In honor of Father’s Day, TheWrap recognizes non-parental TV father figures, from Mr. Feeney on “Boy Meets World” to Mr. Shaibel on “The Queen’s Gambit” to the eponymous Mr. Belvedere and Chief Hopper on “Stranger Things.”
Bentley Gregg (John Forsythe), “Bachelor Father”
One of TV’s earliest examples of a father who wasn’t a father, Bentley took on the responsibility of raising his niece, Kelly (Noreen Corcoran), after her parents were killed in a car accident.
Mr. Feeny (William Daniels), “Boy Meets World”
The Matthews’ next-door neighbor was also Cory’s (Ben Savage) teacher and eventually his principal, offering sagely advice throughout his young life.
Mr. Belvedere (Christopher Hewett), “Mr. Belvedere”
In the 1980s sitcom, Mr. Belvedere took on a job as a posh butler with an American family. Throughout the show’s run, Mr. Belvedere often served as a mentor to the head of house George Owens (played by Bob Uecker) as well as his three children.
Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier), “Full House”
Uncle Joey had his puppets and his nieces, but no kids. Still, he played an essential role in helping raise Danny’s (Bob Saget) girls. Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) would have made this list, but he eventually had twins of his own.
Wilson (Earl Hindman), “Home Improvement”
Wilson always had advice for the Taylor boys, though no one ever saw the mouth that it came out of. He probably had even more words of wisdom for man-child Tim (Tim Allen), who seemed to need a lot of guidance.
Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
Giles may have been Buffy’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) Watcher, but the librarian offered advice and wisdom to the entire Scooby Gang, even after they graduated high school.
Keith Scott (Craig Sheffer), “One Tree Hill”
Poor Keith became a father after his death on the show. But before that, he helped Karen (Moira Kelly) raise his nephew Lucas (Chad Michael Murray), falling in love with her along the way. Later, his spirit (yes, this happened!) guides Lucas and Nathan (James Lafferty) for a season.
Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins), “Saved by the Bell”
The Big Bopper was more than just a principal to Zach Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and friends at Bayside High. He usually had a moral lesson up his sleeve — it was often doled out in detention.
Wilfred (Jason Gann), “Wilfred”
While he may not be real, Wilfred is real enough in Ryan’s (Elijah Wood) world, and serves as both mentor and guide as Ryan struggles through life. Granted, he’s a terrible mentor and gets Ryan in trouble more often than not, but it seems to be all about making Ryan a better person. Maybe.
Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), “The Newsroom”
When he wasn’t being a curmudgeon, Will actually cared about his team and the newsroom he worked with, and would go to any lengths to protect them in a hostile environment. Maybe that’s why he was so cranky.
Mr. Dink (Fred Newman), “Doug”
Doug’s (Billy West/Tom McHugh) older, eccentric neighbor was as quick with a bizarre high-tech gadget as he was with words of wisdom for the young man. Unfortunately, sometimes both proved to be of little use.
Captain Ray Holt (Andrew Braugher), “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
The Captain has no biological kids, but the immature cops that work for him are childish enough to need constant nurturing, and stoic, tough love.
Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman), “Sons of Anarchy”
After marrying Gemma (Katey Sagal), Clay became a stepfather of sorts to Jax (Charlie Hunnam), but that didn’t stop the two from trying to kill one another on a regular basis. Clay also took on a fatherly role to other members of the club, until his greed went too far, and his “children” turned on him.
Artie (Toby Huss), “The Adventures of Pete and Pete”
The self-proclaimed “Strongest Man in the World” was Little Pete’s (Danny Tamberelli) personal superhero, and one of the few adults that held any sort of positive influence over the rambunctious kid.
Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), “Breaking Bad”
While Walter White (Bryan Cranston) was busy cooking meth and killing (other) bad guys, it was Hank who stepped in and took care of Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte) and his little sis. The surrogate father couldn’t save himself, however, once he figured out Walter’s secrets.
Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), “Boardwalk Empire”
No one ever said they needed to be GOOD father figures to qualify for this list. Nevertheless, Nucky took Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt) under his wing early on in the series’ run, though that didn’t turn out too well for Jimmy.
Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), “Homeland”
Saul doesn’t need kids of his own, as Carrie (Claire Danes) is more than enough to keep him busy. Aware of her bipolar disorder, Saul has done everything in his power to nurture and protect her from outside forces, and herself.
Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
Starfleet is his mistress, so it makes sense that the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise were his children. Captain Picard spent as much time helping Data (Brent Spiner) understand humanity, and providing guidance to every other member of the crew, as he did exploring space.
Luke Danes (Scott Patterson), “Gilmore Girls”
Between taking on the fatherly responsibility of moving Rory into college and taking in his nephew, Jess, Luke wins the title of de facto father all around.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon), “NCIS”
Leroy had a daughter at one time, but he lost her at a young age to tragedy. Perhaps that’s why he has taken on such a fatherly role with his team of NCIS agents, helping them with their problems, while keeping his own a deep, dark mystery.
Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Coulson hand selected his own team, and he filled it with broken people in need of support, direction and guidance. It’s no wonder he’s stepped up as a father figure to so many of them, and especially the orphaned Skye (Chloe Bennet).
Blake Shelton, “The Voice”
While not a father in real life, Blake is clearly ready. Why else would he keep being drawn to young contestants, and asking them if he can adopt them? His fatherly guidance has already launched “The Voice” winners Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery onto the country charts.
Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), “Stranger Things Season 2”
While Hopper took on Eleven as his own daughter, Nancy’s boyfriend Steve found himself responsible for all of her friends: Dustin, Lucas, Mike, and Sadie. The Internet christened the newly beloved babysitter as Dad Steve and got particularly emotional about his unlikely bond with the nerdy Dustin (played by Gaten Matazzaro), to whom he gave hair advice and girl advice throughout the season. Executive producer Steve Levy has promised that there will be more Dad Steve in the upcoming third season.
Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver), “Supernatural”
While their father wasn’t always around, the Winchester boys learned they could always count on Bobby to help them out of a jam, or teach them the right and wrong way to exorcise a demon. Even after his death, Bobby managed to find ways to take care of his “idjits.”
John Locke (Terry O’Quinn), “Lost”
When he wasn’t clashing with Jack, Locke was helping some of the castaways grow up — and stay alive. He bonded especially with Walt (Malcolm David Kelley) in the early going, helping the boy work through the grief of losing his mother, and grow closer to his biological father, Michael (Harold Perrineau).
Mr. Carson (Jim Carter), “Downton Abbey”
Mr. Carson is a father figure for both the upstairs and downstairs of the upstairs/downstairs drama. He looks after the staff and the Grantham girls. While gruff and proper, Mr. Carson has shown a greater empathy than expected at times, proving he can be progressive, too, albeit reluctantly.
Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek), “Warehouse 13”
While he was always a bit of a father figure to the agents under his charge, it was the arrival of the troubled Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) that really brought out his softer, and yet dangerously protective side.
Mr. Mansfield (John C. McGinley), “Ground Floor”
The consummate business man, Mansfield surprised even himself when he took such an interest in Brody (Skylar Astin). While grooming him for success in business, Mansfield became emotionally invested in Brody’s burgeoning relationship with Jenny (Briga Heelan), offering sage advice, buried inside cutting sarcasm.
Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), “The Flash”
When Barry Allen’s (Grant Gustin) mother was murdered and his father wrongfully convicted of her murder, he was taken in by family friend, police detective Joe West. Joe proved a devoted foster father, even inspiring young Barry to become a forensic scientist. And after the accident that gave Barry his powers, Joe was his first friend to learn about the secret, and serves as one of The Flash’s staunchest allies. And now that Barry is married to Joe’s daughter, Iris, he’s a great father-in-law in addition to being a great foster dad.
Lee Chang (Ju Ji-Hoon), “Kingdom”
The crown prince of Korea is forced out of the palace amid a pandemic that turns people into flesh-eating zombies. He shows paternal compassion towards all his subjects as he rallies them against the growing threat.
Michael Scott (Steve Carell), “The Office”
He may not be the best manager, but Scott serves as the unofficial dad of Dundler-Mifflin, and upon himself to be Jan’s child’s dad although there is no blood relation.
Michael (Ted Danson), “The Good Place”
Although Michael is not a father in the sense that he an immortal alien initially sent to torture the humans he comes across, he eventually acts as a de facto father, guiding the humans on their mission to become better people.
Ali (Colman Domingo), “Euphoria”
While Rue’s biological father formerly passed away, Ali assumes the role of a father figure to Rue as they both battle addiction to improve themselves and their relationship with their families.
Mr. Shaibel (Bill Camp), “The Queen’s Gambit)
With an absent father and diseased mother, Beth Harmon found a father figure in Mr. Shaibel, her school’s janitor, who taught the prodigy how to play chess.
El Profesor (Álvaro Morte), “Money Heist”
The dependable and meticulous El Profesor transformed into a ragtag group of criminals into the most notorious and well-loved thieves, earning their trust as the patriarch of each heist.