Ken Howard, born on March 28, 1944 in El Centro, California, is a Tony-winning actor who is best known for his role in the television show "The White Shadow" as basketball coach and former Chicago Bulls player, Ken Reeves.
Howard left the Yale School of Drama in 1967 to take a bit part in the Broadway musical "Promises, Promises". By 1969, he had won a Theatre World Award for his work as Thomas Jefferson in the acclaimed musical "1776", a role he reprised in the 1972 film version. Howard won a 1970 Tony Award for his performance in the thriller "Child's Play" and played Jerry Ryan opposite Michele Lee's Gittel Mosca in "Seesaw" in 1973.
By then, Hollywood had caught up to him. Howard made his screen debut as Arthur, the sort-of-epileptic member of a trio of friends including Liza Minnelli and Robert Moore in "Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon" (1970). Although he followed with "Such Good Friends" (1971), he never really became an established presence in features. In 1973, he went to Hollywood to play the Spencer Tracy role opposite Blythe Danner in the Katherine Hepburn part in a sitcom version of "Adam's Rib". The show flopped and Howard was back on stage soon after, but he had another go as an action hero in "Manhunter" (1974-75).
Three years later, he finally clicked in a series portraying Ken Reeves, an injured pro basketball player who becomes the high school coach of a racially mixed team, in "The White Shadow". The series ran on CBS for two and a half seasons (1978-81) and while never a mega-hit, it was said to be a personal favorite of CBS chair William S Paley. When it was canceled, Howard appeared in the miniseries, "Rage of Angels" (1983) and "The Thorn Birds" (1983) before trying series again, this time with the short-lived sitcom, "It's Not Easy" (1983), about the extended families of divorce. In 1985-86, Howard was on both ABC series "Dynasty" and "The Colbys" for one season as Garrett Boydston. By 1986, he was hosting the syndicated beauty pageant series "Dream Girl USA."
Howard subsequently became far more selective in his work appearing in TV-movies like "Damien: The Leper Priest" (1980) as well as "Murder in New Hampshire: The Pamela Smart Story" (1991). In the former he played the title role, while in the latter he was Helen Hunt's father-in-law, correctly convinced she was behind the murder of his son. Howard also hosted the reality series "What Happened?" (1992-1993).
After little feature film work in the 80s, Howard returned to the big screen as a character player in the 90s. He co-wrote and also co-produced the independent "Challenge the Wind" (1990) and was one of a host of "stars" in support of Sylvester Stallone in the bomb "Oscar" (1991). More recently, he was one of the nefarious blackmailers of Sandra Bullock in "The Net" (1995).
He also played the retired policeman/bar owner father of Jill Hennesey's title character in the NBC series, "Crossing Jordan" (2001-2003). He recently appeared in "Cane" (2007) and "30 Rock" (2010-2011).
He has been married to Linda Fetters, a stuntwoman, since 1992. Prior to that he was married to Margo Coleman, known professionally as Margo Howard, the daughter of the late Ann Landers, from 1977 to 1991, and before that to TV soap opera actress, Louise Sorel, from 1973 to 1976, when they divorced.
Sadly, he passed away on March 23, 2016.