SURVEY SAYS: Who is Your Favorite Father Figure?

June 18, 2010 ( - Sunday is, of course, Father’s Day.

Specifically, who (other than your own) is your favorite FICTIONAL “father figure?”  The results were, as always, interesting – but the winner was never really in doubt.

The winner, far and away, was Dr. Cliff Huxtable of “The Cosby Show”, who topped the list with 27.8% of the vote – slightly improving the support he garnered in the 2007 version of this particular poll (see SURVEY SAYS: Who’s Your Favorite Father Figure?) 

In a distant second place was Andy Taylor , Mayberry’s sheriff in “The Andy Griffith Show,” who pulled the backing of 10.2%, less than half the support from the 2007 survey.  John Walton from the Waltons was third with 7.4%, while Jim Anderson (Father Knows Best), Homer Simpson (the Simpsons), and Howard Cunningham (Happy Days) tied for third with 5.6% each.

Ward Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver) dropped out of the top 5, tying for sixth place with Gomez Addams (the Addams Family) and Frank Barone (Ray’s Dad on Everybody Loves Raymond), with 4.6% each. 

Not that it was easy.  As one reader noted, “How can you make me choose between Cliff Huxtable, Frank Barone, Howard Cunningham, and Mr. Parker? They are all classic in their own special way :)”  

The rest of the list

3.7% - Jack Byrnes (Meet the Parents)

3.7% - the Old Man/Mr. Parker (Christmas Story)

2.8% - Vito Corleone (the Godfather)

2.8% - Al Bundy (Married with Children)

1.9% - Mike Brady (Brady Bunch)

Regarding that grouping, one reader noted, “Definitely Jack Byrnes from Meet the Parents.  However, to me, Jack is really not a fictional father figure as I am 100% convinced that the character was based on my real Dad.  When I was in high school, Dad made sure his green beret and machete were highly visible on nights when I had dates.  The machete was the first thing my dates saw (hanging behind Dad) when they came to pick me up.  After I finished college and was considering moving in with my boyfriend, Dad sat him down and said, "My daughter is not a car you can test drive!  I've got my eye on you."  My Dad is Jack!”

Those who got at least one vote were; Darth Vader, George Jetson, and Archie Bunker, while there were write-in votes for:

Fred Flintstone

Charles Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie)

Tom Baker (Steve Martin/Cheaper by the Dozen)

Ben Cartwright (Bonanza)

Attocus Finch (to Kill a Mockingbird)

Danny Taylor (Full House)

Leroy Jethro Gibbs (NCIS)

Henry Spencer (Psych)

Bryan Mills (from the movie “Taken”)

Jay Pritchett (Modern Family)

Sheldon’s father (from the Big Bang Theory)

Bob Cratchit (A Christmas Carol)

The dad from My Three Sons

An interesting write-in was for “God - the Ultimate of Fathers, the Creator of All!”

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said, “This is sappy, but I would have to say my husband is my favorite father figure besides my dad.”

Thanks to everyone (especially you Dads) who participated in our survey!  You can check out some of the remaining Father's Day survey verbatims on the following pages:

I wish Dad were still here so I could honor him--this is Father's Day #20 without him and I miss him terribly.

I lost my dad ten years ago and I miss him.

"Although my own dad and I get along quite well, we seem to be polar opposites.  He was a big jock in high school, but he never took the time to teach me thing 1 about sports. To this day, I could care less about professional baseball or football.  I have, however, taken the time to get my own sons interested in sports as I know how important it is from a socialization standpoint to be able to play baseball or football.  And they seem to like it.  I just wish I understood the rules more, but I am not the only parent in this situation. 


My wife and I comments that I am so different from my four siblings that she is certain I was adopted...except for the fact that my dad and I share a lot of physical traits.  So we look alike, but beyond that and the fact that we both have master's degrees (I'm the only child to get one...their first to complete college, and only one other sibling even has a college degree) and are conservative politically, that's about it. 


But I do get along with him, and I try not to fault him for not teaching me about sports. I know he had other focuses at that point in his life such as getting his career going and raising a young family.  Anyway, so much for that unburdening of the soul ;-)"

media and TV make too many "stupid dad" hopefully there's genuinely good treatment of dad's on Father's Day.

My father was the type of man who drew out the best in me.  He wasn't perfect, but he was loving and made me responsible for my actions.  I married the man that was most like my father because I knew he would treat me and any children we would have with love and respect.  I see my daughters making the same choices.  My father has had a profound effect on the health of our family and I am truly blessed.

Enjoy, love & appreciate your Dad while he's still with you.  My Dad passed away 14 years ago and I still think about him & miss him every day.

We need to remember the Moms out there who worked very hard to provide both the Mother and Father figure.  Mine did it without saying a single negative word about my father.

I want a handwritten note from my children, and that's it.  I don't support enriching the greeting card companies for a manufactured holiday.

My father-in-law will be 90 in 2 months, and I'm excited to take him out to brunch on Sunday!

I'm really thankful to have such a great dad who always cares, listens, changes my oil, and checks my tires.

My Dad died 24 years ago and I still miss him but I'm so thankful for all the days we had together and the example he set in life.

Just want to wish all the dads out there a very happy Father's Day!

My Dad is the best and always has been.  Yesterday he was on our 2nd floor roof running around trying to help fix a leak.  I was on the ground shadowing his movements trying to keep up with him so I could fling my body under his to break his fall if he had one.  Talk about nerve wracking.  Just try telling this 73 year old man he shouldn't be running around on roof tops or anywhere else for that matter.

Being a father of three young children, I have come to appreciate all that my dad has done for me.

It, like Mother's Day and Valentine's Day is a Hallmark Holiday.  If you didn't have the experiences that's shown in the ads, you feel like a loser.

Ward Cleaver followed by Any Taylor are my all time classic "Dads". I know I am showing my age by these selections and I think part of the reason for that, is my Dad also exhibited the qualities of quiet, strong and whose opinion was " most of the time" the right opinion on any subject".  Thank goodness for Dad!

I'm a late blooming baby boomer (50 years old with a 7 year old daughter), and I am amazed at how the new generation of dads compares to the Post-War /Cold War model I saw growing up.  Fathers nowadays go out of their way to be available to their kids and to participate in their activities and interests.  That was basically unheard of during my childhood except when you went on summer vacation and dad went swimming with the kids in the pool.  I think the attention and interest of fathers now is a terrific and needed change (even though moms still rule!)

I'm hoping that Mom and the kids allow me to sleep in on Sunday!

I'm always uncomfortable being the center of that kind of attention.  So I'll try to just focus on the pleasant times with our grown kids dropping by.

My dad died almost 12 years ago.  On that day, the circle was completed, and I once again thought of him as daddy.  I still think of him that way and miss him very much.  So, Fathers' Day is bittersweet for me - enjoying the day as a family celebration, yet knowing all the while there's a hole in the family that will always be there.  I just hope he knew how much his "little girl" loved him.  Miss you daddy.

THANKS DAD!  Wish you were still here.

My dad passed in 2003. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't continue to feel his influence on my life, in my career, and the way I relate to my children and grandchildren. I miss him terribly and hope that I am as strong an influence on my family as he was.

Its great to be a Dad and Granddad

Happy Father's Day to all Fathers .. and a special thank you to all Mothers who are raising children on their own and wearing both the mother and father hats!

Homer is a self-involved dolt, but he exhibits the most valuable assets of a good dad. He loves and encourages his kids to be individuals. He's the farthest thing imaginable from today's annoying helicopter parents.

Why is it that our Moms took care of us every minute of every day, but we have a soft spot in our hearts and remember fondly so much more about those fun moments with Dad?


Instead of golfing or doing anything separate from their families, I think dad's should do things with their families/children on father's day.  They should embrace/acknowledge their role as dad on this of all days -- not take a vacation from being a dad.  I always do stuff with my kids and they are always so excited to do something special WITH ME on that day.

Happy Father's Day to my five wonderful brothers!

I'm fortunate to have the greatest, most caring father anyone could hope for.  He was strict and hard-working but always very caring and the best example to show us how to work and behave and treat others.  I can't find myself to wear the "World's Greatest Dad" t-shirt from my kids when he's around because I don't agree.

My Dad was an uneducated man (dropped out during the Depression) who at times held 3 jobs to provide for his family, so Mom could stay home with us girls.  Dad was a man of few words who always let us know he loved us.  He's been gone for over 10 years and I miss him.

I have two wonderful daughters and it's great to be a Dad despite all the bad and evil things happening in this world. On the flip side, there are many more good things Louis Armstrong says, What a Wonderful World---being a Dad!!:):)