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Top 10 TV Grandpas of All Time

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Some things just get better with age. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 TV grandpas of all time! For this list, we’ve looked at any grandfather figure on TV, live action or animated, that has clear interaction with his grandchildren for much of his time onscreen. Special thanks to our users sarahjessicaparkerth, jf1999 and Tori Imani Ferguson for submitting the idea on our Suggest Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest

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Written by Sean Harris

Top 10 TV Grandpas of All Time

Some things just get better with age. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 TV grandpas of all time!

For this list, we’ve looked at any grandfather figure on TV, live action or animated, that has clear interaction with his grandchildren for much of his time onscreen.

#10: Grandpa Phillip
“Hey Arnold!” (1996-2004)

When you’re a young boy growing up, your head is football-shaped and your brain’s not in the game – a wise ol’ grandpa can really help you out. However, Arnold’s Grandpa Phil doesn’t give the greatest advice. Also, he’s a little silly… but his old heart is firmly in the right place, and if you don’t think his grandson’s the bee’s knees, well, you’re in for it. He’s Arnold’s go-to for the highs and the lows, rights and the wrongs, the birds and the bees. He’s an old-timer and an all-rounder!

#9: Russell Huxtable
“The Cosby Show” (1984-92)

Russell and his wife Anna are the proud heads of a pretty diverse family. Their son is a specialist in all things pregnancy, their daughter-in-law is a lawyer, and they’ve got five grandchildren to contend with. Russell, though, maintains his composure and keeps his cool through all of that. Plus, he’s a musical man – his jazzy back catalogue earned him the nickname ‘Slide’ – and he’s a top ten hit on our list!

#8: Sam Dracula, Count of Transylvania
“The Munsters” (1964-66)

A grandfather is old by definition, but they aren’t usually this old!… Or this inhuman… Count Sam Dracula was born in 1367, he’s been married well over 100 times, and he has his own laboratory in the basement of Munster Mansion. However, with unrivalled age does not come unrivalled wisdom, and Sam’s inventing is often more explosive than he intends it to be – we’ll let him off though… because he’s a vampire…

#7: Robert Jebediah Freeman
“The Boondocks” (2005-)

As guardian of Huey and Riley Freeman, this grandpa really has his work cut out for him! He’s an ex-fighter pilot and a hardened civil rights campaigner; he’s a tough taskmaster, with his grandsons’ interests at heart. There isn’t much that gets past this granddad, and there aren’t many problems where corporal punishment isn’t the answer! He may’ve once sat next to Rosa Parks, but on this list he can take center stage!

#6: Tywin Lannister
“Game of Thrones” (2011-)

For this guy, the family name is everything! Merciless and controlling, Tywin almost single-handedly built up the Lannister reputation, and much of his family is in awe of him for doing so. That being said, the clan is not problem-free – he and his son Tyrion really do not get along. He’s the richest man in the Seven Kingdoms, a war-weary face on wise old shoulders, and a top contender in this epic Game of Granddads.

#5: Cotton Hill
“King of the Hill” (1997-2010)

Colonel Cotton Hill was a patriotic war vet, a rampant misogynist, and occasionally a near-homicidal maniac. He loved his grandson, Bobby, more than he ever loved his actual son, Hank, and he never really got over losing his shins in World War II. He led an up and down life, but he’s made it to the midpoint of our list because of his love for his grandchild – hey, even resentful, abusive chauvinists have feelings somewhere!

#4: Jay Pritchett
“Modern Family” (2009-)

He’s the superglue that holds this sticky family together – just about! From the top of a very convoluted family tree, Jay Pritchett maintains tradition (and his dignity), while also proving he’s able to modernize alongside the younger generations. There are some things… many things… that occur on this TV show, that the head of its table just can’t comprehend… but he’s a 21st century senior, and he’s a loveable, laughable, legendary gramps!

#3: George Bluth Sr.
“Arrested Development” (2003-06; 2013)

‘Pop Pop,’ as he is affectionately known by his grandchildren, is about as unlawful as a grandpa can possibly be. In his heyday, he made millions selling real estate… But unfortunately Saddam Hussein was one of his best customers. ‘Arrested Development’ follows Bluth Sr. through various stages of imprisonment, and depicts his sketchy family relationships, questionable religious conversions, and dodgy fashion statements! Despite all of this, he’s added our bronze medal to the Bluth mantelpiece.

#2: Abraham Simpson
“The Simpsons” (1989-)

As far as TV grandpas are concerned, there are few that are as long serving, or as well loved as Abe Simpson. Grandfather to Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, Grandpa Simpson is the hard-of-hearing, always sleeping, often confused, but sometimes surprising senior patriarch of television’s favorite cartoon family. He was married to a hippie, he was in the army with Mr. Burns, and he had an affair with his son’s wife’s mother. It’s been a colorful life for this yellow old-timer!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Zeb Walton “The Waltons” (1972-81)
- Mike Ehrmantraut “Breaking Bad” (2008-13)
- Grandpa Smurf “The Smurfs” (1981-89)
- Zeek Braverman “Parenthood” (2010-)
- Jack Geller “Friends” (1994-2004)

#1: Frank Barone
“Everybody Loves Raymond” (1996-2005)

‘Holy Crap’! He’s the granddaddy of them all! Everybody loves Raymond, but we’ve also got a soft spot for his father, Frank! A real man’s man, he’s outspoken and often outrageous; he’s stubborn, but sometimes sensitive. He’s the type of grandfather that’ll discipline the kids in the morning, and take them to ‘Happy Zone’ in the afternoon. He won’t like to admit it, but there’s a heart of gold in there somewhere – which is convenient, because he’s taken first place!

Do you agree with our list? Which golden oldie did we forget? For more vintage Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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