Many Black sitcoms over the years had significant male figures and, in the spirit of Father’s Day, EBONY is celebrating some notable fictional characters. While watching many of the shows listed, you may have secretly wished some of the dads were your own; others may have reminded you of a man who is already in your family. The TV papas below are just a few of the characters who have impacted us with their lovable humor and sometimes outrageous antics.
John Amos played a character who lived with his wife and three kids in a Chicago housing project. As a dad, he was tough, caring and loyal to his family.
Dressed in dizzying patterns and pastels, Pops was always the over-the-top dad. Actor John Witherspoon hysterically portrayed this character, a diner owner with questionable food philosophies such as, “It doesn’t hurt if you use yesterday’s leftover meatloaf as tomorrow’s chili!”
Speaking of Wayans brothers, Damon Wayans has played a funny father on television. Kyle is the humorous, lovable father of three and no match for his wife, Jay, played by the equally clever Tisha Campbell-Martin.
The late James Avery portrayed the strict yet endearing family man. He was a responsible parent to his own three children, as well as an influential male figure to Will Smith’s title character, a nephew who came to live with the Bankses.
Reginald VelJohnson played a police officer and nemesis to Jaleel White’s character, the pesky neighbor, Steve Urkel. Winslow was erratic and would have manic outbursts, but he was ultimately a provider who wanted the best for his family.
Notable performer Sherman Hemsley is best known for his leading role in The Jeffersons. He was a loud and boisterous entrepreneur, and his character was always the center of attention. But beneath his melodramatic personality, he just wanted to see his family thrive.
Tim Reid was the reserved, intellectual adoptive father of one twin who made corny dad jokes. He was often romantically pursued by the hilarious Lisa Landry, played by Jackée Harry, adoptive mother of the other twin. He also ran a limousine company and put together quite the commercial for it, which can be seen below.
The late comedian played a role that was loosely based on his own life after he and his wife took in his sister’s three children. Viewers got to see Mac adjust to parenting his nieces and nephew, which provided much of the comedy, and he often spoke to viewers by looking directly into the camera.
Terry Crews was the devoted and even-tempered father figure based on series co-creator Chris Rock’s real dad. Despite his easygoing personality, he was worried about money. His character was a penny-pincher who seemed to know the value of everything, which can be seen in the clip below.
Anthony Anderson plays an advertising executive who attempts to pass on parental guidance to his four indifferent children. His quirky behavior is kept in check by his witty wife, Rainbow Johnson, portrayed by Tracee Ellis Ross.