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Also Known As: Thomas Poston, Thomas Poston Died: April 30, 2007
Born: October 17, 1921 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Columbus, Ohio, USA Profession: actor, game show panelist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A tall, Everyman actor with drooping eyes that somehow want to reveal more than one would think at first glance, Tom Poston has had a lengthy career on stage and TV, often on panel shows, often playing slow-witted characters who can surprise with their bursts of logic and intelligence. In the 1980s and 90s, Poston was often seen as a sidekick to Bob Newhart, Tim Conway, and others, but it would probably surprise many to know that Poston began his career on Broadway in the Jose Ferrer production of "Cyrano de Bergerac", a role that Poston later played on several occasions. The Cleveland native worked extensively on Broadway, notably in the satire on advertising, "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" and continued working on stage with frequency into the 70s. But Poston's career solidified with his appearances on "The Tonight Show" (in its first incarnation with Steve Allen as host) and later as a regular on Allen's variety series. In the latter, for which he earned an Emmy, Poston played numerous characters, typically the befuddled common man on the street. At the same time, Poston was gaining name recognition through appearances on panel and quiz shows, and is particularly remembered for his long stint...

A tall, Everyman actor with drooping eyes that somehow want to reveal more than one would think at first glance, Tom Poston has had a lengthy career on stage and TV, often on panel shows, often playing slow-witted characters who can surprise with their bursts of logic and intelligence. In the 1980s and 90s, Poston was often seen as a sidekick to Bob Newhart, Tim Conway, and others, but it would probably surprise many to know that Poston began his career on Broadway in the Jose Ferrer production of "Cyrano de Bergerac", a role that Poston later played on several occasions.

The Cleveland native worked extensively on Broadway, notably in the satire on advertising, "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" and continued working on stage with frequency into the 70s. But Poston's career solidified with his appearances on "The Tonight Show" (in its first incarnation with Steve Allen as host) and later as a regular on Allen's variety series. In the latter, for which he earned an Emmy, Poston played numerous characters, typically the befuddled common man on the street. At the same time, Poston was gaining name recognition through appearances on panel and quiz shows, and is particularly remembered for his long stint on "To Tell the Truth" (1985-67), as one of the two male regulars (Orson Bean was the other). In fact, for periods during the 60s, Poston was on panel shows and on stage, rarely "acting" as such on TV or in film.

Poston bounced back in the 70s. After supporting roles on two failed sitcoms, "On the Rocks" and "We've Got Each Other", he joined the hit ABC sitcom "Mork & Mindy" as Mr. Bickley, the grouchy downstairs neighbor. a role he played until the series' demise in 1982. He had made two guest appearances as Cliff 'The Peeper' Murdoch, Bob Hartley's college chum who inspired juvenile behavior in Hartley. on "The Bob Newhart Show" in the 70s. The chemistry between Poston and Newhart was palpable and when Newhart launched a new comedy series in 1982, Poston was cast as George Utley, his downeastern sidekick. He subsequently joined Howie Mandell in the short-lived "Good Grief" (Fox, 1990) a comedy set behind the scenes at a mortuary. Poston then joined Tim Conway as a foil for Conway's goofy Derk Dorf character in a CBS special and other incarnations, and made several memorable appearances as "Mr. Loon-ay," the school custodian, on ABC's "Family Matters", before joining the ABC hit series "Grace Under Fire" in 1995 as Floyd, the father of Russell (Dave Thomas).

Poston has occasionally appeared in TV longforms, such as the daffy miniseries "Fresno" (CBS, 1986). Early in his career he had played Trinculo in the 1960 "Hallmark Hall of Fame" rendition of Shakespeare's "The Tempest". Poston's feature film appearances have also been sporadic. He began on film as a detective in 1953's "The City That Never Sleeps" and perhaps is best remembered as the town cad in the 1971 Norman Lear comedy, "Cold Turkey".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Christmas with the Kranks (2004) Father Zabrinsky
3.
 Story of Us, The (1999) Harry
4.
 Krippendorf's Tribe (1998) Gordon Hargrove
6.
 Carbon Copy (1981) Reverend Hayworth
7.
 Up The Academy (1980) Sisson
8.
 Guide For the Married Woman, A (1978) Marty Gibson
9.
 Rabbit Test (1978)
10.
 Magnificent Magnet of Santa Mesa, The (1977) Willard Bensinger
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1930:
Stage debut as a tumbler in "The Flying Zebleys"
:
Served as a pilot in the US Air Force during WWII
1947:
Broadway debut, "Cyrano de Bergerac"
1953:
Film debut, "The City That Never Sleeps"
1956:
Was a regular on "The Steve Allen Show"
1960:
Appeared as Trinculo in "Hallmark Hall of Fame" production of "The Tempest"
1964:
Regular panelist, "To Tell the Truth"
1975:
Played Mr. Sullivan on "On the Rocks"
1975:
Played Cliff Murdock, a recurring character on the CBS show, "Newhart"
1977:
Cast as Damon Jerome, "We've Got Each Other"
1978:
TV-movie debut, "A Guide for the Married Woman"
1979:
Played Franklin Delano Bickley, the irasicble neighbor on "Mork & Mindy"
1982:
Cast as caretaker George Utley on the CBS sitcom, "Newhart"; earned Emmy nominations in 1984, 1986 and 1987 for Supporting Actor in a Comedy
1990:
Was series regular on the short-lived "Good Grief"
1993:
Appeared for the third time with Newhart on the short lived program "Bob" (CBS)
1995:
Had role of Floyd on "Grace Under Fire"
1999:
Cast in Rob Reiner's "The Story of Us" starring Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer
2004:
Played Lord Palimore in "Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement"
2004:
Cast opposite Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis in the holiday comedy "Christmas with the Kranks"
2005:
Played the character Clown on the NBC series "Committed"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

American Academy of Dramatic Arts: New York , New York -
Bethany College: Bethany , West Virginia - 1938 - 1940

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Jean Sullivan. Married in 1955; divorced.
wife:
Kay Hudson. Married in June 1968; deceased.
wife:
Suzanne Pleshette. Actor. Announced engagement in December 2000; married on May 11, 2001.

Family close complete family listing

father:
George Poston. Dairy chemist, liquor salesperson.
mother:
Margaret Poston.
brother:
Richard Poston.
daughter:
Francesca Poston. Former actor. Appeared on "All My Children" as original 'Donna Beck' for a short time in the 1970s; mother, Jean Sullivan.
daughter:
Hudson Poston. Mother, Kay Hudson.
son:
Jason Poston. Mother, Kay Hudson.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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