Gone but not forgotten, 2010: Goodbye to some true TV icons
Rue McClanahan was among the stars who passed away in 2010.
A number of genuine icons of the home screen passed during the 12-month period now coming to a close -- talents whom many people literally grew up watching and, some might say, who helped them grow up -- so it isn't just proper to say a collective goodbye to them. It's essential.
Gary Coleman: Despite his later troubles, countless fans will recall Coleman fondly as whip-smart Arnold -- of "What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" fame -- on "Diff'rent Strokes."
Barbara Billingsley: Unofficially "America's mom," this actress oversaw the Cleaver household with grace and wisdom on "Leave It to Beaver."
Tom Bosley: Similarly a national father figure, this Tony-winning stage veteran even played paternal to rebellious Fonzie as Mr. C on "Happy Days."
John Forsythe: Once a "Bachelor Father" figure, Forsythe aged with grit and style into the role of tycoon Blake Carrington on "Dynasty" ... and gave voice to one of television's most famously faceless characters on "Charlie's Angels."
Leslie Nielsen: He played it straight through much of his career, but the movie satire "Airplane!" set Nielsen up to become the riotously clueless Frank Drebin of "Police Squad!" -- a part he carried into the big-screen "Naked Gun" comedy hits.
Rue McClanahan: And then there was one -- namely, Betty White -- after the death of the actress who gave such life to sassy Blanche on "The Golden Girls."
Dixie Carter: "Designing Women," too, lost a pivotal player with the passing of the performer (and wife of Hal Holbrook) who was saucy Julia Sugarbaker.
Peter Graves: No impossible mission has been, nor will be, the same without the man who saw many tapes self-destruct as espionage leader Jim Phelps.
Pernell Roberts: Some thought this actor's career had self-destructed when he left the hugely popular "Bonanza," but he would resurrect it years later in "Trapper John, M.D."
Robert Culp: Bill Cosby always has credited his "I Spy" co-star with doing much to enable Cosby to remain a strong television presence since the 1960s spy drama.
James MacArthur: There's a new "Danno" on a new "Hawaii Five-0" now, but to devotees of the original, there can be only one. This one.
Fess Parker: "Daniel Boone was a big man," all right, as the theme song said -- and the tall, rustic Parker embodied him ideally.
Merlin Olsen: Another actor comfortable with staying basic, this football veteran had a great run with actor-producer Michael Landon, first on "Little House on the Prairie" and then in the title role of "Father Murphy."
Don Meredith: The genuinely "Dandy" Dallas Cowboys quarterbacking veteran became one of the true characters of sportscasting as part of ABC's "Monday Night Football" team.
Dorothy Provine: The girl-next-door quality of this Warner Bros.-bred actress served her well on many of the studio's classic shows, including "77 Sunset Strip" and "Hawaiian Eye."
Art Linkletter: One of the people for whom the word "host" was invented, this folksy personality regularly invited viewers to his weekday "House Party" and also confirmed that "Kids Say the Darndest Things."
Mitch Miller: One of television's prime music men for many years, Miller led a brigade of vocalists (notably including Leslie Uggams) on "Sing Along With Mitch."