Amy Ryan
May 02, 2007 AT 07:58 PM EDT

I don’t know if younger viewers really know how essential a TV funnyman Tom Poston was. After all, it’s been 17 years since Newhart went off the air, but even when he was ubiquitous on TV (as he was for decades), he was a top second banana who ceded the spotlight to others. Gen X viewers recall his peerless philosophical fogginess as slow-talking handyman George (pictured) on Newhart, or his sloshed antics as Bickley on Mork and Mindy; boomers will remember his recurring guest role as Bob’s rowdy college pal on The Bob Newhart Show and, back in the ’50s, as an all-purpose sidekick on The Steve Allen Show, for which he won an Emmy playing a guy who gets so flustered in front of an interviewers TV camera that he can’t remember his name. Poston, who died Monday at age 85, also had a long Broadway career and even a stint as an acrobat, but we’ll honor this comic everyman with a clip of Poston as Newhart‘s George, living his dream.

addCredit(“Newhart: Everett Collection”)

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