10 of TV's Most Beloved Dads

From the Prairie to Bel-Air, these dads are American classics.

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It's nearly Father's Day, and what better way to celebrate than looking back on the TV shows you watched instead of spending quality time with dear old dad?

...only teasing. We know your father was sitting with you on the couch, enjoying the broad appeal of those family sitcoms from decades long past.

Our real fathers were never as eccentric or animated as the ones we saw on television, but we loved these characters as if they were our own dads. The best TV dads are so lovable because they remind us of our fathers–their faults, their heroic moments, and their boundless love. From do-gooders to mountain men, handymen and comedians, these are 10 of television's most beloved TV dads.


Andy Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show

As the dependable sheriff of Mayberry, Andy Taylor is a classic example of the "straight man." Stern, reflective, and never quick to temper, Sheriff Taylor always gives sage advice to those around him. His relationship with his son is a core aspect of The Andy Griffith Show, and Andy does his best to raise his only child as a model citizen.

Morals change with the times, but Andy is one of the most honest, well-meaning fathers in sitcom history.




Archie Bunker, All in the Family

By 2014's standards, Archie Bunker is a bigot and a loudmouth. But hey–every family's got one.

Always quick to judge and even quicker to insult, this father lives by his own rules and expects his family to follow them to the letter. He's a real "love to hate him" kind of guy, but we love him anyways.




Charles Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie

Think raising children in the suburbs is hard? Try living during the 1800s! ...with no TV at all!

Charles Ingalls is a mountain man, coming from simpler times when farming and providing for your family were the only means of survival. A simple man by today's standards, but an example for those that followed him.




Heathcliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show

What could be said about Bill Cosby that hasn't been said already? Heathcliff Huxtable, his persona on The Cosby Show, is a family man through and through.

As a father to five children, Cosby's wit, kindness, and sage advice makes him a true family man, "you see."




Al Bundy, Married With Children

When life gets in your way, sometimes the only way around is through. That's why Al Bundy is so endearing, despite his abrasive personality. Though he treats his wife and kids like dead weight, he's still a family man for the long haul.

He's also a mean barbecuer:




Danny Tanner, Full House

One of the nicest dads to ever grace our television sets, Danny Tanner puts the "family" in "wholesome family fun."

Before Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen rocketed to stardom, they were under the care of their well-meaning single parent. Danny is less daring and confrontational than other fathers on this list, but he proves that having a calm demeanor is just as valuable. Not very hip, but definitely valuable.




Jack Arnold, The Wonder Years

Jack Arnold is a hardworking, no-nonsense father from a tumultuous era. He's been through The Great Depression and World War II, events that don't make for a "touchy-feely" father. In the end, Jack reminds us of the fierce respect we can have for our fathers, even if they seem distant.




Dan Conner, Roseanne

If the family in Roseanne is a circus, Dan Conner is the ringleader. Or rather, if the Conner household is an asylum, Dan has taken over as the new director.

John Goodman's character is goofy, rude, and almost as charismatic as Roseanne herself. She tries to upstage him by hitting his head with a frying pan, but Dan is too headstrong to let it faze him.




Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

At least one animated father had to make the list. Beating out contenders like Fred Flintstone and Hank Hill, Homer J. Simpson is the star of a show that's all about family–it's called The Simpsons, after all. The antics Homer and his family get into are stranger than the usual domestic dispute, but the strength of his character shines all the brighter for it.




Philip Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Good old Uncle Phil: Raising three of his own children and his nephew Will Smith is a tall order. What's so unique about this darling uncle is his evolving relationship with Will. Though biologically unrelated, the two form familial bonds just as strong as blood relations. When's National Uncle Day?




Hero Images: 20th Television / Gracie Films

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