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The Greatest Guest Star Dads in TV History

Updated May 31, 2019 2.8k votes 170 voters 2.4k views49 items

List RulesRecurring or guest star TV fathers of main characters, though they are not part of the primary cast

List of the greatest guest star dads in TV history, recurring or one-time appearances. These guest star TV dads range from cold and distant to loving to overbearing, but they’ve all done one important thing: made great TV shows even better. Guest star TV fathers might only show up once or they might be recurring characters -- either way, they’re TV dads who will be remembered as part of TV history. After all, who can forget Frank Costanza or Jack Geller?

 Perhaps the insight they give is one reason the best TV guest star dads are so memorable. Characters’ actions become easier to understand when viewers occasionally see their interactions with their fathers. Take Kurt Hummel, for instance. When he sometimes struggles with the ramifications of his sexual orientation, viewers understand why -- his father struggles with the same issues. Even one-time guest star dad appearances are enough to explain a character’s quirks or issues, especially when that character has struggled with the absence of his or her father throughout the TV series.

 Of course, not all guest star dad appearances are so serious. Guest star television fathers can be comic relief, pure and simple. They show up, drive their offspring crazy and make viewers laugh, then vanish for a while. Many of them act as caricatures of real-world fathers, doing typical dad things, like arguing over who’ll pay the check or spoiling the grandchildren without permission. Guest star TV dads also perform not-so-normal acts -- like Mac’s father on “It’s Always Sunny,” who wanted his son to smuggle drugs into prison.

 Whatever the reason viewers love TV guest star dads, this is a list of the very best. These are the ones who’ve made viewers laugh, or maybe cry, and although they don’t show up often, they’re welcome when they do.
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  • Frank Costanza1
    139
    26
    Father of George Costanza
  • Max Keenan2
    101
    29
    Father of Temperance and Russ Brennan
  • Morty Seinfeld3
    91
    29
    Father of Jerry Seinfeld
  • Jack Geller4
    53
    23

    Jack Geller

    Friends
    Father of Ross & Monica Geller
  • Christopher Hayden5
    57
    30

    Christopher Hayden

    Gilmore Girls
    Father of Rory Gilmore
  • Eddie R. Lawson6
    54
    29

    Eddie R. Lawson

    Royal Pains
    Father of Hank and Evan Lawson
  • Jerry Whitaker7
    41
    25

    Jerry Whitaker

    How I Met Your Mother
    Father of Barney Stinson
  • Bob Day8
    40
    26

    Bob Day

    New Girl
    Father of Jess Day
  • Burt Hummel9
    39
    26
    Father of Kurt Hummel
  • 10
    31
    20

    Marvin Eriksen

    How I Met Your Mother
    Father of Marshall Eriksen
  • Bruce Mathis11
    37
    30

    Bruce Mathis

    It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
    Father of Dennis and Dee Reynolds
  • Joe Heffernan12
    33
    26

    Joe Heffernan

    King of Queens
    Father of Doug Heffernan
  • Jackson Hunt13
    33
    27

    Jackson Hunt

    Castle
    Father of Richard Castle
  • Dr. Leonard Green14
    36
    31
    Father of Rachel Green
  • Ed Conner15
    29
    23

    Ed Conner

    Roseanne
    Father of Dan Conner
  • Milton Greene16
    31
    26

    Milton Greene

    30 Rock
    Father of Jack Donaghy
  • Mickey Aldrin17
    28
    23

    Mickey Aldrin

    How I Met Your Mother
    Father of Lily Aldrin
  • Nikolai Jakov18
    31
    28

    Nikolai Jakov

    Archer
    Father of Sterling Archer (maybe)
  • Dr. V. M. Koothrappali19
    27
    25

    Dr. V. M. Koothrappali

    The Big Bang Theory
    Father of Raj Koothrappali
  • George Truman20
    30
    29

    George Truman

    Will & Grace
    Father of Will Truman
  • Al Harris21
    28
    29

    Al Harris

    Roseanne
    Father of Roseanne Conner
  • Russell Huxtable22
    29
    31

    Russell Huxtable

    The Cosby Show
    Father of Cliff Huxtable
  • Henry Lewis23
    26
    29

    Henry Lewis

    ER
    Father of Susan Lewis
  • Hank Summers24
    25
    28

    Hank Summers

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    Father of Buffy Summers
  • Big Mike Heck Sr.25
    24
    28

    Big Mike Heck Sr.

    The Middle
    Father of Mike Heck