Denver Pyle Was Only Two Years Older than His Fictional Daughter on One Show

by Chris Haney

Oddly enough, actor Denver Pyle, who was cast to play Doris Day’s father on The Doris Day Show, was just two years older than his on-screen daughter.

Day and Pyle both starred on the sitcom that ran for five years from 1968 to 1973. When the show first aired, Day was 46 years old, while Pyle was 48. In the show’s defense, Day looked younger than her age and Pyle looked much older, especially with his full white beard.

Denver Pyle played numerous roles on television during his long Hollywood career. He’s most known for being one of the industry’s finest character actors during his time. He starred on multiple hit shows, not just The Doris Day Show. They included parts in Bonanza, The Dukes of Hazzard, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, The Andy Griffith Show and many more.

However, Pyle’s acting career almost never saw the light of day. After graduating high school, he went to the University of Colorado and studied to become a lawyer. The future Hollywood star eventually realized a law degree wasn’t what he was looking for in life. Therefore after returning home and then traveling around for a while, he finally turned to acting. Considering he received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997, he obviously made the correct career choice.

Denver Pyle Wanted to ‘Get the Girl’ Just Once During His Career

Although Denver Pyle had a lengthy and productive Hollywood career, he was rarely cast as a leading man. He was often cast as the antagonist or a secondary character that never ended up with the leading lady.

Even as the pure and lovable Briscoe Darling on The Andy Griffith Show, Pyle couldn’t get the girl. For example, he confused Aunt Bee‘s kindness with affection on an episode titled “Briscoe Declares for Aunt Bee.” Even though Darling serenaded Aunt Bee with all his heart, she still rejected his advances. It’s just one of many on-screen examples as to why Pyle wished he could be the protagonist at least once in his career.

“They talk about ‘overexposure’ among actors,” Pyle said, according to a MeTV article. “Me, if I don’t work, in a few weeks I get restless. I’m very good for half-hour TV films. Minute they see my face, people know my character — a slick heavy, a nasty heavy, a heavy heavy. One thing they know, I won’t get the girl. Just once I’d like to get the girl. But it’s been so long I’ve forgotten what I’d do anyway.”

Pyle had bit roles on countless TV shows for decades, and became a well-respected working actor during his day. He enjoyed his roles and his work within Hollywood. Additionally, he said he never received one bad review from critics. The actor joked that’s the advantage of never playing “the hero.”

“Not once in my life have I ever been rapped by a critic,” he explained. “If the thing bombs, it’s the hero’s fault. If it’s good, then they say, boy, he sure had good support from people like Denver Pyle.”