Top Ten Coolest TV Characters of All Time (according to Paul Diamond Blow)
The Coolest of the Cool TV Characters...
by Paul Diamond Blow
Who are the top ten COOLEST TV characters of all time? To me, there are many things that can make a television character cool: being a “tough guy,” being a womanizer, possessing great skills or powers, or simply having a cool occupation (spy, astronaut, etc.). The TV characters on my list here are characters/personalities that became cultural icons of their day and inspired scores of impressionable youths of all ages (including myself) to emulate them and their coolness. Without further ado, here are the top ten coolest TV characters of all time...
10) Alexander Mundy (It Takes a Thief)
Alex Mundy was a super suave cat burglar (played by 1960s movie star/sex symbol Robert Wagner) who got busted during a job, and in a plea deal with the U.S. government became a cat burglar/spy for the S.I.A., an American espionage agency. Mundy could be considered the American version of James Bond, and besides being handsome, sexy, sophisticated, and super suave, Alexander Mundy was a genuine womanizer. Indeed, Mundy made out with a different hot babe in every single episode! As this show ran from 1968-1970, they weren’t allowed to show simulated sex scenes, but we all knew what happened after one of Al Mundy’s hot make out sessions. As a young lad growing up and watching the reruns, I wanted to be Alexander Mundy. Not necessarily being a spy or a burglar, I just wanted to make out with a different babe each episode.
9) General Urko (Planet of the Apes)
The Planet of the Apes movies were a big influence on me as a kid growing up in the ‘70s, and I also loved the Planet of the Apes television series that sadly lasted only one season in 1974. So, I must include one character from this awesome TV show on my list, and who else but General Urko, the gorilla general who chased the fugitive astronauts Pete Burke and Alan Virdon across the country? Besides being the general of the ape army, General Urko rode a horse and had a cool uniform. If I was an ape, I would want to be General Urko, with his cool hairstyle, uniform and helmet. Urko was played by none other than Mark Lenard, who also played Spock’s father in the original Star Trek series.
8) Vinnie Barbarino (Welcome Back Kotter)
Vinnie Barbarino is the character that made actor John Travolta famous. Barbarino was a teenaged Italian-American tough guy with a heart of gold, a cool shag haircut, and a cocky swagger. Barbarino was the unofficial leader of the Sweathogs and he always had a goodlooking chick at his side; a real babe magnet. Every time Barbarino said “Up your nose with a rubber hose!” the words dribbled with coolness.
7) Keith Partridge (The Partridge Family)
What makes Keith Partridge so cool is that not only was he the singer of a 1970s pop band (although a fictional one), but Keith Partridge/David Cassidy became a genuine teen idol and sex symbol with scores of adoring teenaged female fans who worshipped the ground he walked on, and the character of Keith Partridge turned David Cassidy into a legitimate pop star who sold out arenas back in the day. Plus, Keith Partridge had a super cool ‘70s shag haircut and you KNOW he got the girls in his high school!
6) Starsky and Hutch (Starsky and Hutch)
I must include both Starsky (Paul Michael Glaser) and Hutch (David Soul) here on my list as they were a super cool team of undercover San Franciso cops and I cannot split up the team. These guys drove a hot roddin’ 1975 Ford Torino complete with the red paint job and white stripes, they had cool hair styles, and Starsky always wore a cool cardigan sweater. The cardigan sweater was so cool that hordes of female fans (including my older sister) bought identical sweaters. Yes, Starsky and Hutch were more than cool, they were trend setters! If I had to pick, though, I would say Starsky was a little bit cooler than Hutch. (Note: their side kick Huggy Bear was pretty cool, too.)
5) “B.A.” (Bad Attitude) Baracus (The A-Team)
“B.A.” Baracus is the character that made Mr. T. famous and a cultural icon. A muscular, tough, black dude with both a beard and a mohawk (not to mention all the gold “bling”), “B.A.” Baracus was more than just a cool tough talking guy; he was a righteous man with a sense of justice, and he could kick major booty! Baracus/Mr. T. became a pop icon of the day and inspired scores of men of all colors to sport beards, mohawks, and bling. I pity the fool who disagrees... I pity ‘im!
4) Kwai Chang Caine (Kung Fu)
Played by actor David Carridine, Kwai Chang Caine was a Shaolin priest who traveled the Old West barefoot, playing a flute, doing good works, and kicking the asses of evil doers with his kung fu. Caine was a humble man of few words, but when he did speak he spoke pearls of wisdom; wisdom that only a true kung fu master could possess. And did I mention that he kicked the asses of evil doers with his awesome kung fu skills? Oh YEAH! Although actor David Carridine had no Asian blood in his veins (which is odd for a man playing the role of a Chinaman), in real life he was a kung fu master.
3) Steve Austin (The Six Million Dollar Man)
“Colonel Steve Austin... a man barely alive... we can rebuild him... we have the technology.” Ah yes, what can you say about Col. Steve Austin? He was the mother-freaking Six Million Dollar Man, for crying out loud! A human cyborg with bionic legs, arm, and eyeball! He could run 60 miles an hour. He could lift a two-ton truck with his bare hands. He could look at bikini wearing babes a thousand meters away! Besides his incredible bionic powers, Steve Austin was a mother-freaking astronaut and after his bionic transformation he became a spy for the O.S.I. (yet another American espionage agency). Plus, Steve Austin (played by the ruggedly handsome actor Lee Majors) was a hit with the ladies and made out with plenty of beauties on the show. Helles belles, later on Steve Austin even had a bionic girl friend (Jaime Sommers). How cool is that? Super, bionic cool!
2) Captain James T. Kirk (Star Trek)
Comon now, Captain James Tiberious Kirk is cool just because it was mother-freakin’ William Shatner who played him! William Shatner is a true cultural icon and an American institution thanks to his ultra-hammy acting style which is the stuff of legend, and thanks to this Captain Kirk simply had the coolest speaking style on television plus he was the Captain of a mother-freaking starship, baby! Kirk could also kick alien ass with his hammy martial arts skills, and he made out with a different sexy alien babe in at least one in four episodes. And did I mention it was mother-freaking William Shatner who played the part? Mother-freaking William Shatner, baby! (Note: T.J. Hooker was also a cool TV character, thanks to Shatner.)
1) The Fonz (Happy Days)
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAY, it’s the Fonz! Without a doubt the Fonz (a.k.a. Arthur Fonzarelli, a.k.a. Fonzie) was a super cool dude. Played by actor Henry Winkler, the Fonz was a tough-talking, leather jacket-wearing greaser who always had a babe on his arm (sometimes two). The Fonz possessed great powers: with just a snap of his fingers he could turn on a jukebox or attract female hotties to his side. Everyone looked up to the Fonz on Happy Days, even square heads like the Cunninghams. The Fonz also owned one of the coolest names in TV history, and the funny thing is that although he started out on Happy Days with a bit role, Fonzie soon became the most popular character on the show. As he became the star of the show, the Fonz was morphed (by the writers) from a tough guy hood to a sensitive, caring hood with a positive attitude and a strong moral code: a role model for the times. The Fonz was more than just a TV character, he was a true icon of the times, and he made fake leather jackets and switchblade combs super popular back in the day. Even though the Fonz eventually “jumped the shark” (literally, in a ridiculous episode) his television coolness has yet to be matched and so he makes it as number one on my list: the coolest TV character of all time. And hey, if you don't agree then you can "Sit on it!" AAAAAAAAY!
Enjoy this article? Buy Paul Diamond Blow's new book Tales From Outer Space