Channel shows like I Didn’t Do It, starred as Dash DeWitt in Hart of Dixie, and Tommy in Clipped.
William Russ arguably portrayed one of the best sitcom fathers of all-time as dad to Cory, Eric, Morgan, and preemie-baby Joshua on Boy Meets World. (Yes, even in “Picket Fences,” when he refused to co-sign on the breakfast-nook-clad house that Cory and Topanga could not afford.) Nowadays, he guest stars on the occasional Girl Meets World episode (Disney Channel’s spinoff sequel) as well as appearing on an episode of Scandal, and working on three new movies, which are all currently in post-production.
TBT to the days when Patrick Duffy strutted around our television screens in Frank Lambert's iconic chambray shirt, raised the many children of his blended family, and kissed Suzanne Sommers on the reg. Can you believe it's been 25 years since it first premiered? *Buys walker and dentures from nearby Duane Read and shuffles away dramatically* Recently, we loved seeing Patrick on the ABC Family (Freeform?!) show The Fosters, as Robert Quinn Sr.
Arguably, Kurtwood portrayed one of the most iconic TV dads with a propensity to give tough love, Red Forman on That '70s Show. Though his hilariously stubborn and set-in-his-ways character was lacking of charisma and subsequently full of judgment, Kurtwood's portrayal wiggled its way into the hearts of many. Recently he filmed 10 episodes of Agent Carter in 2016. Maybe he'll have a novelty line about putting something up his son's ass, just for the hell of it?
Kyle Chandler made a name for himself as Eric Taylor, the emphatic football coach from Friday Night Lights back when the show premiered in 2006, but since the series ended in 2011, his acting career hasn't slowed down. He appeared in movies like The Spectacular Now, The Wolf of Wall Street, Carol, and stars in Netflix's family-murder-drama Bloodline.
Rumor has it if you close your eyes and really focus, word has it you can still hear Amy Juergen's stern, loud, and ruthless father George Juergens, played by Mark Derwin, yelling loudly about his teenage daughters having sex. #NeverForget. Since his days starring as Shailene Woodley's father on ABC Family's series The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Mark appeared in an episode of Bones, several How I Met Your Mother episodes (as Captain Harvey Pounds), and filmed the 2016 movie Lowlifes alongside Disney actor Booboo Stewart and former Disney Channel actor Kyle Massey.
Let's hear it for the father of Lizzie McGuire. He had to deal with A LOT. Not only did Robert Carradine's character expertly deal with Matt's wacky hijinks, but he had to sit through Lizzie constantly talking about hottie Ethan Craft, how much dealing with Kate Sanders sucked, and screaming about SHE.WANTED.A.BRA. Yikes -- it's tough to be a dad, even if it's just a TV one. Nowadays, he's been in a bunch of movies like Django Unchained, the made-for-TV film Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda. He is also the host and executive producer of King of the Nerds, a game show on TBS where contestants take "nerdy challenges" to test their nerd intelligence and nerd skills.