Bayside’s Ted Bessell was that boy on ‘That Girl’ 1

The childhood home of actor Ted Bessell, 29-63 215 Place in Bayside, as it appeared in the 1940s.

Howard Weston Bessell Jr. was born in Flushing on March 20, 1935, the son of Howard Sr., a toy manufacturing executive, and the former Matilde “Jo” Dainese.

He was raised at 29-63 215 Place in Bayside.

Bessell considered the priesthood at one time. But he decided to go to acting school, where he could play different characters to help find himself. He married sexy model Janeen Darrah in 1963, but the marriage was brief. In 1966, he landed the role of Donald Hollinger, the ever-adoring boyfriend of Marlo Thomas in the hit TV Show “That Girl.” At 31, Ted Bessell became a household name. The show ran until 1971.

Typecast and trapped in a nice guy image, in the era of Woodstock he never grew out his hair or loosed his necktie. In 1976, in the last days of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” he became the boyfriend of Mary Richards. The public was upset, wanting her character to stay single and independent.

In 1987, he went behind the camera and directed “The Tracy Ullman Show” on Fox and was responsible for many of the hilarious sketches on the program.

Bessell passed away at age 61 in October 1996, of an aortic aneurysm.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.