Jeffrey Tambor on Three's Company

How many times was he on Three’s Company as a minor character?

Has there ever been someone who has played as many different roles on a non-variety show TV series?

I don’t know how often he was on, but that’s not uncommon in the TV business. The Rockford Files used an actor by the name of Joe E. Tata a bunch of times and he was almost always a different character. (He probably did about 8 shows).

“Law and Order” recycles actors also

At least three times:
(1977) playing “Dr. Phillip Greene” in episode: “Jack Goes to the Dentist”
(1977) playing “Dr. Tom Miller” in episode: “Two Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
(1977) playing “Winston Cromwell III” in episode: “Father of the Bride”

He was also in the short lived spin-off “The
Ropers.” (1979) as Jeffrey P. Brookes III.

As for a record achievement, it comes close.
Bernard Fox played a few different roles in
Bewitched. (Most notably as Dr. Bombay.)

I counted 8 different appearances by Joe E. Tata in “The Rockford Files”, but 3 times he played the same character, Solly the Bail Bondsman.

But he was also an FBI agent and a jewel thief.

He later went on to run “The Peach Pit” on “Beverly Hills: 90210”.

In an even more frightening bit of minutiae, I remembered that Arte Johnson made six separate guest appearances on the “Love Boat”.

Please. Someone kill me and put me out of my misery!

Off to Cafe Society.

DrMatrix - General Questions Moderator

Remember when Dannis Frantz played two separate but very recurring characters on HILL STREET BLUES?

Jerry Orbach was a guest star on LAW & ORDER playing a different character before he became a cast member.

Jeffrey Tambor and actors playing different characters in the same series came up relatively recently.

Harry Morgan played a nutty colonel in an episode of MAS*H before coming back to play Col. Potter.

The actress who plays Stevie’s mother in “Malcolm in the Middle” played Malcolm’s teacher in an earlier episode (and they are two different characters).

Frank Nelson was a regular on the Jack Benny Show, playing a large variety of salesclerks, government officials, and other characters. His trademark was to turn and say “Yeessss?” whenever Jack started to talk to him.

Mel Blanc did the same thing, playing a variety of characters, including Benny’s car. Most of the characters were on screen and not just voiceovers.

Even better: Lloyd Bridges played a different character in every episode of “The Lloyd Bridges Show.” He portrayed a reporter who would hear about a story; you would see the story dramatized with Bridges as the main character. It only ran one season, but that’s over 30 different characters.

Frank Nelson and Mel Blanc though were more like regulars on a variety show. Sort of like Harvey Korman and Vickie Lawrence of “The Carol Burnett Show”. It was a holdover from Benny’s radio show.

Lloyd Bridges’ show I wasn’t familiar with. Richard Boone used to have “The Richard Boone Show” which was like a repertory company where the same group of actors would put on a different episode each week. I believe Harry Morgan was one of the actors in that. I don’t think Richard Boone’s show lasted more than one season.

Jeffrey Tambor was likely somebody that the producers of “Three’s Company” liked and just called him up whenever they needed an extra character that they he was right for. That’s quite common in films and TV as you see the same actors in shows by the same director or producer.

“The Sopranos” and “The Rockford Files” both have had several guest appearances by George Loros. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he is on David Chase’s Christmas card list.

There are a couple of actors who appeared over and over again on MAS*H, playing different Korean characters.

Philip Ahn, Mako, Sab Shimono and a couple of others played a variety of North and South Koreans, both soldiers and civilians.

Allen Melvin played several characters on The Andy Griffith Show: An escaped prisoner, an army recruiter, a roadside produce pusher, and a Marine sergaent on Gomer Pyle (same universe) to name a few. He also played a cop on an early All In The Family and then later played a different regular character, Barney.

I’ve always liked Jeffrey Tambor, it’s good to see that he’s got that gig on the Oprah show now. :wink: