Pop Culture

Ed Andrews


Ed Andrews
My Godfather, Beloved Character Actor

Posted by Charlie Recksieck on 2023-07-11
Ed Andrews was my godfather in real life. But you knew him, as seen on TV. He was a "that guy".

He had an incredible acting career. 188 credits on IMDB

You'd recognize him primarily from Sixteen Candles where he played Grandpa (who asks Long Duk-Dong "Where is my automobile?").

Great Career

Alternately billed as Edward Andrews or Ed Andrews, he was always "Ed" around our house. He was born in Georgia, but with enough acting classes and roles, he had no trace of a Southern accent.

He often played authoritative figures, businessmen, or eccentric characters.

He acted with Elvis and in and Gremlins. He was in both The Absent-Minded Professor and How To Frame A Figg (two Sunday afternoon classics).

Name me another actor who appeared both on Bewitched and I Dream Of Jeannie.

A "That Guy"

You know what a "that guy" is, right? Whenever you spot an actor in a movie or tv show where you know you've seen him or her in something but don't know their name, you tag him as "that guy from (XXX)". Nameless character actors are the best for movie fans.

Most character actors aren't "leading man" types. It really helps if you're ageless. When Ed was 40 he looked 55; which is golden for a long acting career because he pretty much looked the same when he was 70.

Here's where he was in show-business: A big enough get to be on The Love Boat, but not big enough to get the opening credits photo where they show each celebrity in a frame of a buoy.

My Love Affair With TV

As a kid I watched a lot of tv. Not like the average kid who may have watched 20-25 hours a week. I watched a LOT more. I circled things in TV Guide. I could still probably recite most night's of programming on each network from 1980.

So, imagine playing sick to stay home from school and putting on channel 13 for an old Bewitched episode and seeing your godfather carry the episode. For the record, Ed played TWO different stuffy clients with different names in different episodes. In both, when Samantha's witchcraft hijinks would get out of control, Ed's character would complain to Larry Tate, "What's the meaning of this?!", Larry would chastise Darren, then Ed would interrupt Larry to say, "Tate, where have you been hiding this brilliant young man!?"

By the way, one of Ed's kids was named Tabitha and allegedly Elizabeth Montgomery pitched it as their daughter's name on Bewitched.

Another weekday daytime staple was The Twilight Zone on channel 5. Imagine seeing your godfather is the star and centerpiece of an episode. Even though it was one of the worst alltime episodes - he was a hit-and-run driver that later was stalked by his car - I still loved seeing Ed!

Seeing Him As A Kid

He and his wife were unquestionably my parents' best friends. They were neighbors in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. I'm the fourth child in my family, our older three kids were all the same age and buddies with Ed and Emily's three kids.

Edward Andrews was known in roles as either an avuncular boss or a taskmaster boss. But in real life he was relaxed and smiling, one of the friendlier adults I remember spending time with. And why not - he was doing exactly what he loved for decades as a working actor and made a great life with a wonderful family.

My Favorites

Again, his acting resume speaks for itself. A legendary "that guy."

But as a child of TV, I have three particularly oddball favorites of his.

1) Supertain - An awful 1980 knockoff of The Love Boat that got cancelled after 9 episodes, was expensive to produce and shows up on any credible "Worst Show Of All Time" list. Basically think The Love Boat on a train. But Ed was first billed and the whole thing was being pushed hard in the 1980 fall tv previews, which were a ridiculously big thing for me.

2) Sears Die Hard commercial - A 1970's classic. Stuff dad (guess who) has a dead car battery and he has to borrow his teenage son's muscle car for a big night out.


3) Paul Lynde Show - I never did see this one but Ed appeared on an episode of the star vehicle for another Bewitched alum, Paul Lynde. For those of you too young to remember, Lynde was the gayest man on television; he made Charles Nelson Reilly look like Robert Mitchum. I just celebrate the premise of this 60's show to make Paul Lynde a straight family man.


My oldest sister died when I was 6. Even at that young age at her memorial service, the weirdness, poor advice and insultingly weak words of encouragement from well wishers was apparent. But I do remember Ed cheering me up, telling me that most people can be full of crap, and that whatever I was feeling was all right.

The other legacy that I didn't really think about til deciding to write this article was that knowing him made show business seems like a business that you could actually go into. If you grow up in rural Ohio or Jackson, Mississippi, the entertainment industry might as well seem like it was taking place on the moon.

But being around a working actor and watching the career and life that he built, trying to be an entertainer just doesn't seem like a novel or weird idea.

Lastly, my dad and I were very close - so somebody being my dad's best friend meant a lot.

Pour one out for my godfather and one of the great "that guys" to have worked in the business.