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How Ted Danson Changed TV

At 69, the actor is still a star — and his work has made a difference

  • Ted Danson on 'Cheers'
    NBC/Getty Images

    He Launched 'Must-See TV'

    By anchoring NBC’s Thursday night lineup, Cheers nurtured great comedies like The Cosby ShowSeinfeld, and Frasier. In this 1985 episode, Ted Danson is surrounded by fellow cast members. From left: Woody Harrelson as Woody Boyd, Danson as Sam Malone, John Ratzenberger as Cliff Clavin, Rhea Perlman as Carla Tortelli and George Wendt as Norm Peterson.

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  • Larry David, Cheryl Hines and Ted Danson on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
    Courtesy of HBO

    He Made Self-Parody Into Hip Comedy

    Think Louis C.K. in Louie, Matt LeBlanc in Episodes and everyone — including Danson — in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Here he appeared with Larry David and Cheryl Hines.

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  • Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
    Sonja Flemming/CBS/Getty Images

    He Sparked TV’s Platinum Age

    Danson starred in FX’s Damages, one of the first regular cable shows to challenge HBO with its dramatic excellence. He then kept police procedurals smart with two CSI shows.

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  • A middle aged caucasian couple look at a map outdoors with text that reads keep life fun and your calendar full.

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  • Ted and his wife Mary with children Kate and Charlie
    Craig Barritt/Getty Images

    He's a Family Man

    Danson and his wife, Mary Steenburgen, and children Kate and Charlie, attend the Snow Lodge x Eveleigh Host "The One I Love" party in Park City, Utah, in 2014.

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  • Ted Danson at the 7th Annual Oceana's Annual SeaChange Summer Party
    Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

    He Helps Others

    Danson is an active board member at Oceana. He attended the 2014 Oceana's SeaChange summer party in Laguna Beach, Calif. His organization has protected more than 1 million square miles of open sea.

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  • Entertainment End-Slide
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