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'Father Knows Best' Cast Have Had Their Fair Share of Ups and Downs after the Iconic Show Ended

Pedro Marrero
Dec 03, 2019
06:00 P.M.
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The program had its beginnings on the radio, with a different cast and a more sarcastic tone, a bit harder humor. It worked on NBC Radio from 1949-1954, the year it made the leap to television. The life of its protagonists was not, precisely, a television series.


The program was broadcast for six years, it became a popular program over time since the characters showed a gentle humor and the whole drama of being a family, where problems are resolved in half an hour.

However, in real life for much of the cast things didn't work out the same way as in the show. The cast would meet again in 1977, for a couple of television movies: "Father Knows Best Reunion" and "Father Knows Best: Home for Christmas."



Born on February 22, 1907, in Chicago, Robert Young began on the big screen, appearing in more than 100 films filmed quickly and economically between 1931 and 1962, which resulted in his appearing in the largest number of films.

Hired by MGM, Young had to do whatever project the studio assigned to him. And although he had some important roles at the end of the contract and began to appear in films for other studios, he made darker characters, which were critically acclaimed.

At this time television entered his life because despite having prominent roles, his popularity had declined. The popularity of "Father Knows Best" on the radio made him the ideal television candidate.


Robert Young I Image: Wikimedia Commons

Obviously, it worked, but it had a high cost, because the program created an idealized version of Robert Young, and began to affect him in his real life. The Andersons left my conversations about what we thought a middle-class American family would be.


People perceived it as real life, but perhaps it helped to realize that a family can exist without killing each other. After the cancellation of “Father Knows Best,” he was hired to play the lead role in “Marcus Welby, MD,” from 1969 to 1976 and two television films “The Return of Marcus Welby, MD” and “Marcus Welby, MD: A Holiday Affair. ”

After this, Robert acted only in the acclaimed, but controversial, television movie "Mercy or Murder" about assisted suicide. Young died of respiratory failure at his home in Westlake Village, California, on July 21, 1998. He has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.



Actress Jane Wyatt plays Margaret, the matriarch of the Anderson family. Born on August 12, 1910, in Mahwah, New Jersey, she started on the Broadway stage as an alternate for actress Rose Hobart in Trade Winds.

Her good work on stage led to her being chosen for the movie "One More River," "Lost Horizon" and additional roles in "Gentleman's Agreement," "None but the Lonely Heart," "Boomerang," "House by the River,” and “ Task Force. ”

Parallel to her role as Margaret, the most famous is that of Amanda, the mother of Mr. Spock in the original "Star Trek." Jane appeared in an episode of the series called "Journey to Babel", and repeated with this character in the movie "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home."


Jane Wyatt I Image: Getty Images

The actress had many appearances as a guest star in other programs after the cancellation of the series. In her private life, she was married almost 65 years with Edgar Bethune Ward. Together they had two children, three grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.


Jane suffered a mild stroke in 1990, from which she recovered strongly. However, she died on October 20, 2006, at the age of 96.


Born in April 1937 in Tacoma, Washington, Elinor has had recurring roles in several classic television series since the end of the series. She began in the roles of dance films from the age of 5. She also worked in vaudeville before obtaining roles in several films, such as "Love is Better Than Ever," "Three Daring Daughters" and "Girls Town."

Elinor Donahue I Image: Getty Images


After the show, it was Andy's love interest in “The Andy Griffith Show” and another for Felix Unger in “The Odd Couple.” Along the way, she would also be a guest star in a memorable episode of the original “Star Trek” series (Metamorphosis). She always acted in guest roles.

Her last role as an actress has so far been as Judge Marie Anderson in four episodes of the daytime soap opera "The Young and the Restless."


Billy Gray, born William Thomas Gray on January 13, 1938, in Los Angeles, had a fairly extensive curriculum. At age 13 he appeared in "All American," followed by the science fiction classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Talk About a Stranger."


Billy Gray I Image: Wikimedia Commons

He starred in "Be the Light of the Silvery Moon," "The Girl Next Door" and "All I Desire," also appears on the small screen in the series "The Adventures of Superman." After the series, he returned to work, appearing on TV series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Bachelor Father" and the movie "The Explosive Generation."


In 1962 when he was arrested for possession of marijuana, which seriously affected his reputation and career; the roles definitely declined. In addition to the reunion films of "Father Knows Best," his last two films were "Love and Bullets" and "The Vampyre Wars."

However, when considering fans of the show, Gray is not necessarily one of them. He has stated that the show hurt everyone. Women were trained to use their feminine arts, to pretend that they could do nothing but attract men.


Billy thinks what they did was execute a hoax. And the bad thing is that it is a deceptive model because it revolved around not wanting to tell the truth, either because of shame or because of not wanting to hurt someone.


Lauren Chapin was born on May 23, 1945, in Los Angeles, California, USA. UU, as Lauren Ann Chapin. She was a child actress, known for playing the youngest daughter "Kathy Anderson" (nicknamed "Kitten").

She appeared in 196 episodes of the 203 series. Lauren received five Emmy Junior awards for the best child actress. Two of her older brothers, Billy and Michael Chapin, were also children's stars.


Lauren Chapin I Image: Getty Images

After the show, she participated in an episode of "General Electric Theater", the movie "Scout’s Honor" and eight episodes of the television program "School Bus Diaries" and "The Amorous Adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza."


In her autobiography she commented that she suffered sexual abuse, she married at age 18 and two years later she divorced. She also suffered several miscarriages, having trouble finding work as an actress by being stereotyped as Kathy Anderson.

She had many problems with her alcoholic mother and seems to be the cast member of "Father Know Best" who has suffered most in her personal life, as she has stated in several interviews over the years.


A curious fact about the series is that the Anderson lived in the unspecified city of "Springfield". Like the Simpsons, the Anderson live in the midwestern city called Springfield, although a state is never specified.

Another fact is that one of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” Kyle Richards was part of the show in the two reunion films made for television, where she played Ellen, a daughter of Betty, who had become a widowed mother of two girls.