February 28, 2012

Sitcom Moms & Dads: Liz Lemon's Dad

It's time for another installment of Sitcom Moms & Dads, where we talk about the legendary actors who play the parents of our favorite TV characters.  Today, we discuss Liz Lemon's father on 30 Rock, Dick Lemon, who is played by the legendary Buck Henry.  Never heard of him?  Well you're probably familiar with his work without even knowing it.

Buck Henry is probably most famous for two reasons.  First, he co-wrote the screenplay for the classic 1967 comedy film The Graduate starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft.  He also had a cameo in the film as a hotel clerk.  He can be seen around the 1:25 mark.

Buck Henry's other big claim to fame was co-creating the spy comedy TV series Get Smart with Mel Brooks (who wrote and directed the classic comedy films The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and Spaceballs).  The show, which was recently turned into a feature film starring Steve Carell and Anne Bancroft, ran for 5 successful seasons from 1965-1970.  Here is the show's iconic opening theme:

Buck Henry was also a frequent host of the early days of Saturday Night Live.  He has hosted the show 10 times, which is the fourth most of any host (behind only Alec Baldwin's 16, Steve Martin's 15, and John Goodman's 12 hosting gigs).  Here's a sketch from Buck Henry's first hosting gig from season 1 episode 10 of SNL, Samurai Delicatessen.

More recently, Buck Henry has mainly been doing guest appearances on sitcoms.  In the 7th season of Will & Grace, he appeared as the husband of Will's boss, who was very attracted to Grace.  In this clip, he interrupts Will's dinner with his boss, so he can get a paddle for Grace to spank him with.

And lastly, here is Buck Henry as Liz Lemon's father.  He has appeared twice so far, first in the season 2 episode "Ludachristmas", and second in the season 5 episode "Gentleman's Intermission".  In this clip from "Gentleman's Intermission", he stays with Liz for a while as he takes a break from his marriage to Liz's mother, and Jack steps in to help Liz save her parents' marriage.

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