The 100 Most Important People in Television History

by JohnBeatles64 | created - 23 Nov 2011 | updated - 24 Nov 2011 | Public

This list is made-up of 100 icons, innovators and ground-breakers from television's 60+ year history. Each of these people left indelible marks on the medium, both on and off-screen. The names are listed alphabetically.

BTW, although this is supposed to be a list of 100 people, there are actually only 99 entries. This is due to IMBD not having an entry for Robert W. Pitman, the American businessman credited as the founder of MTV.

1. J.J. Abrams

Producer | Lost

J.J. Abrams was born on June 27, 1966 in New York City, New York, USA as Jeffrey Jacob Abrams. He is a producer and writer, known for Lost (2004), Star Trek (2009) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). He has been married to Katie McGrath since 1996. They have three children.

2. Alan Alda

Actor | M*A*S*H

Alan Alda was born on January 28, 1936 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo. He is known for his work on M*A*S*H (1972), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and The Four Seasons (1981). He has been married to Arlene Alda since March 15, 1957. They have three children.

3. James Arness

Actor | Gunsmoke

American leading man famed as the star of one of the longest-running shows in U.S. television history, Gunsmoke (1955). Born of Norwegian heritage (the family name, Aurness, had formerly been Aursness) in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Rolf and Ruth Duesler Aurness. His father was a traveling salesman ...

4. Bea Arthur

Actress | The Golden Girls

Actress-comedienne Bea Arthur was born on May 13, 1922 in New York City to a Jewish family. She grew up in Maryland, where her parents ran a dress shop. At 12 years old, she was the tallest girl in her school at 5'9". She earned the title "wittiest" girl in her school, and Bea's dream was to be in ...

5. Lucille Ball

Actress | I Love Lucy

The woman who will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their ...

6. Joseph Barbera

Producer | ABC Afterschool Specials

Joseph Barbera was born on March 24, 1911 in Little Italy, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as Joseph Roland Barbera. He was a producer and director, known for ABC Afterschool Specials (1972), The Smurfs (1981) and Scooby-Doo (2002). He was married to Sheila Holden and Dorothy Earl. He died ...

See also #46, William Hannah

7. Bob Barker

Producer | The New Price Is Right

For 35 years Bob Barker had been the host of The Price Is Right (1972) game show. Not only is it the highest-rated daytime game show, it's also the longest-running game show in TV history, surpassing the prime-time hit What's My Line? (1950), which ran for 18 years. He also served the show's ...

8. Jules Bass

Producer | The Hobbit

Producer, author, and composer, educated at NYU. Until 1960, he worked at a New York advertising agency, and then co-founded a film production company in New York. He joined ASCAP in 1963 and collaborated musically with Edward Thomas and James Polack. His popular-song works include "Pinocchio," "...

See also #73, Arthur Rankin, Jr.

9. Candice Bergen

Actress | Murphy Brown

One cool, eternally classy lady, Candice Bergen was elegantly poised for trendy "ice princess" stardom when she first arrived on the 60s screen, but she gradually reshaped that débutante image in the 70s both on- and off-camera. A staunch, outspoken feminist with a decisive edge, she went on to ...

10. Milton Berle

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Milton Berle was born Milton Berlinger on July 12, 1908, in New York City. He was educated at New York Professional Children's School and began performing at age 5. His first stage appearance was in "Florodora" in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He appeared at the Palace Theater in New York in 1931, ...

11. Steven Bochco

Writer | Hill Street Blues

Attended Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-Mellon U) as a playwriting major. Barbara Bosson, Michael Tucker, Bruce Weitz and Charles Haid were classmates; he and Tucker drove cross-country to Hollywood for full-time jobs at Universal, where Bochco would remain for 12 years. In 1978, he moved to MTM ...

12. David Brinkley

Writer | David Brinkley's Journal

Brinkley hosted This Week with David Brinkley from 1982 until his retirement in 1997. In 1992, he won a Peabody Award for his report on the 50th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. As a news analyst, Brinkley was known for his terse, biting comments and his dry wit.

13. Tom Brokaw

Self | NBC Nightly News

Tom Brokaw was born on February 6, 1940 in Webster, South Dakota, USA as Thomas John Brokaw. He is a writer, known for NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (1970), Toots (2006) and Dateline NBC (1992). He has been married to Meredith Lynn Auld since August 17, 1962. They have four children.

14. Carol Burnett

Actress | Annie

The entertainment world has enjoyed a five-decade love affair with comedienne/singer Carol Burnett. A peerless sketch performer and delightful, self-effacing personality who rightfully succeeded Lucille Ball as the carrot-topped "Queen of Television Comedy," it was Burnett's traumatic childhood that...

15. James Burrows

Director | Will & Grace

James Burrows was born on December 30, 1940 in Los Angeles, California, USA as James Edward Burrows. He is a director and producer, known for Will & Grace (1998), Cheers (1982) and Taxi (1978). He has been married to Debbie Easton since 1997. He was previously married to Linda Solomon.

16. Sid Caesar

Actor | Grease

Comedian, saxophonist, composer, actor and musician, he performed within the orchestras of Charlie Spivak, Shep Fields and Claude Thornhill as saxophonist. Later, as super-hip jazz musician "Cool Cees" in television skits, he played tenor saxophone, and sang with the satirical trio "The Hair Cuts" ...

17. Diahann Carroll

Actress | Claudine

One of television's premier African-American series stars, elegant actress, singer and recording artist Diahann Carroll was born Carol Diann (or Diahann) Johnson on July 17, 1935, in the Bronx, New York. The first child of John Johnson, a subway conductor, and Mabel Faulk Johnson, music was an ...

18. Johnny Carson

Soundtrack | The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson, the legendary "King of Late Night TV" who dominated the medium's nether hours for three decades, was born in Corning, Iowa, but moved with his family to nearby Norfolk, Nebraska when he was eight years old. It was in Norfolk, where he lived until he was inducted into the US Navy in ...

19. Dick Cavett

Actor | A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Yale-educated Dick Cavett established his reputation as the most erudite of American talk show hosts in the late 1960s and early '70s. Although there were many contenders who took on Johnny Carson, the undisputed heavyweight champion of late-night TV, Cavett generally was considered the most ...

20. Glen Charles

Writer | Taxi

Glen Charles was born on February 18, 1943 in Henderson, Nevada, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Taxi (1978), Cheers (1982) and Pushing Tin (1999).

See also #21, Les Charles

21. Les Charles

Writer | Taxi

Les Charles was born on March 25, 1948 in Henderson, Nevada, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Taxi (1978), Cheers (1982) and Pushing Tin (1999).

See also #20, Glen Charles

22. David Chase

Producer | The Sopranos

Born in Mt. Vernon, New York, and raised in New Jersey, David Chase (born David DeCesare) dreamed of being a star--a star drummer in a rock band! He spent many years playing drums and bass trying to be part of a successful rock band in the 1960s East Coast music scene. He also loved movies, such as ...

23. Dick Clark

Self | Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Dick Clark was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York on November 30, 1929 to Julia Fuller and Richard Augustus Clark. He had one older brother, Bradley, who was killed in World War II. At the age of 16, Clark got his first job in the mailroom of WRUN, a radio station in Utica, New York, which ...

24. Don Cornelius

Soundtrack | Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

Don Cornelius was born on September 27, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Donald Cortez Cornelius. He was a writer and producer, known for Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000), Soul Train (1971) and Tapeheads (1988). He was married to Viktoria Chapman and Delores Harrison. He died on February 1, ...

25. Bill Cosby

Actor | The Cosby Show

Bill Cosby is one of the world's most well-known entertainers and comedians. William Henry Cosby, Jr. was born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Anna Pearl (Hite), a maid, and William Henry Cosby, Sr., a U.S. Navy sailor. After tenth grade, Cosby joined the Navy and completed high...

26. Howard Cosell

Actor | Bananas

When you think of the words honesty, straight from the shoulder, and tell it like it is, you think of one man: Howard Cosell. Howard is best remembered as the greatest sportscaster in the history of sports. His way with words and ability of telling like it was, brought him fame not only in America,...

27. Walter Cronkite

Actor | Liberty's Kids: Est. 1776

Walter Leland Cronkite Jr. was born in St Joseph, Missouri. He was the only child of Walter Leland Cronkite Sr. and Helen Lena Fritsche. Throughout his early career, Cronkite worked with newspapers. During World War II, he served as a news reporter. In 1950, Cronkite became a journalist. He signed ...

28. Ellen DeGeneres

Producer | Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Emmy-winning talk show host Ellen Lee DeGeneres was born in Metairie, Louisiana, a New Orleans suburb. She is the daughter of Betty DeGeneres (née Elizabeth Jane Pfeffer), a speech therapist, and Elliott Everett DeGeneres, an insurance agent. Her brother is musician and producer Vance DeGeneres. ...

29. Walt Disney

Actor | Fun & Fancy Free

Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Flora Disney (née Call) and Elias Disney, a Canadian-born farmer and businessperson. He had Irish, German, and English ancestry. Walt moved with his parents to Kansas City at age seven, where he spent the majority of ...

30. Phil Donahue

Producer | Body of War

Phil Donahue was born on December 21, 1935 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA as Phillip John Donahue. He is an actor and producer, known for Body of War (2007), Donahue (1967) and Frasier (1993). He has been married to Marlo Thomas since May 21, 1980. He was previously married to Marge Cooney.

31. Roger Ebert

Actor | Siskel & Ebert & the Movies

Roger Joseph Ebert was the all-time best-known, most successful movie critic in cinema history, when one thinks of his establishing a rapport with both serious cineastes and the movie-going public and reaching more movie fans via television and print than any other critic. He became the first and ...

See also #81, Gene Siskel

32. Peter Falk

Actor | Columbo

Peter Michael Falk was born on September 16, 1927, in New York City, New York. At the age of 3, his right eye was surgically removed due to cancer. He graduated from Ossining High School, where he was president of his class. His early career choices involved becoming a certified public accountant, ...

33. Farrah Fawcett

Actress | Saturn 3

Farrah Fawcett is a true Hollywood success story. A native of Texas, she was the daughter of Pauline Alice (Evans), a homemaker, and James Fawcett, an oil field contractor. She was a natural athlete, something that her father encouraged, and she attended a high school with a strong arts program. ...

34. Tina Fey

Writer | 30 Rock

Elizabeth Stamatina Fey was born in 1970 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, just west of Philadelphia, to Xenobia "Jeanne" (Xenakes), a brokerage employee, and Donald Henry Fey, who wrote grant proposals for universities. Her mother is Greek, born in Piraeus, while her father had German, Northern Irish,...

35. James Garner

Actor | The Notebook

Amiable and handsome James Garner had obtained success in both films and television, often playing variations of the charming anti-hero/con-man persona he first developed in Maverick, the offbeat western TV series that shot him to stardom in the late 1950s.

James Garner was born James Scott ...

36. Dave Garroway

Actor | I Surrender Dear

Dave Garroway was born on July 13, 1913 in Schenectady, New York, USA as David Cunningham Garroway Jr. He was an actor, known for I Surrender Dear (1948), Babes in Toyland (1954) and It Happened to Jane (1959). He was married to Sarah Lee Lippincott, Pamela Wilde and Adele Marie Dwyer. He died on ...

37. Larry Gelbart

Writer | M*A*S*H

The gift of provoking laughter came early to Larry Gelbart and has never deserted him. His distinguished career as a writer of comedy reads like a history of the art over the last 40 years. His writing credits date back to the Golden Age of radio, thanks in part to his father. The elder Gelbart was...

38. Jackie Gleason

Actor | The Hustler

Comedian, actor, composer and conductor, educated in New York public schools. He was a master of ceremonies in amateur shows, a carnival barker, daredevil driver and a disc jockey., and later a comedian in night clubs. By the mid-1950s he had turned to writing original music and recording a series ...

39. Mark Goodson

Producer | Tattletales

Radio and TV game show producer.

See also #89, Bill Todman

40. Kelsey Grammer

Actor | Cheers

A six-time Emmy Award winner, Kelsey Grammer was born in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, to Sally (Cranmer), a singer, and Frank Allen Grammer, Jr., a musician and restaurateur. He was raised in New Jersey and Florida. Grammer was drawn to the works of William Shakespeare and spent two years at ...

41. Merv Griffin

Producer | Jeopardy!

Merv Griffin was a singer and band leader, movie actor, television personality and media mogul who in his time hosting The Merv Griffin Show (1962) was second in fame and influence as a talk show host only to Johnny Carson. Griffin was best known for creating the two most popular game shows in ...

42. Andy Griffith

Actor | The Andy Griffith Show

Andy Griffith is best known for his starring roles in two very popular television series, The Andy Griffith Show (1960) and Matlock (1986). Griffith earned a degree in music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the 1950s, he became a regular on The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) and ...

43. Matt Groening

Writer | The Simpsons

Growing up in Portland, Oregon, Matt Groening did not particularly like school, which is what originally turned him towards drawing. In the mid-1980s, he moved to Los Angeles and started drawing a comic strip named "Life in Hell", which eventually became published in the newspaper where he worked. ...

44. Larry Hagman

Actor | Dallas

The son of a legendary actress (Mary Martin) and a district attorney, Larry Martin Hagman was born on September 21, 1931 in Fort Worth, Texas. After his parents' divorce, he moved to Los Angeles, California to live with his grandmother. When he was 12, his grandmother died and he moved back to his ...

45. William Hanna

Producer | ABC Afterschool Specials

William Hanna was born on July 14, 1910 in Melrose, New Mexico, USA as William Denby Hanna. He was a producer and director, known for ABC Afterschool Specials (1972), The Flintstones (1994) and The Smurfs (1981). He was married to Violet Blanch Wogatzke. He died on March 22, 2001 in North Hollywood...

See also #6, Joseph Barbera

46. Paul Henning

Writer | Lover Come Back

Paul Henning was born on September 16, 1911 in Independence, Missouri, USA as Paul William Henning. He was a writer and producer, known for Lover Come Back (1961), The Bob Cummings Show (1955) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988). He was married to Ruth Henning. He died on March 25, 2005 in Burbank, ...

47. Jim Henson

Actor | The Muppet Show

Jim Henson never thought that he would make a name of himself in puppetry; it was merely a way of getting himself on television. The vehicle that achieved it was Sam and Friends (1955), a late-night puppet show that was on after the 11:00 news in Washington DC. It proved to be very popular and ...

48. Don Hewitt

Stunts | The Bourne Ultimatum

Don Hewitt is known for his work on The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), The Box (2009) and Sleepers (1996).

49. Bob Hope

Actor | The Ghost Breakers

Comedian Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope in Eltham, London, England, the fifth of seven sons of Avis (Townes), light opera singer, and William Henry Hope, a stonemason from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. His maternal grandmother was Welsh. Hope moved to Bristol before emigrating with his parents...

50. David E. Kelley

Writer | The Practice

David Kelley might be described as living the American Dream, 1990s' style: write a screenplay, move to Hollywood, make millions and marry a movie star. A former Boston lawyer, in the last decade, he switched careers to become a successful television producer whose shows are recognized for their ...

51. Larry King

Actor | Enemy of the State

Larry King was born on November 19, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Lawrence Harvey Zeiger. He is an actor, known for Enemy of the State (1998), Ghostbusters (1984) and America's Sweethearts (2001). He has been married to Shawn Ora Engemann since September 5, 1997. They have two ...

52. Marty Krofft

Producer | Land of the Lost

Marty Krofft was born on April 9, 1937 in Montréal, Québec, Canada as Moshopopoulos Yolas. He is a producer and writer, known for Land of the Lost (2009), Land of the Lost (1974) and Far Out Space Nuts (1975). He was previously married to Christa Rogalski (Christa Speck).

See also #53, Sid Krofft

53. Sid Krofft

Producer | Land of the Lost

Sid Krofft was born on July 30, 1929 in Athens, Greece as Cydus Yolas. He is a producer and writer, known for Land of the Lost (2009), Land of the Lost (1974) and Far Out Space Nuts (1975).

See also #52, Marty Krofft

54. Michael Landon

Actor | Little House on the Prairie

Michael Landon was born Eugene Maurice Orowitz, on Saturday, October 31st, 1936, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. In 1941, he and his family moved to Collingswood, New Jersey.

When Eugene was in high school, he participated -- and did very well -- in track and field, especially javelin throwing, ...

55. Norman Lear

Writer | All in the Family

Norman Lear is a World War II veteran, actor, writer, producer, director, and creator of such legendary sitcoms like All In The Family, Good Times, Sanford And Son, The Jeffersons, Maude, and many other sitcoms that defined and revolutionized American television.

Norman Milton Lear was born in New ...

56. Sheldon Leonard

Producer | Make Room for Daddy

Sheldon Leonard was born in New York City's lower Manhattan, the son of Jewish parents. He studied acting at Syracuse University and, after graduating, landed a job on Wall Street. Following the Wall Street crash of 1929, he found himself unemployed and resolved to become a professional actor on ...

57. David Letterman

Writer | Late Show with David Letterman

Television would never be the same after David Letterman made his second attempt at a television show in 1982. But his career before becoming host of the show was quite an interesting and long one. Letterman was born in Broad Ripple, a neighborhood in Indianapolis. His childhood was relatively ...

58. Susan Lucci

Actress | All My Children

Susan Lucci was born on December 23, 1946, in Scarsdale, New York, to Jeanette (Granquist) and Victor Lucci, a building contractor. She is of Italian (father) and Swedish, German, and French (mother) descent. Susan grew up in Garden City. Since she can remember, she wanted to be a performer, and ...

59. Garry Marshall

Director | Pretty Woman

Garry Marshall was born on November 13, 1934 in New York City, New York, USA as Garry Kent Maschiarelli. He was a writer and producer, known for Pretty Woman (1990), The Princess Diaries (2001) and Happy Days (1974). He was married to Barbara Marshall. He died on July 19, 2016 in Los Angeles, ...

60. Dick Martin

Producer | Laugh-In

Dick Martin, the comedian and television director who achieved TV immortality as the co-host of Laugh-In (1967) as the comic foil to straight man Dan Rowan, was born on January 30, 1922 in Battle Creek, Michigan. The young Martin was a writer for the popular radio sit-com "Duffy's Tavern" before ...

See also #75, Dan Rowan

61. Jim McKay

Self | ABC's Wide World of Sports

Jim McKay was born on September 24, 1921 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as James Kenneth McManus. He was a writer and actor, known for ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961), Miracle (2004) and The Verdict Is Yours (1958). He was married to Margaret Dempsey. He died on June 7, 2008 in Monkton, ...

62. Lorne Michaels

Producer | Saturday Night Live

Lorne Michaels was born on November 17, 1944 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as Lorne Michael Lipowitz. He is a producer and writer, known for Saturday Night Live (1975), 30 Rock (2006) and The Kids in the Hall (1988). He has been married to Alice Barry since 1991. They have three children. He was ...

63. Mary Tyler Moore

Actress | Ordinary People

Mary Tyler Moore was born on December 29, 1936 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, to Marjorie (Hackett) and George Tyler Moore, a clerk. Her maternal grandparents were English immigrants, and her father was of English, Irish, and German descent. Moore's family relocated to California when she was eight. Her ...

64. Edward R. Murrow

Producer | See It Now

Pioneering radio and TV reporter who was the dominant figure in American broadcast journalism during its early years. His dramatic, in-person coverage of the 1938 German occupation of Austria, the 1939 German blitzkrieg against Czechoslovakia and the 10-month-long Battle of Britain, fought in the ...

65. Burt Mustin

Actor | The Lusty Men

Burt Mustin was a salesman most of his life, but got his first taste of show business as the host of a weekly radio variety show on KDKA Pittsburgh in 1921. He appeared onstage in "Detective Story" at Sombrero Playhouse in Phoenix Arizona, and played the janitor in the movie version, (Detective ...

Burt Mustin is arguably the most prolific character actor in all of TV history, with appearances in shows such as "The Twilight Zone," "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Monkees," "The Brady Bunch" and "All in the Family" among many others.

66. Bob Newhart

Actor | Newhart

Bob Newhart was born on September 5, 1929 in Oak Park, Illinois, USA as George Robert Newhart. He is an actor and writer, known for Newhart (1982), The Rescuers (1977) and Elf (2003). He has been married to Ginny Newhart since January 12, 1963. They have four children.

67. Sydney Newman

Writer | The Avengers

Sydney Newman was born on April 1, 1917 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as Sydney Cecil Newman. He was a writer and producer, known for The Avengers (1998), The Avengers (1961) and Police Surgeon (1960). He was married to Elizabeth McRae. He died on October 30, 1997 in Toronto.

68. Carroll O'Connor

Actor | All in the Family

Carroll was born in Manhattan and raised in Forest Hills, a heavily Jewish community in New York City's borough of Queens. After graduating from high school in 1942, O'Connor joined the Merchant Marines and worked on ships in the Atlantic. In 1946, he enrolled at the University of Montana to study ...

69. Regis Philbin

Actor | Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous

TV-talk show host, game-show host, singer, author, and TV personality, Regis Philbin became one of the most popular talk-show hosts in America and in Canada, especially. Growing up as an only child in The Bronx, New York, Philbin went to the University of Notre Dame and got a degree in sociology. ...

70. Mike Post

Composer | Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Mike Post was born in San Fernando, California. He became a musician for acts as varied as Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Kenny Rogers, Sonny Bono and Cher, playing guitar on the latter team's 1965 hit "I Got You, Babe". Two years later, Post won his first Grammy award for producing and arranging ...

71. Arthur Rankin Jr.

Producer | The Hobbit

Arthur Rankin Jr. was born on July 19, 1924 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA as Arthur Gardner Rankin Jr. He was a producer and director, known for The Hobbit (1977), King Kong Escapes (1967) and Willy McBean and His Magic Machine (1965). He was married to Olga Karlatos. He died on January 30, 2014 in ...

See also #8, Jules Bass

72. Gene Roddenberry

Writer | Star Trek

Gene Roddenberry was born on August 19, 1921 in El Paso, Texas, USA as Eugene Wesley Roddenberry. He was a writer and producer, known for Star Trek (1966), Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). He was married to Majel Barrett and Eileen Anita Rexroat. He ...

73. Fred Rogers

Actor | MisteRogers' Neighborhood

Fred Rogers was the host of the popular long-running public television children's show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The show debuted in Pittsburgh in 1967 and was picked up by PBS the next year, becoming a staple of public TV stations around the United States. Rogers' mild manner, cardigan sweaters...

74. Roseanne Barr

Producer | Roseanne

Roseanne Barr, one of America's funniest comedians, has another side that not many people have seen. She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. During her teenage years, she worked as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. She married Bill Pentland and they had three children together. They remained ...

75. Dan Rowan

Producer | Laugh-In

Dan Rowan was a comedian most famous as the straight man to Dick Martin, with whom he co-hosted the watershed TV program Laugh-In (1967) from 1968-1973. The comedian debuted into small-town life as Daniel Hale Rowan in Beggs, Oklahoma on July 22, 1922, the son of show people. As a child, Rowan ...

See also #60, Dick Martin

76. Tim Russert

Editorial_department | Meet the Press

Tim Russert was born on May 7, 1950 in Buffalo, New York, USA as Timothy John Russert. He is known for his work on Meet the Press (1947), The Tim Russert Show (1994) and The American President (2000). He was married to Maureen Orth. He died on June 13, 2008 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA.

77. Sherwood Schwartz

Writer | Gilligan's Island

Sherwood Schwartz was born on November 14, 1916 in Passaic, New Jersey, USA as Sherwood Charles Schwartz. He was a writer and producer, known for Gilligan's Island (1964), The Red Skelton Hour (1951) and The Brady Bunch (1969). He was married to Mildred Seidman. He died on July 12, 2011 in Los ...

78. Jerry Seinfeld

Writer | Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Betty (Hesney) and Kalman Seinfeld. His father was of Hungarian Jewish descent, while Jerry's maternal grandparents, Salha and Selim Hosni, were Syrian Jewish immigrants (from Aleppo). He moved with his family, including sister Carolyn, to ...

79. Rod Serling

Writer | The Twilight Zone

John Phillips is the name used by longtime television and film writer Rod Serling when he asked that his real name be removed as the writer of the pilot episode of the series "The New People" in 1969. While Serling's name remained as series developer, he was sufficiently annoyed with ABC- TV's ...

80. William Shatner

Actor | Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

William Shatner has notched up an impressive 50-plus years in front of the camera, most recently displaying comedic talent, and being instantly recognizable to several generations of cult television fans as the square-jawed Captain James T. Kirk, commander of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise.

Shatner ...

81. Gene Siskel

Actor | Siskel & Ebert & the Movies

Gene Siskel was born on January 26, 1946 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Eugene Kal Siskel. He was married to Marlene Siskel. He died on February 20, 1999 in Evanston, Illinois.

See also #31, Roger Ebert

82. Dick Smothers

Actor | Casino

Dick Smothers was born on November 20, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA as Richard Remick Smothers. He is an actor, known for Casino (1995), The Informant! (2009) and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967). He was previously married to Denby Franklin, Lorraine Martin and Linda Miller.

See also #83, Tom Smothers

83. Tom Smothers

Actor | The Informant!

Tom Smothers was born on February 2, 1937 in New York City, New York, USA as Thomas Bolyn Smothers III. He is an actor, known for The Informant! (2009), The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967) and Speed Zone (1989). He has been married to Marcy Carriker since September 9, 1990. They have two ...

See also #82, Dick Smothers

84. Aaron Spelling

Producer | Charlie's Angels

Aaron Spelling graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Before that, he attended Forest Avenue High. He started as a writer and sold his first script to Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre (1955). He wrote for various television shows, ...

85. Jon Stewart

Producer | The Daily Show

Jon Stewart was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz in New York City, New York, to Marian (Laskin), a teacher, and Donald Leibowitz, a physics professor. His family is Ashkenazi Jewish (from Austria, Ukraine, Poland, and Belarus). Stewart moved to Lawrenceville, New Jersey during his childhood. He ...

86. Ed Sullivan

Actor | Bye Bye Birdie

The beloved graven image of TV variety from 1948 to 1971 on CBS, Ed Sullivan originally made his name as a newspaper sportswriter, radio broadcaster and theater columnist for the New York Daily News. His column focused primarily on Broadway shows and juicy items about its stars. Hired in 1932 by ...

87. Brandon Tartikoff

Writer | Beggars and Choosers

Brandon Tartikoff was a graduate of Yale University, and started his career out at WLS-TV in Chicago. He switched jobs to ABC in New York in the mid-1970s, and moved to NBC in 1977 where he became a programming executive hired by Dick Ebersol. Tartikoff took over programming duties from Fred ...

88. Grant Tinker

Producer | Going Places

Grant Tinker was born on January 11, 1926 in Stamford, Connecticut, USA as Grant Almerin Tinker. He was a producer, known for Going Places (1973), The Interviews: An Oral History of Television (1997) and The 39th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (1987). He was married to Brooke Knapp, Mary Tyler Moore ...

89. Bill Todman

Producer | Tattletales

Bill Todman was born on July 31, 1916 in New York City, New York, USA as Wilbur S. Todman. He was a producer and writer, known for Tattletales (1974), Call My Bluff (1965) and What's My Line? (1973). He was married to Frances Burson. He died on July 29, 1979 in New York City.

See also #39, Mark Goodson

90. Ted Turner

Writer | WCW Monday Nitro

Ted Turner was born on November 19, 1938 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA as Robert Edward Turner III. He is the founder of CNN, TurnerBrodcastSystem(TBS)and TNTnetwork He was previously married to Jane Fonda, Jane Shirley Smith and Judy Nye .He started in the business as a writer and producer but had a ...

91. Mike Wallace

Self | 60 Minutes

Mike Wallace was born on May 9, 1918 in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA as Myron Leon Wallace. He was a producer and actor, known for 60 Minutes (1968), The Big Surprise (1955) and Suspense (1949). He was married to Mary Yates, Lorraine Perigord, Buff Cobb and Norma Kaphan. He died on April 7, 2012 ...

92. Barbara Walters

Producer | The Barbara Walters Special

Barbara Walters was born on September 25, 1929 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA as Barbara Jill Walters. She is a producer and writer, known for The Barbara Walters Summer Special (1976), The View (1997) and 20/20 (1978). She was previously married to Merv Adelson, Lee Guber and Robert Henry Katz.

93. Jay Ward

Writer | George of the Jungle

Jay Ward was born on September 20, 1920 in San Francisco, California, USA as J Troplong Ward. He was a producer and writer, known for George of the Jungle (1997), Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014) and The Golden Age of Buster Keaton (1975). He was married to Ramona Ward. He died on October 12, 1989 ...

94. Joss Whedon

Writer | Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon is the middle of five brothers - his younger brothers are Jed Whedon and Zack Whedon. Both his father, Tom Whedon and his grandfather, John Whedon were successful television writers. Joss' mother, Lee Stearns, was a history teacher and she also wrote novels as Lee Whedon. Whedon was ...

95. Betty White

Actress | The Proposal

Betty White was born in Oak Park, Illinois, to Christine Tess (Cachikis), a homemaker, and Horace Logan White, a lighting company executive. She is of Danish, Greek, English, and Welsh descent.

Although best known as the devious Sue Ann Nivens on the classic sitcom Mary Tyler Moore (1970) and the ...

96. Flip Wilson

Writer | Flip

Flip Wilson was born on December 8, 1933 in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA as Clerow Wilson. He was a writer and actor, known for Flip (1970), The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (1979) and Charlie & Co. (1985). He was married to Cookie Mackenzie and Lovenia Patricia (Peaches) Wilson. He died on ...

97. Oprah Winfrey

Producer | The Oprah Winfrey Show

Oprah Winfrey was born Orpah Gail Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, a former maid, and Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner, barber, and city councilman.

While Winfrey has been cited as the richest African American of the 20th century, she does not come from a rich, or even middle class, ...

98. Henry Winkler

Actor | The Waterboy

Henry Franklin Winkler was born on October 30, 1945, in Manhattan, New York. His parents, Ilse Anna Maria (Hadra) and Harry Irving Winkler, were Jewish immigrants who avoided the German Holocaust, moving to the US in 1939. His father was the president of an international lumber company while his ...

99. Dick Wolf

Writer | Law & Order

Dick Wolf was born on December 20, 1946 in New York City, New York, USA as Richard A. Wolf. He is a writer and producer, known for Law & Order (1990), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999) and Chicago P.D. (2014). He has been married to Noelle Lippman since June 17, 2006. They have two ...