Jack Dodson Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (5)

Overview (4)

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart failure)
Birth NameJohn Smeaton Dodson
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jack Dodson was arguably best known for playing "Howard Sprague", the somewhat geeky county clerk on The Andy Griffith Show (1960). This amazingly funny character actor endeared himself to 60s and 70s audiences as the straight-laced "straight man" to the "comic idiot" character "Goober". He brought laughs throughout the end of the run of The Andy Griffith Show (1960) (Ugh!!!)- and its spin-off, the ever popular (he said facetiously), Mayberry R.F.D. (1968) (alongside Ken Berry in the "Andy" knock-off role). Dodson got his start on Broadway, later coming to Hollywood and "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960) in 1967. In fact, Andy Griffith saw Jack on Broadway in 1964's, "Hughie", and hired him for "The Andy Griffith Show" straight away.

In 1971, Mayberry R.F.D. (1968) fizzled, but Jack remained busy with television and film appearances. From his first effort in Munster, Go Home! (1966) to the Griffith film Angel in My Pocket (1969) and even a nod as "Dr. Douglas" in the very scary Disney (Ray Bradbury) film Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983). Believe it or not, Howard (Jack) did it "all", working with some of the great directors and actors of his time. From Andy Griffith to Sam Peckinpah, Bea Arthur and Jonathan Pryce; Jack Dodson made friends and history.

Dodson returned to Broadway in the revival of "You Can't Take It With You" in 1985. Jack was married to television actress Mary Dodson (the sister of actor Fritz Weaver) from 1959 until his death. In his personal life, Jack was very much "Howard". The actor was a boxing fan, and was also an outdoors man; loving to fish and camp. Jack left us all too soon, at the age of 63, from heart failure. He will be missed.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Kingarthurup

Spouse (1)

Mary Dodson (28 August 1959 - 16 September 1994) ( his death) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

Frequently played doctors, judges, government officials, and other authority figures, almost always with comic effect.

Trivia (5)

Brother-in-law of Fritz Weaver.
With Jack, Mary and the Dodson family, Christina and Amy, move back to New York City in 1972, after Jack's series Mayberry R.F.D. was canceled, Jack sold his collector vintage 1938 Buick 80 Roadmaster 4 door Convertible Phaeton automobile, painted peanut butter-cup beige with a beige convertible top fabric. Because Jack had invested in the automobile's complete restoration after his original purchase, Mary had nick-named the beast "Dodson's folly gold mine vault." Jack nick-named his '38 Phaeton - "Casablanca" - since after seeing the 1942 Warner Brothers Best Picture Academy award feature "Casablanca," starring Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund, Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, Paul Henried as Victor Laszlo, and Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault, Dodson had always wanted the same '38 Buick 4-door convertible Phaeton car seen in the film's final scene. The studio could not film at night on location. The French Morocco exterior fog shrouded air-strip set was a built set on a WB studio sound stage. The airport was a forced-perspective set; a constructed scenic profile spotted at the far end of the stage. The '38 Buick Phaeton was a prominent set dressing piece, an automobile positioned on camera left as background. The climax of the feature has Rick Blaine and Captain Renault walking arm-in-arm into the French Morocco foggy night. Jack Dodson sold his 1938 Buick Convertible Phaeton for $13,500.00(!), placing the funds in their bank roll to pay for their NYC Broadway return engagement.
Broadway and NYC-Hollywood television actor Jack Dodson (b.1931-d.1994, age 63) and Jason Robards (b.1922-d.2000, age78) were extremely close friends. Their friendship began when they were cast in a Broadway production. They became bar mates after their curtain (call) dropped each night, when they would join together in their favorite after-theater local Broadway bar. When Jason Robards was cast in a play, he would arrange for Jack to be cast, as well, so that he would have a good drinking buddy and bar mate! Jack Dodson's amiable humorous spirit and show-biz anecdotes always entertained. Jason Robards and Jack Dodson had a mutual respect for each other's professional abilities and talents. Their character traits made each a man's man and a damned good best friend! The pair were a comedy performance when seated together at the pub's main bar, or at a restaurant table. When asked by the bar's host if they minded being seated at a back table adjacent the kitchen service room door, Jack's response, "that's O.K., we make the same noise sitting there as we would sitting in the middle or at this joint's front door!" and they DID!.
Appeared in the final episode of Car 54, Where Are You?.
Jack was the only Andy Griffith show regular to also appear on Ron Howard's latter-day program, Happy Days. Jack was Howard Sprague of Mayberry, of course, and he had the recurring role of Mickey Malph, the father of Ralph Malph (and husband of Minnie Malph).

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