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Tom Poston

by Dawbfan

Tom Poston was born on October 17, 1921 in Columbus, Ohio. At age 9, Poston was a member of “The Flying Zebleys”, an acrobatic troupe. After high school, he went to Bethany College in West Virginia, but he did not graduate. Instead, Poston joined the United States Army and served with distinction in the European Theater in World War II. Upon his return, he began studying acting in New York City.

Poston made his Broadway debut in 1947 in José Ferrer's production of "Cyrano de Bergerac". This was followed by "The Barretts of Wimpole Street", "King Lear". Forty Carats", "Come Blow Your Horn", "Plaza Suite", "Mary, Mary" and the musicals, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and "Fiddler on the Roof".

Poston gained recognition as a comedic "Man in the Street" on the “Steve Allen Show”. For these performances, Poston won the 1959 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series. Following that, he appeared frequently on Broadway and as a television game show panelist, including regular appearances on “To Tell the Truth” and “What's My Line?”. While Poston's film career was limited to quirky comedies such as William Castle's "Zotz!" and "The Old Dark House" in the 1960s, his television career was expansive. He contributed his comedic talents to virtually every corner of the medium, from made-for-TV movies to variety shows to situation comedies to talk shows and even to voice-overs for cartoons.

In 1975, Poston had a recurring role on "The Bob Newhart Show" as Cliff Murdock for two seasons. In 1979, he joined the cast of "Mork & Mindy" in the recurring role of their boozing, annoying, always complaining, down-stairs neighbor, Mr. (Franklin Delano) Bickley. He was in 19 episodes of the first three seasons and one episode in the fourth and final season. After the series ended, he played the role of George Utley, the handyman who couldn't fix anything, on Bob Newhart’s second series, "Newhart" and Jerry Fleisher, Bob’s dim-bulb former college roommate on Newhart’s third series, “Bob”. Poston also had recurring roles on other TV series such as "Family Matters", "Murphy Brown", "Home Improvement", "The Cosby", "Malcolm & Eddie", "ER", and "That '70s Show".

His movie credits include: "Cold Turkey," "The Happy Hooker," "Rabbit Test," "Christmas With the Kranks," "Beethoven's 5th" and "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement."

Tom Poston married Jean Sullivan in 1955. They had a daughter, Francesca. They divorced in 1968.

Poston then married Kay Hudson on June 8, 1968. They had two children; a son, Jason and a daughter, Hudson. The couple divorced in 1975, but remarried on December 30, 1980, and remained married until Kays’s death from ALS on July 10, 1998.

On May 11, 2001, Poston married actress Suzanne Pleshette, who played the wife of Bob Newhart's character Bob Hartley on "The Bob Newhart Show". (Poston and Pleshette had appeared together in the Broadway play "The Golden Fleecing," and had a brief fling before marrying other people. Both widowed, they reunited in 2000 and married the following year). The couple remained married until Poston’s death on April 30, 2007 in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 85, from undisclosed causes.

Acting Credits:

"TV Land Confidential: Finales " (2007) TV Episode - Himself – interviewee)
"The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: Ah, Wilderness" (2006) TV Episode - Merle
"The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments" (2005) TV mini-series - Himself
The 3rd Annual TV Land Awards (2005) (TV) - Himself
Christmas with the Kranks (2004) - Father Zabriskie
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004) - Lord Palimore Beethoven's 5th (2003) - John Giles/Selig
"8 Simple Rules... for Dating My Teenage Daughter: Good Moms Gone Wild " (2003) - Jake
"That '70s Show: Your Time Is Gonna Come)" (2003) - Burt Sigurdson
"Intimate Portrait: Suzanne Pleshette" (2002) - Himself
"That '70s Show: Thank You)" (2002) TV Episode - Burt Sigurdson
On Stage at the Kennedy Center: The Mark Twain Prize (2002) - Himself/George Utley
"Will & Grace: Went to a Garden Potty)" (2002) - Norman
Inside TV Land: Get Smart (2001) – Himself
"The Lone Gunmen: The 'Cap'n Toby' Show)" (2001) - Captain Toby/Fred Tabalowski
"ER: Fear of Commitment)" (2001) - Earl
"The Drew Carey Show: Oswald's Dad Returns" (2001) - Roscoe Harvey
"Biography: Bob Newhart: The Last Sane Man..." (2001) - Himself
"Dharma & Greg: The Spy Who Said He Loved Me" (2000) - Dr. Gillespie
The Story of Us (1999) - Harry
"Diagnosis Murder: The Roast" (1999) - Tom Porter
"Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show: Honey, It's the Ghostest with the Mostest " (1999) - Uncle Cosmo
"Cosby: Timerity " (1999) TV Episode - Tim
"Suddenly Susan: Sleeping with the Enemy " (1998) - Mr. Vance
"Touched by an Angel: Cry and You Cry Alone)" (1998) - Ed
Krippendorf's Tribe (1998) - Gordon Hargrove
"Grace Under Fire: Rob vs. Jimmy)" (1997) - Floyd Norton
"The Larry Sanders Show: My Name Is Asher Kingsley " (1996) - Himself
"Home Improvement: The Tool Man Delivers" (1996) - Ned
"Murphy Brown: Office Politics " (1996) - Old Man Swenson
"Home Improvement: 'Twas the Flight Before Christmas (1995) - The Clerk
Comic Relief VII (1995) - Himself
"Murphy Brown: Crime Story" (1994) - Old Man Swenson
"Family Matters: Presumed Urkel" (1994) - Mr. Looney
"Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: Halloween" (1993) - Mysterious 'Dead Man'
"Dream On: Oral Sex, Lies and Videotape" (1993) - Sidney 'Uncle Bouncy' Barish
"Bob: (Recurring Role) The Entertainer" (1993) - Jerry Fleisher
"Good Grief: (Recurring Role) - Ringo Prowley
A Quiet Little Neighborhood, a Perfect Little Murder (1990) - Don Corman
"Newhart: (Recurring Role) - George Utley
"Fresno" (1986) TV mini-series - Doc Parseghian
"Hotel: Pathways)" (1985) - Tommy Rooney
"Password Plus: (1982)" (1982) - Himself
"The Alan Thicke Show: (1981)" (1981) - Himself
Carbon Copy (1981) [Actor - Reverend Hayworth
The Girl, the Gold Watch & Dynamite (1981) - Omar Krepps
Up the Academy (1980) - Sisson
"Mork & Mindy: Recurring Role" (1979-1981) - Franklin Delano Bickley
"CHiPs: Quarantine " (1979) - Bill Conner
Fame (1978) - Carl Salesman
A Guide for the Married Woman (1978) - Marty Gibson
Rabbit Test (1978) - The Minister
"We've Got Each Other: Pumping Iron " (1978) - Damon Jerome
"The Love Boat: The Old Man and the Runaway/The Painters/A Fine
Romance (1977) - Mickey O'Day
"The Bob Newhart Show: You're Having My Hartley" (1977) - Cliff Murdock
The Second Annual Comedy Awards (1976) - Absent-Minded Guy
The Happy Hooker (1975) - J. Arthur Conrad
Harry and Maggie (1975) - Arlo Wilson
Cold Turkey (1971) - Mr. Stopworth
"NBC Children's Theatre: Looking Through Super Plastic Elastic Goggles at Color" (1970)
"Gentle Ben: Trophy Bear " (1968) - Joe Cardigan
"The Defenders: The Seven Hundred Year Old Gang: Part 2" (1964) - Sheldon Lowell
Soldier in the Rain (1963) - Lt. Magee
"Missing Links: (1963)" (1963) - Himself
Zotz! (1962) - Prof. Jonathan Jones
"The Steve Allen Show:" (1960) - Perennial Amnesiac
"Hallmark Hall of Fame: The Tempest " (1960) - Trinculo
The Tempest (1960) - Trinculo
"Startime: Merman on Broadway" (1959) - Himself
"Split Personality" (1959) - Host
"The George Gobel Show:" (1958) - Himself
"The United States Steel Hour: The Change in Chester)" (1957) - Chester
"The Phil Silvers Show: Love That Guardhouse" (1957)
"Goodyear Television Playhouse: Tangled Web " (1955)
"Hawkins Falls, Population 6200" (1950) - Toby Winfield (1953)
City That Never Sleeps (1953) - Detective as Thomas Poston
"Lights Out: The Devil in Glencairn)" (1951)
"Studio One: Coriolanus " (1951) - Sentry
"Tom Corbett, Space Cadet" (1950) - The Mercurian
"Lights Out: Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" (1950) - Thomas Poston)
"Liberty's Kids: Est. 1776: Not Yet Begun to Fight" - (voice)
"Tom Corbett, Space Cadet: The Mystery of Alkar" - The Alkarian