Published on June 16th 2010 by Leon Shepherd

When we think of fathers, some of the words that come to mind are, dedicated, courageous, hard-working, provider, and caring. This Sunday, June 20, we celebrate Fathers Day. So, in honor of fathers past, present and future, here’s my list of the Top 10 Black TV Dads of all time. Let the celebration begin!


10. Hal Williams “227”


Hal Williams portrayed the role of Lester Jenkins on the TV sitcom “227.” Lester Jenkins (Williams) is married to Mary Jenkins (Marla Gibbs), and is the father of Brenda Jenkins (Regina King).

 His strengths as a father include: Hard-working and a good provider.


 9. Terry Crews “Everybody Loves Chris”


 Terry Crews portrayed the role of Julius on the sitcom, “Everybody Loves Chris.” Julius (Terry) is married to Rochelle (Tichina Arnold) and is the father of Chris (Tyler James Williams).

His strengths as a father include: Caring, easygoing, and level-headed.


8. Reginald Vel Johnson “Family Matters”



Reginald Vel Johnson portrayed the role of Carl Winslow on the TV sitcom, “Family Matters.” Winslow is married to Harriette (Jo Marie Payton) and is the father of two daughters and one son.

His strengths as a father include: Hard-working, protective and humble.


7. Sherman Hemsley “The Jeffersons”


Sherman Hemsley portrayed the role of George Jefferson on the TV sitcom, “The Jeffersons.” George (Hemsley) is married to Louise (Isabel Sanford) and is the father of Lionel (Mike Evans).

His strengths as a father include: Hard-working and a good provider.


6. Redd Foxx “Sanford & Son”


Redd Foxx portrayed the role of Fred Sanford on the TV sitcom, Sanford & Son. He is the father of Lamont Sanford (Demond Wilson).

His strengths as a father include: Protective, comical and caring.


5. Damon Wayans “My Wife & Kids”


Damon Wayans portrayed the role of Michael Kyle on the TV sitcom, “My Wife & Kids.” Kyle is married to Janet Kyle (Tisha Campbell-Martin). He’s the father of two daughters and one son.

His strengths as a father include: Loving and caring.


 4. Bernie Mac “The Bernie Mac Show”


Bernie Mac portrayed Bernie Mac in the TV sitcom, “The Bernie Mac Show.” Mac is married to Wanda (Kellita Smith). He and Wanda are raising his sister’s three kids.

His strengths as a father include: Tough-love, strict and comical.


3. James Avery “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”


James Avery portrayed the role Philip Banks on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Banks is married to Vivian Banks (Janet Hubert-Whitten & Daphne Maxwell). He’s the father of Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) and Ashley (Tatyana Ali). He’s also the uncle of Will (Will Smith).

His strengths as a father include: Caring, loving and protective.


 2. Bill Cosby “The Cosby Show”


Bill Cosby portrayed the role of Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable on the TV sitcom, “The Cosby Show.” Huxtable is married to Claire (Phylicia Rashad). He is the father of five children (Sabrina LeBeauf, Lisa Bonet, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempestt Bledsoe and Keshia Knight Pulliam).

His strengths as a father include: Silly, kind-hearted, and dedicated.


1. John Amos “Good Times”


John Amos portrayed the role of James Evans on the TV sitcom, “Good Times.” Evans is married to Florida (Esther Rolle). He’s also the father of three children. (Jimmie Walker, Bern Nadette Stanis and Ralph Carter.)

His strengths as a father include: Caring, protective, comical and hard-working.

Entertainment | Comments (19)

19 Responses to “Top 10 Black TV Dads”

  1. Lenora Dorsey Says:

    I love this list… Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers. I’m not sure about the order. While I loved John Amos’s role. I think Bill Cosby should be number 1 mainly because John Amos left Good Times for a while so he became an absent father.I also think that Family Matters and Jefferson’s should be switched simply because Carl winslow was a full father figure, whereas, Jefferson played father to Lionel who was not always present and to me his role was more business owner,husband, employer to Marla Gibbs, then father. Great list as usual.

  2. Leon Says:

    I placed John Amos #1 because in my opinion, his struggle was greater than Cosby’s when it came to being a provider & a good father. Nevertheless, he was able to keep the Evans family together with very little means. Even though the family struggled, he always made sure that they had food on the table & a roof over their heads. He was also a strong father figure. For example, when it came to discipline, all he had to do was give J.J. & the others a look, and they would get back in line.
    I never thought of him as an absentee father, because when he left it was job related. He left to be a better provider for his family. But I do understand your point.
    I think you’ll agree that his presence was so strong that when he was written out of the show, the show was never the same.

    Good point regarding the switching of Family Matters & The Jeffersons.

  3. grapevine Says:

    Leon, thanks for placing Johm Amos #1. Most people would give the nod to Bill Cosby, but I agree with you, John Amos had to keep the family together in very difficult conditions.
    By the way, John Amos was not an absent father, he left Good Times due in part to the negative image that “JJ” portrayed. He wanted “JJ” to mature and become more responsible, however, producers of the wanted to keep “JJ” just the way he was, so Johm Amos left the series.

  4. Terrance Says:

    Great subject matter on this one Leon. Men need to see this. Great list.

  5. rod moore Says:

    Leon I cant agree with you more. John Amos is a solid #1 as far as Im concerned. He was tough caring responsible & no matter how tough the situation got he hung in there. Dads impact is more delayed than moms because mothers love is unconditional. Dads are hard on you & you think they are being mean until you get out in the real world then everything becomes clear. Remember what Bill Cosby once said The older he got the smarter his father got. Happy Fathers Day fellas!

  6. Shack Says:

    Leon – Your timing is impeccable. Months ago before you started this blog, I had in mind to come up with TT TV Dads list AND I agree THAT the John Amos/James Evans Character is the BEST Black TV Father Figure I have ever seen!

    What seperates him from Cosby is the emotion, compassion and REALISM that his character displayed during his two years on Good Times. Ms. Lenora – I’m suprised Leon didn’t remind you. The real reason they had to write that (he left the family to work in Alaska I believe) is because they already written him out of the show.

    Now for the disagreements – I have the fatherly depictions of Vel Johnson, Crews and Williams higher than that of Foxx and Hemsley. Can’t comment on D. Wayans work since I never watched that show. The Avery and Mac characters are ok where they are but I’d probably have them a tad lower. Again Great List.

  7. Shack Says:

    In thinking about it, perhaps you should place the Sherman H. character in Amen instead of The Jeffersons. He seemingly served a more fatherly role in that series.

    Useless Trivia – What do James Evans and Deacon Frye have in common – They both had dauhgters named Thelma.

  8. rod moore Says:

    I just want to share a thought that i read in a book on Fatherhood “There are 3 stages in a mans life 1 When he believes in Santa Claus 2 When he stops believing in Santa Claus & 3 When he becomes Santa Claus.”

  9. Leon Says:

    Great point Grapevine!

  10. Leon Says:

    Thanks Terrance! I appreciate your positive feedback.

  11. Leon Says:

    Great points Rod, and very good comments.

  12. Leon Says:

    Very good feedback & comments Shack.
    You even came up with a word that I forgot to mention that perfectly describes the James Evans/John Amos character & why he’s the #1 black tv dad….REALISM!!! Excellent point! Thanks for sharing!

    Also, good point regarding Crews & Williams positions verses that of Foxx & Hemsley.

  13. Leon Says:

    Shack, thanks for reminding me about Hemsley’s role on Amen. And you’re right, he was more of a fatherly figure on Amen than on the Jeffersons.
    Great point!

  14. Leon Says:

    Thanks for sharing Rod!

  15. Lenora Dorsey Says:

    So to all, I do agree that John Amos character was the strongest and most disciplined of all fathers. I agree with everything that was said. His character was a lot like my father. No mess, no nonsence, no mercy. He was also a good provider. I really just wanted to give us something to talk about because Leon got the list so perfectly, I felt there may not be anything to debate. I do stand by my position on Sherman Hemsley vs. Vel Johnson. :-)

  16. Shonee Says:

    There is nothing else to say but John Amos/James Evans is TV’s #1 dad! And your right Leon, the show was not the same after he left for that job in Mississippi not Alaska ;)

  17. Trisha Says:

    Leon, great list again…I assumed you would have Bill Cosby #1 but I am glad you went with John Amos…truly for all the right reasons

    Rod…What do you mean, Santa Claus isn’t real?

  18. Shack Says:

    Ms. Shonee – Shack stands corrected…

  19. Shonee Says:

    @Shack…. :-)