20 TV dads we all love: Father’s Day edition


As Father’s Day approaches, let’s roll out the red carpet for some of the most unforgettable TV dads who’ve ever graced our screens.

These aren’t just any characters; they’re the ones who’ve moved in next door in our hearts, offering up dad jokes, life lessons, and some seriously memorable moments, all from the comfort of our couches. From the lovably goofy to the stern but heartfelt, these fathers from television have become more than just characters—they’re like family.

So grab some popcorn and a comfy spot as we celebrate these iconic TV dads. Whether they’re navigating the trials of parenthood with a laugh or a heart-to-heart at the kitchen table, they’ve got a way of reminding us why we love tuning in week after week. Here’s our ultimate list of the top 20 TV dads everyone loves, each bringing their own brand of fatherly love and a little TV magic into our lives.

Here are our top 20 picks of TV dads that everyone loves:

1. Phil Dunphy from “Modern Family”

Ty Burrell’s portrayal of Phil Dunphy captures the essence of a modern, quirky dad who combines a child-like enthusiasm with a deep love for his family. Phil’s approach to fatherhood is filled with inventiveness and humor, often leading to comical situations that lighten up everyday family stresses. His famous “Phil’s-osophies” may be silly, but they often contain pearls of wisdom, making him a uniquely beloved TV dad.

2. Carl Winslow from “Family Matters”

As a firm yet fair father and a dedicated police officer, Carl Winslow, played by Reginald VelJohnson, stands as a pillar of strength and reliability. His heartfelt approach to parenting includes navigating the complexities of raising teenagers while also handling the disruptive antics of neighbor Steve Urkel, showcasing his enduring patience and understanding.

3. Uncle Phil from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

James Avery’s character, Uncle Phil, is revered for his authoritative yet compassionate nature. He not only offers a stable home environment to his nephew Will but also imparts lessons on responsibility and integrity. Uncle Phil’s tough exterior and soft heart exemplify the profound impact a father figure can have, blending discipline with love.

4. Red Forman from “That ’70s Show”

Portrayed by Kurtwood Smith, Red Forman embodies the quintessential tough-love dad. His gruff demeanor and no-nonsense approach to parenting are balanced by his underlying commitment to guiding his son and his friends through the trials and tribulations of adolescence.

5. Danny Tanner from “Full House”

Immortalized by Bob Saget, Danny Tanner is the epitome of a nurturing and overly cautious father who goes to great lengths to protect and care for his daughters. His meticulous nature and commitment to family unity bring warmth and humor, especially as he navigates the challenges of single fatherhood with help from his brother-in-law and best friend.

6. Coach Eric Taylor from “Friday Night Lights”

Kyle Chandler brilliantly plays Coach Taylor, whose leadership on and off the football field makes him a father figure to many. His stern yet fair guidance helps shape the lives of his players, while at home, he is a supportive and loving father and husband, always striving to impart values of integrity and perseverance.

7. Sandy Cohen from “The O.C.”

Sandy Cohen, played by Peter Gallagher, is known for his moral integrity and the open-hearted way he embraces his children’s friends, particularly troubled teen Ryan. His willingness to offer sage advice, coupled with his unconditional support, makes him a standout dad in television.

8. Howard Cunningham from “Happy Days”

Tom Bosley’s Howard Cunningham offers a nostalgic view of fatherhood in the 1950s and 60s. His gentle guidance and approachable personality make him the heart of the Cunningham family, providing a safe and loving atmosphere where his children can flourish.

9. Andy Taylor from “The Andy Griffith Show”

Andy Griffith’s portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor showcases his wisdom and patience as he raises his son Opie. His down-to-earth approach to parenting, filled with teachable moments and heartfelt talks, highlights the enduring influence of his gentle guidance.

10. Ray Barone from “Everybody Loves Raymond”

Ray Romano’s Ray Barone brings a realistic and humorous perspective to fatherhood. His interactions with his family, especially his meddling parents and competitive siblings, add layers of comedy while showcasing the complexities of familial relationships.

11. Benjamin Sisko from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”

Avery Brooks as Captain Sisko offers a unique blend of leadership and fatherhood, managing not only the intricacies of commanding a space station but also the challenges of raising his son alone. His strong, principled nature serves as a guiding force both in his professional and personal life.

12. Homer Simpson from “The Simpsons”

Homer Simpson, voiced by Dan Castellaneta, might not be the perfect dad, but his bumbling ways coupled with his ultimate good intentions paint a picture of a father who deeply loves his family, despite his frequent missteps.

13. Michael Bluth from “Arrested Development”

Michael Bluth, played by Jason Bateman, stands as the sane center amid his dysfunctional family, striving to teach his son the values of honesty and responsibility while managing the chaos of the Bluth family antics.

14. Jack Pearson from “This Is Us”

Milo Ventimiglia’s Jack Pearson is a deeply emotional and dedicated father whose life story is marked by both profound love and tragic loss. His commitment to his family and his ability to turn every challenge into a lesson of strength and love render him one of the most adored TV dads.

15. Fred Andrews from “Riverdale”

Portrayed by late actor Luke Perry, Fred Andrews stands out as a moral compass in the tumultuous world of “Riverdale.” His steadfast support and sage advice to his son, Archie, along with his readiness to help any of Archie’s friends, are hallmarks of his character. Fred’s tragic and untimely death in the series only cemented his role as a beloved father figure both on and off the screen.

16. Cyrus Rose from “Gossip Girl”

Played by Wallace Shawn, Cyrus Rose is a standout father figure in the world of “Gossip Girl” with his warmth, wisdom, and understated support. Despite the dramatic flair of the Upper East Side, Cyrus provides a grounding presence and offers a non-judgmental, loving environment, particularly towards his stepdaughter Blair. His catchphrase, “Not enough,” which he uses to express his boundless affection, endears him to viewers as a father who is always more than enough.

17. Zeek Braverman from “Parenthood”

Craig T. Nelson’s portrayal of Zeek Braverman captures the quintessential patriarch of a large, sprawling family. Zeek’s gruff exterior masks a deeply caring nature, guiding his children and grandchildren through life’s ups and downs with tough love and invaluable advice. His ability to navigate complex family dynamics while keeping the family united showcases his strength and dedication as a father.

18. Bob Belcher from “Bob’s Burgers”

Voiced by H. Jon Benjamin, Bob Belcher is the hardworking owner of a small seaside burger restaurant and the father of three wildly unique children. Bob’s everyday commitment to his family is showcased through his constant efforts to keep his business afloat while nurturing his children’s eccentric personalities. His dry humor and culinary passion make him a relatable and endearing dad.

19. Terry Jeffords from “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

Terry Crews plays Terry Jeffords, a gentle giant and loving father to twin girls Cagney and Lacey. As an NYPD sergeant, Terry balances his demanding job with his devotion to his family. His parenting style is filled with warmth, encouragement, and an occasional dose of healthy fear, especially when it comes to the safety of his daughters. His fatherly instincts often extend to his colleagues, whom he guides with a similarly supportive hand.

20. Mitchell Pritchett from “Modern Family”

Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s Mitchell Pritchett offers a fresh perspective on fatherhood as one half of a loving same-sex couple raising an adopted daughter. Mitchell’s meticulous and sometimes anxious approach to parenting contrasts hilariously with his partner Cameron’s more flamboyant style. Together, they navigate the challenges and joys of raising their daughter with a delightful blend of humor and warmth, highlighting the universal trials and triumphs of parenting.

These fathers, with their unique approaches to parenting and the diverse challenges they face, remind us of the universal themes of love, responsibility, and resilience that resonate with audiences around the world. As we celebrate these TV dads, we recognize the countless ways they enrich our views on fatherhood and family life.


You may also like


Stay in the know

Sign up to get sleep tips, exciting product updates, and special offers right into your inbox.