Actor Jack Dodson

John Smeaton “Jack” Dodson (May 16, 1931 – September 16, 1994) was an American television actor best remembered for the milquetoast character Howard Sprague on The Andy Griffith Show and its spin-off Mayberry R.F.D. From 1959 until his death in 1994, Dodson was married to television art director Mary Dodson.


In 1966, Andy Griffith hired Dodson for the Howard Sprague role, having previously seen him in Broadway’s Hughie. Dodson also portrayed insurance agent Ed Jenkins in the “Lost and Found” episode of The Andy Griffith Show. Dodson also appeared in episodes of My Friend Flicka, Hazel, The Virginian, Maude, Barney Miller (four episodes), Welcome Back Kotter, Archie Bunker’s Place, Newhart, Mr. Belvedere, Matlock, Mama’s Family, and St. Elsewhere, on which he had a recurring role.

Dodson appeared as an airplane passenger caught up in a murder plot in a 1973 episode of Hawaii Five-0. In 1967, Dodson appeared in the episode “A Mighty Hunter Before the Lord” of NBC’s The Road West, which aired opposite The Andy Griffith Show. He played Norman Gresham in the 1969 film Angel in My Pocket, and also appeared in two Sam Peckinpah films, The Getaway (1972) and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973). He also had a small role in the 1974 film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, which starred Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges. His other film appearances included roles in Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) and A Climate for Killing (1991).

In the late 1970s, he had a recurring role as Mickey Malph, Ralph Malph’s optometrist father on Happy Days.

In 1975 he was in the Barney Miller episode “Horse Thief”. In 1979–80, Season 6, he appeared in the episode “Guns”. He appeared again on Barney Miller in the two-part episode “Homicide” in Season 7.

Dodson appeared in all 24 episodes of the CBS romantic sitcom All’s Fair during the 1976-77 season. Set in Washington, D.C., Dodson played Wayne Joplin, a slightly bumbling Democratic senator from an unspecified rural state. The show lasted just one season.

In January 1979, Dodson played Bernie, a hard of hearing acquaintance of Mark (David Spielberg), in a comic scene set in a restaurant in One Day at a Time.

In 1983, Dodson returned to Broadway in the revival of You Can’t Take It with You. The actor reprised Howard Sprague in the 1986 NBC-TV movie Return to Mayberry, as well as in a 1990 episode of It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, “The Day Howard Moved In”.

In 1986, Dodson appeared as Gus, a bus depot attendant, in the Steal One Pearl Two episode of Mama’s Family.

Personal life

He died in Los Angeles, California, from heart failure, aged 63, on September 16, 1994.

Dodson’s widow, art director Mary Dodson, younger sister of actor Fritz Weaver, died in February 2016.

Filmography & Television

Year Title Role Notes
1963 Car 54, Where Are You? Workman (uncredited) 1 Episode
1965 Hazel Grouchy open house looker (uncredited) 1 Episode
1965 Peyton Place Al Pearson 1 Episode
1965 The Wackiest Ship in the Army Commander Judd 1 Episode
1966 Munster, Go Home! Second Ship Steward Uncredited
1966 The Fugitive Lieutenant 1 Episode
1966 The Virginian Henry Brodie 1 Episode
1966-68 The Andy Griffith Show Howard Sprague 43 Episodes
1967 The Road West Jack Hanson 1 Episode
1968-71 Mayberry R.F.D. Howard Sprague 71 Episodes
1969 Angel in My Pocket Norman Gresham Movie
1971 Room 222 Mr. Casey 1 Episode
1972 Emergency! George 1 Episode
1972 The Doris Day Show Henry Thurston 1 Episode
1972 The Getaway Harold Clinton Movie
1972 The Jimmy Stewart Show Holly 1 Episode
1973 Hawaii Five-O Will Rowan 1 Episode
1973 Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid Howland Movie
1974 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Vault Manager Movie
1975 Adams of Eagle Lake Doc Russell 2 Episodes
1975 Barney Miller Mr. Franklin 1 Episode
1975 The Manhunter Judge Corman 1 Episode
1976 Maude Floyd Hathaway 1 Episode
1976 The Nancy Walker Show Ed Greenburger 1 Episode
1976 The Practice Dr. Gardner 1 Episode
1976-77 All’s Fair Senator Wayne Joplin 24 Episodes
1976-80 Happy Days Dr. Mickey Malph 3 Episodes
1977 CPO Sharkey Dr. Savage 1 Episode
1977 Maude Rev. Harper 1 Episode
1977 Walkin’ Walter Wendell Henderson
1977 Welcome Back, Kotter Mr. Hansen 1 Episode
1978 A.E.S. Hudson Street Coody 1 Episode
1978 Carter Country Ludlow 1 Episode
1978 In the Beginning Msgr. Francis X. Barlow 14 Episodes
1978 Police Story Osburn Parker 1 Episode
1978 Snavely Mr. Bishop TV Movie
1979 13 Queens Boulevard Mr. Sloan 1 Episode
1979-80 Sesame Street Man in Letter U Cartoon Voice
1979-83 One Day at a Time Mr. Reed / Bernie 2 Episodes
1980 Archie Bunker’s Place Tom 1 Episode
1980 Barney Miller Henry St. Martin / Mr. Vogel 3 Episodes
1980 Benson Major 1 Episode
1980 Lou Grant Walter Parrott 1 Episode
1980 Mork & Mindy Ricky 1 Episode
1980 Phyl & Mikhy Edgar ‘Truck’ Morley 11 Episodes
1981 Broadway on Showtime Charlie Hughes 1 Episode
1981 Quincy M.E. Mr. Barswell 1 Episode
1982 Benson Mac McFadden 1 Episode
1982 Million Dollar Infield Chuck TV movie
1982 Newhart Mr. Shaver 1 Episode
1983 Something Wicked This Way Comes Dr. Douglas Movie
1984 American Playhouse F. Edward Hebert / Charlie Hughes 2 Episodes
1984 Gimme a Break! Principal Smythe 1 Episode
1984 Great Performances Paul Sycamore 1 Episode
1984-88 St. Elsewhere Judge Farnham 12 Episodes
1985 Cagney & Lacey Bill Carstairs 1 Episode
1986 Benson Senator Chapman 1 Episode
1986 Mama’s Family Gus 1 Episode
1986 Return to Mayberry Howard Sprague TV Movie
1986-89 Mr. Belvedere Carl Putnam 4 Episodes
1987 L.A. Law Bradford Fredericks
1987 Night Court Uncredited
1987 The New Leave It to Beaver Dr. Harold Warren
1988 Duet Walter Johnson 1 Episode
1989 Just the Ten of Us Burt 2 Episodes
1989 Matlock William Austin 1 Episode
1990 Growing Pains Judge Herman 1 Episode
1990 It’s Garry Shandling’s Show Howard Sprague 1 Episode
1991 A Climate for Killing Sam Moorehouse
1992-93 Homefront Mr. Melon 12 Episodes
1997 Homefront Mr. Melon 1 Episode (after his death)

External Links

Actor Jack Dodson – Wikipedia

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