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CBS (ended 1967)

Tom Poston Passed Away!

  • Avatar of dad1153

    dad1153

    [1]May 1, 2007
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    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3i68b66ec1208d826008220b22bc67c9de

    :
    Tom Poston, master of sidekicks, dies

    By Duane Byrge

    Tuesday, May 1, 2007

    Tom Poston, who was nationally recognized for his long run on "To Tell the Truth" and his comic turns on "The Bob Newhart Show," died Monday, April 30, 2007 at his home in Los Angeles following a brief illness. He was 85.

    During the 1950s and 1960s, Poston was ubiquitous on quiz and panel shows. Beginning with guest appearances on "The Tonight Show" when Steve Allen hosted it, he was a popular talk-show guest. He won an Emmy for performing on "The Steve Allen Show," a stint he continued for four years.

    Poston was also a recognizable comic actor. He played the grouchy neighbor on "Mork & Mindy" but he particularly jelled with Newhart. His guest spots on "The Bob Newhart Show," when he played Bob's low-brow college chum, Peeper Murdock, who inspired the normally straight-laced Bob to "Animal House" antics, were popular episodes. When Newhart launched a new comedy series in 1982, Poston was cast as George Utley, his dull-witted sidekick whose loony observations packed wisdom. His slack-eyed look and slow-talking s t y l e were a hilarious combination, particularly when he punctuated them with inspired observations.

    Poston was reportedly originally offered the role of Maxwell Smart in "Get Smart," but turned it down.

    Similarly, Poston also shined as a comic sidekick for Tim Conway's Derk Dorf character, and made memorable appearances as Mr. Looney, the school custodian, on "Family Matters." In 1995, he joined "Grace Under Fire" as Floyd, Russell's (Dave Thomas) odd father. He teamed up with Howie Mandel in the short-lived 1990 Fox series "Good Grief" a comedy set behind the scenes at a mortuary. Poston also occasionally appeared in TV longforms, such as the daffy 1986 CBS miniseries "Fresno."

    While best known for his comedic TV appearances, he also did dramatic turns in such shows as "The Defenders," which starred E. G. Marshall and Robert Reed as a father/son lawyer team.

    Poston was active in theater throughout his career, highlighted by his Broadway turn in the advertising satire "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" He also played Trinculo in the 1960 "Hallmark Hall of Fame" rendition of Shakespeare's "The Tempest."

    Poston's feature film appearances were sporadic. He began on film as a detective in 1953's "The City That Never Sleeps" and played the town two-timer in the Norman Lear comedy, "Cold Turkey" (1971). He also performed in "Soldier in the Rain," which starred Steve McQueen and Jackie Gleason, and "Rabbit Test," with Billy Crystal. More recently he appared in "Krippendorf's Tribe" with Richard Dreyfuss, and "The Story of Us," which starred Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer.

    Poston was born on Oct. 17, 1921 in Columbus, Ohio. He was a student at Bethany College, but entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II and served in England from 1941-45. Poston was accorded an Air Medal for his efforts on D-Day, and won two other Oak leaf Medals, gaining an Oak Leaf Cluster in military terms.

    After his discharge, he moved to New York and began to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. He studied under such teachers as Sanford Meisner and Charles Jehlinger. He soon won a part in the Broadway production of "Cyrano de Bergerac," which starred Jose Ferrer.

    Poston varied his performances between Broadway and live TV. He soon won a gig as the host of a live daily TV show, "Entertainment." His early TV performances were on a wide array of shows, including "Lights Out," "Studio One," "Goodyear Television Playhouse," "Robert Montgomery Presents" and "The Phil Silvers Show." During this time, he made periodic forays onto the game shows, frequently appearing as a celebrity or mystery guest on such programs as ""What's My Line?" and "I've Got a Secret."

    However, it was his turns on "The Steve Allen Show" which won him nationwide recognition and led to more starring roles on Broadway. His stage appearances became increasingly frequent, starring and touring in such productions as "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Come Blow Your Horn," "Bye, Bye Birdie" and "Fiddler on the Roof," among others.

    Poston and his first wife, Jean Sullivan, had a daughter, Francesca, before their marriage ended in divorce. He married his second wife, Kay Hudson, after they met while appearing in the St. Louis Light Opera, and they had two sons, Jason and Hudson.

    Poston and Suzanne Pleshette, who had appeared together in the 1959 Broadway play "The Golden Fleecing," had had a brief fling before marrying other people. Both now widowed, they reunited in 2000 and married the following year.

    Their paths had crossed on "The Bob Newhart Show" in the 1970s. Poston made several guest appearances on the sitcom in which Pleshette played Newhart's wife.

    He is survived by Pleshette and his three children.

    There will be a private service for immediate family. Details of a public memorial service will be announced in the next few days.

    In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund.

    Wow, first Kitty Carlisle passes away two weeks ago and now Tom Poston joins her in the big gameshow panel in the sky.  Orson Bean better look out, the TTTT flu is spreading!  

    Edited on 05/01/2007 5:04pm
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  • Avatar of ClassicTV

    ClassicTV

    [2]May 1, 2007
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    I once heard Kitty Carlisle say in an interview that Mark Goodson chose her and Tom Poston to play a sample game of "Password" with Allen Ludden in front of CBS executives in the network's New York City headquarters in the early 1960's.  Their skilled game-playing sold CBS on adding this game show to the schedule.  Kitty and Tom would later be paired a few times during the run of the series.
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  • Avatar of astorino

    astorino

    [3]May 1, 2007
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    That's sad news indeed. Tom had a long and varied career and will be missed by his many fans. RIP, Tom Poston.
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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [4]May 2, 2007
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    Too much focus on death here.  The man was 85.  Let's talk about what he was doing at age 82, 83, 84.  He was not exactly a hermit.  What he did in his 40s, 50s and 60s is on youtube and TV Land.

    Edited on 05/02/2007 3:00pm
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  • Avatar of stopettearoma

    stopettearoma

    [5]May 2, 2007
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    There is no big gameshow panel in the sky.  There is one on youtube.

    Edited on 05/02/2007 3:01pm
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  • Avatar of Linneman

    Linneman

    [6]May 2, 2007
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    Any news from GSN on preemptions of WML for a tribute? It seems likely they'll do something.
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  • Avatar of agent_0042

    agent_0042

    [7]May 2, 2007
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    stopettearoma wrote:
    Let's talk about what he was doing at age 82, 83, 84.

    I'll take the bait! Poston's most recent role, at least in his credits listed here, was as the character Merle on Disney Channel's The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. He also appeared in the film Christmas with the Kranks in 2004 as Father Zabriskie. That film didn't review very well, and while I didn't think it was great, I think it was reasonably likable.

    For the record, he appeared twice on What's My Line? as a mystery guest according to this credits here. He appeared by himself in Episode #496 and in Episode #840 along with the rest of the panel of To Tell the Truth (including Kitty Carlisle.) He is also listed under "recurring" as a guest panelist for the show.
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  • Avatar of ymike673

    ymike673

    [9]May 3, 2007
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    Linneman wrote:
    Any news from GSN on preemptions of WML for a tribute? It seems likely they'll do something.

     

     

    So far it looks like the "Tribute"  will be an episode of "To Tell The Truth" at 3:30 AM. WML is still listed for 3 AM.

    Edited on 05/03/2007 12:32pm
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  • Avatar of W-B

    W-B

    [10]May 4, 2007
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    ymike673 wrote:
    Linneman wrote:
    Any news from GSN on preemptions of WML for a tribute? It seems likely they'll do something.

    So far it looks like the "Tribute"  will be an episode of "To Tell The Truth" at 3:30 AM. WML is still listed for 3 AM.


    Wonder if the WML? episode to be shown will be one of those in which Mr. Poston appeared?

    But I also remember him as a regular on Mork & Mindy in the late 1970's and early '80's (as "Mr. Bickley").

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