The Return of the Television Tontine

A few months ago, I blogged about the television tontine – in which a popular TV series from long ago is represented today by only one or two stars from that program. And in recent days, with the passing of Lisa Loring and Cindy Williams, their obituaries recalled their greatest TV successes – Loring as the macabre Wednesday Addams in the original 1960’s sitcom The Addams Family, while Williams portrayed Shirley Feeney in the beloved 1980’s sitcom Laverne and Shirley.

So let’s check out some more of this television tontine, shall we? Who’s still alive from the various programs of the past?


John Astin, who played the eccentric father figure Gomez Addams on the series, is now the last living cast member from the show. He would later reprise his Gomez Addams character on a couple of Addams Family reunion TV shows, as well as the 1992 Addams Family Saturday morning cartoon.


Believe it or not, only one cast member is still alive from this beloved 1980’s sitcom – Michael McKean, the “Lenny” of Lenny and Squiggy, the two male sidekicks whose tendency to appear at the most inopportune times on a Laverne & Shirley episode became the show’s endearing, loving trait.


Of all the characters from this beloved 1970’s sitcom, only Bob Newhart himself is still with us to this day.


I’m going out on a limb with this one … but if you count the three main spokes of the original NBC Mystery Movie wheel … only Susan Saint James, the “and Wife” of McMillan and Wife, is still with us today. By the way, Susan Saint James also had a long-running stint on the sitcom Kate & Allie – of which ALL the main cast members are still alive today.


Believe it or not, only two surviving cast members remain from this influential sitcom – Larry Matthews, Rob and Laura’s son – and Dick Van Dyke himself, who’s still out there acting and performing, believe it or not.

So yeah, that’s the most recent television tontine review. Fun stuff to review. I’m sure there are other programs with a lone surviving cast member or two … and maybe in a few months, I’ll do a tontine review of them as well. 😀