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Top Ten Favorite Television Fathers of All Time

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Many of our attitudes abour modern culture are formed by watching television.  Fathers on television tend to be at polar ends of a scale--either extraordinary fathers or clueless dads.  This list of famous television fathers tends to reflect our society's favorites.  But at the end, you can add your own favorite TV father.

1. Andy Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show

Andy Griffith Show Cast
CBS / Getty Images

Andy Griffith played Sheriff Andy Taylor, in the Andy Griffith Show in the 1960's.  He was a totally committed single father who lived with and raised his son Opie and with their Aunt Bea.  He was a doting father, but still held Opie to a high standard of morality and proper behavior.  And he courted Opie's school teacher Helen Crump.

2. Heathcliff Huxtable from The Cosby Show

The Cosby Show Cast
Courtesy of TV Land

As the patriarch of the Cosby clan, Cliff Huxtable was the consummate father of his generation.  A busy obstetrician with an office downstairs at his home, Cliff had time to wise crack and spout wisdom with the children we watched grow up over eight seasons in the 1908's.  His love of jazz music and great art, his colorful sweaters and his clever repartee inspired many fathers and families.

3. Mike Brady from the Brady Bunch

The Brady Bunch Cast
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Architect Mike Brady, played by Robert Reed, headed up his blended family on "The Brady Bunch."  Famous for his morality talks with the kids and a sometimes exasperated look at the antics of six busy kids, Mike Brady was beloved by a generation.

4. Ray Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond

Ray Romano Everybody Loves Raymond
Getty Images Entertainment
Ray Barone, the lovable father on Everybody Loves Raymond, is a sportswriter, husband to Debra and father to sons Michael and Geoffrey and his daughter Ally. Ray is the typical conflict-avoidance father unless it comes to his own parents who live across the street and seem to invade very important family moment. As the title of the TV show implies, Ray wants to be loved by everyone in his circle. He and Debra have some tense moments, and she sees him as somewhat clueless, bur Ray Romano is a favorite dad for many.

5. Howard Cunningham from Happy Days

Happy Days Cast
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Played by well-recognized actor Tom Bosley, this TV father owned and operated a hardware store. Howard Cunningham alwys seemed to have time to be a part of his kids' lives and regularly offered solid fatherly wisdom to his chldren and their sometimes unique frieds like Ralphie, Potsie, Fonzie and Chachie.  Howard and Marion's home was always open to any kids who happened to show up.

6. Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie

Michael Landon
Getty Images

Michael Landon was best known as Little Joe Cartright from Bonanza fame when he took on the role of Charles Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie. Charles was the archetypal pioneer and farmer father raising three daughters on the frontier. He was full of homespun wisdom and was the pillar of their small farming community.

7. Homer Simpson of The Simpsons

Homer Simpson
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Homer Simpson is the father every father hopes not to emulate. With no particular interest in anything in life except the occasional beer and the not-so-occasional donut, Homer is a dysfunctional father at it's best. Abusive and disconnected with his family, Homer is admittedly funny but truly a sad example of a father in today's world.

8. Danny Tanner of Full House

Full House Cast
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Danny Tanner was played by Bob Saget who later hosted shows such as America's Funniest Home Videos and was an extraordinarily funny stand-up comedian. In Full House, he was a young widower raising four daughters including the Olsen twins (Mary Kate and Ashely) as the baby of the house. Known as a bit overprotective and as a neatness nut, Danny Tanner was lovable and the dad many teenage girls wished they had.

9. Tim Taylor of Home Improvement

Tim Allen
Getty Images

The host of Tool Time on this show, Tim Taylor is the consummate "man's man."  He is accident prone, does not know everything about a home workshop, and often feels that a bigger tool will do the job when a smaller tool will not, right or wrong.  As a father, Tim is quite unfocused, and his wife Jill totally runs the family, and is the perfect comic foil for Tim.  This is a home with love and respect underlying the comedy and silly situations.  Home Improvement ran on television from 1991-1999, and can be seen today on TVLand.

10. Phil Dunphy of The Modern Familiy

Ty Burrell of Modern Family
Getty Images
One of the most committed dads on television in the last few years, Phil Dunphy (played by Ty Burrell) is a consummate family man. Married to Claire and father of three, Phil tries hard to bond with the kids and be a "together father" for the family. He certainly has his moments of cluelessness, and he is maybe a little too attached to his father's new trophy wife, but he works hard at being a good husband and father.
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