The Biggest Stars on TV #3: Ted Danson

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Ted Danson shot to TV stardom with his breakthrough role as bartender Sam Malone on Cheers in 1982…and he’s stayed in the stratosphere ever since.

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The TV personality is unstoppable.

It’s hard to say if the NBC comedy would have become a classic without Danson — and harder to imagine. Think of him as the secret in the sauce, making every show that much better. Take Curb Your Enthusiasm. As a sly version of himself, Danson provided the perfect contrast to Larry David‘s walking ball of anxiety.

In 2011, CBS’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was already a hit. But when Danson joined the cast for its 12th season, even those of us who tend to scoff at procedurals had to check it out.

The Good Place (Credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

So, what is it about the guy? Sure, he’s handsome and has charm to spare. But his real superpower is the versatility of that charm. Whether he’s playing a womanizing, washed-up ballplayer (Cheers), an irredeemable tyrant (Damages) or a boozy magazine editor (Bored to Death), you just can’t help but like him. Even as a demon (on The Good Place), he oozes charm.

It’s no wonder everybody knows his name.

This is an abbreviated version of TV Guide Magazine’s latest cover story. For more, pick up the issue, on newsstands now.