TED KNIGHT Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Ted Knight                                                                         
Birth name: Tadeusz Wladyslaw Konopka                                                   
Born: 7 December 1923 Terryville, Connecticut, United States                             
Died: 26 August 1986 Glendale, California, United States                                 
Ted Knight (December 7, 1923-August 26, 1986) was an American actor best known           
for playing Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Henry Rush on Too Close         
for Comfort. Ted Knight has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his                 
contributions to Television, at 6673 Hollywood Boulevard.                               
Born Tadeusz Wladyslaw Konopka (Lubicz Coat of Arms including Konopka surname at         
right) to a Polish American family in Terryville, Connecticut, Knight dropped           
out of high school to enlist for military service in World War II, earning five         
battle stars while serving in the European Theatre.                                     
In 1948, he married Dorothy Smith, and eventually had three children, Ted Knight.       
Jr, Elyse, and Eric.                                                                     
During the postwar years, Knight studied acting in Hartford, Connecticut. He             
became proficient with puppets and ventriloquism, which led to steady work as a         
TV kiddie-show host. In 1955, he'd left Hartford for Albany, New York where he           
landed a job at station WROW-TV (now WTEN), hosting "The Early Show" featuring           
MGM movies and a kids variety show playing a 'Gabby Hayes' type character named         
'Windy Knight. He was also a radio announcer for sister station WROW radio. He'd         
left the station in 1957 after an advice from it's Station Manager (and future           
Capital Cities Chairman) Thomas S. Murphy that he should take his great talents         
to Hollywood. Knight spent most of the 1950s and 1960s doing commercial voice-overs     
and essaying minor TV and movie roles (he was the nonspeaking cop who was               
guarding Norman Bates at the end of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960)). Knight's         
distinctive speaking voice brought him work as an announcer -- he narrated               
several animated television series including Super Friends -- and he appeared           
frequently in TV shows such as Bonanza, Combat!, Get Smart, The Twilight Zone,The       
Wild Wild West and The Love Boat. (In one Love Boat episode, he guest starred as         
a rival cruise captain opposite Mary Tyler Moore co-star Gavin MacLeod.)                 
His role as the vain and untalented newscaster Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler             
Moore Show brought Knight widespread recognition, and his greatest success. He           
received six Emmy Award nominations for the role, winning the Emmy for "Outstanding     
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Comedy", in 1973 and 1976.               
Many fans often assumed Knight was like the Ted Baxter character in real life,           
causing him occasional problems, and great heartache. In 1975, he approached The         
Mary Tyler Moore Show Producer David Davis and Director Jay Sandrich in tears           
asking to be removed from the show due to the often negative effect that this           
was having on his wife and children. He was, in fact, an intelligent actor who           
worried that he was trapped in the character, and would be forever typecast.             
James L. Brooks brought in Georgia Engel and Robbie Rist to develop the                 
character's softer side. To a degree Knight was typecast, although his character         
on Too Close for Comfort endeared him to a whole new audience of TV viewers.             
Ted Knight was a social conservative who often disagreed with former co-star Ed         
Asner. While the two were political opposites, they remained friends throughout         
their association. Ironically both Knight and Asner played the same role {villains}     
on episodes of The Wild Wild West.                                                       
After Mary Tyler Moore finished its seven-season run, Knight appeared in the             
film Caddyshack as Judge Elihu Smails (1980), and played the lead role in the           
series Too Close for Comfort from 1980-1986.                                             
The commanding voice of the Narrator of Super Friends was provided by Ted Knight         
during the early hour-long episodes. His signature line was, "Meanwhile, at the         
Hall of Justice..." William Woodson took over once they dropped the original             
In 1985, he was diagnosed with colon cancer which, despite rigorous treatment,           
eventually began to spread to his bladder and throughout his lower GI. He died           
on August 26, 1986 from complications due to surgery to remove a tumor of the           
urinary tract. He was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale,             
California. His grave marker bears the name Theodore C. Konopka.