14 Incredible Facts About Our Favorite Sitcom Dads

Ashley Hunte
A hand holding a remote, pointed toward a TV that's in the background.
Unsplash | Glenn Carstens-Peters

Everyone loves a good sitcom. The actors we see on screen always do such a good job at bringing their characters to life (and bringing a few laughs while they're at it).

And of course, sitcom dads help make their shows. But how much do you really know about the actors who play them? Well, in this list, we'll be showing you some interesting facts about some of TV's most beloved dads.

Bryan Cranston is an ordained minister.

Two golden rings intertwined with one another on a white, lacey table.
Unsplash | Sandy Millar

Before becoming Hal in Malcom in the Middle (and way before becoming Walter White in a very different kind of TV show), Cranston became an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church.

Which, yes, means he's performed weddings.

A scene from the sitcom Malcom in the Middle.
Giphy |

Charging $150 per event, he used to ordain weddings as a way of extra income before his acting career really took off. Who would've thought?

Alex Karras' TV wife was his actual wife.

Alex Karras grimacing in the show Webster.
Giphy | HULU

Playing George Papadopolis in the sitcom, Webster, Karras starred alongside real-life wife Susan Clark, who plaid TV wife Katherine. The two stayed married until his death in 2012.

Dan Lauria Served in the Vietnam War.

Dan Lauria on the set of Pitch.
Giphy | Pitch on FOX

Similar to his on-screen persona, Jack Arnold in The Wonder Years, who served during the Korean War, Lauria was in the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam.

Patrick Duffy's parents were murdered in the '80s.

A screen showing Patrick Duffy, and saying, "starring Patrick Duffy."
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As terrifying as that sounds, it's true. The Step by Step actor's parents fell victim to homicide in 1986.

They were murdered during an armed robbery.

A closeup of yellow police tape.
Unsplash | David von Diemar

Duffy's parents owned a bar at the time, which two gunmen robbed. They were both convicted with murder, though have both since been released on parole.

Charles Shaughnessy is a baron.

Charles Shaughnessy as a contestant for a game show.
Giphy | ABC Network

To be precise, the British actor's title is 5th Baron of Shaughnessy. It's hard to believe that Maxwell Sheffield from The Nanny is also a baron!

Tim Allen spent time in prison.

Tim Allen holding a sledgehammer up to the camera.
Giphy | Laff

Again, pretty hard to believe. Probably best known as Tim Taylor in Home Improvement (as well as the voice of Buzz Lightyear), the actor had a bit of a criminal past.

He was arrested in 1978.

Tim Allen in 1978 mug shot.
Getty Images | Kypros

He spent a couple of years in prison for drug trafficking, and was released in 1981. He clearly didn't let that keep him down.

Alan Thicke composed TV theme songs.

An actor introducing Alan Thicke as America's dad.
Giphy | Pop TV

Not only was he busy playing Jason Seaver on Growing Pains, but he was also a composer for TV theme songs!

He composed for sitcoms and gameshows.

Music notes descending a bar next to a treble clef.
Giphy | Musicnotes

Thicke composed the themes for Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life, both in collaboration with his then-wife Gloria Loring. He also composed for game shows like The Wizard of Odds and The Joker's Wild.

Tony Danza was Tupac's prison pen pal.

The characters from Who's the Boss looking up at a flipped pancake that never came back down.
Giphy | TV Land Classic

The Who's the Boss actor wrote to the rapper while he was serving time in prison. Talk about an unlikely friendship!

Ed O'Neill was briefly an NFL athlete.

Ed O'Neill turning and making a strange face.
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The dad in Married... With Children (and later, the dad -- or, one of the dads -- in Modern Family) was a football player in his college days.

He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Steelers.

Ed O'Neill adamantly saying "no."
Giphy | HULU

O'Neill was with the Pittsburg Steelers in 1969 and 1970, but his football career didn't last long. Certainly not as long as his acting career.

James Avery's ashes were spread into the Pacific Ocean.

James Avery as Uncle Phil.
Giphy | The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Avery, who will probably always be remembered as Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, died in 2013 due to complications from open heart surgery. He was later cremated, and his ashes were spread into the Pacific Ocean.

John Goodman used to stay with Bruce Willis while in LA.

John Goodman in Roseanne looking to his right while sitting in an armchair.
Giphy | Roseanne

The Roseanne star once revealed in an interview that Willis used to "put [him] up while [he] was in L.A," back in the 80s. Apparently, the two were friends.

Michael Gross was once a railroad owner.

Michael Gross from Tremors
Giphy | Tremors

Known for Family Ties (and for Tremors), Gross is also an avid model train (and actual train) enthusiast. He even became part-owner of the Santa Fe Southern Railroad in New Mexico for a time.

Max Write hated Alf.

Max Wright with the titular Alf.
Giphy | Miriam Ganser

Which is pretty awkward, considering he played Willie Tanner in the show. Apparently, he was happy when the show ultimately got canceled. Harsh.

Bob Saget was on 'The Dating Game.'

Bob Saget raising his eyebrows while pointing.
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Best known for his role as Danny Tanner in Full House and Fuller House, Saget's career had some pretty interesting twists and turns, Including being on The Dating Game in the late 70s.

He won, too!

Screencap from Full House. Danny Tanner talking to Aunt Becky.
IMDb | Full House

As the lucky contestant who got chosen by the female participant in the game, the pair won a trip to Guatemala (that ended up not happening). Apparently, Saget went on the show a second time (and lost).