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Top 15 TV Dads And Why They're So Important

By Monica Bielanko |

My parents divorced when I was 5-years-old. At 8, my big brother took it the hardest. It affected him the most, obviously. My other two brothers were just babies and had no idea what was going on.

After the divorce our mom, who was previously a stay-at-home-mom, got a full-time job at a center for the developmentally challenged, and dad skipped town. Consequently, we didn’t see him much. We did see a lot of TV though and I think, in a way, it saved us. We had no idea what a dad was supposed to be like. Our dad was the voice on the phone that constantly grilled us about that “latest A-hole your mother is dating”.

Cliff Huxtable would never do that. Cliff was patient and kind, calm and understanding. He could fix anything, in 30 minutes, no less! He didn’t even leave the house to go to work, for crying out loud. He just went to his office downstairs and occasionally delivered babies.

These sitcoms were comforting to a couple of kids who spent a lot of their childhood home alone. And I suspect dads like Steven Keaton from Family Ties and Cliff Huxtable taught my brother a lot more about being a dad than our dad ever did.

So, exactly who do Americans consider the top TV dads of all-time? In order of the votes they received, last to first, these are the results of the latest Harris Poll of more than 2,000 adults asked which TV dad they most wanted to be theirs. Do you agree with their picks? Who’s missing? Who would you drop?


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Top 10 TV Dads And Why They're So Important

15. Archie Bunker, All In The Family


It’s interesting to note that of the top 15 television dads Americans would have wanted growing up, only one is currently on TV (not counting reruns) and he’s a cartoon character. And, even though the show has been off the air for almost 20 years, Cliff Huxtable is a top dad for almost all age groups. Which TV dad would you most like to have had as a dad when you were growing up?

Top Image:

10 Clear Signs That Scream, “I’m a Dad!”

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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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5 thoughts on “Top 15 TV Dads And Why They're So Important

  1. jeneria says:

    I hate Family Guy. I have no idea why anyone would want Peter Griffin as a father except he’s so stupid that a moderately intelligent person would be able to get away with proverbial murder with him as a father.

    My childhood was kinda like Roseanne, but other than that I don’t identify with any of these fathers. I always kinda wanted my parents to be like the Walsh’s on 90210.

  2. elendy says:

    Seriously, this is a crap list and seems like they must have mostly polled the elderly (I mean, really – My 3 sons? You couldn’t find something more recent? Blech!)
    Of course, I’d vote for Bill Cosby and Dan Conner any day.
    And yes, where is Steven Keaton in there? (great father AND husband – not to mention paragon of 1970′s liberalism – I mean, he worked for PBS! Oh Family Ties…)
    As for current shows – well, I would definitely have to put a vote in for Coach Taylor! (Friday Night Lights).

  3. jeneria says:

    I so second Steven Keaton!

  4. Patricia Murphy says:

    Well I dont know about other dad but my dad was a self made man and very stricked with us there were three of us all girls and maybe he thought he had his work cut out for him with three daughters to look out for.
    he was also very fair and loveing he gave us all he could before cancer took him we miss him alot.

  5. Jorge says:

    My top 10:

    10: Andy Grifith
    9. Tim Taylor
    8: Danny Tanner
    7:Mike Brady
    6:Steven Keaton
    5:Jason Seaver
    4::Phillip Banks
    3:Eric Camden
    2:Howard Cunningham
    1:Bill Cosby

    Hon. Mention: Tony Micelli, Gidget’s dad, Mr. Sheffield, Major Dad,Carl (from Family Matters), Dan Conner, The Chief from Gimme a Break, Phil Drummond, My Two Dads…

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