Well, it’s been a big week for Growing Pains news. Unfortunately, this latest development is of the sadder variety, as we’ve lost another member of the Growing Pains family. It was announced today that veteran actor, Bill Erwin passed away at his home on December 28th, at the admirable age of 96. You may know him best as Sid Fields from Seinfeld, the old man whom Jerry volunteers to assist, a role for which Erwin was nominated for an Emmy. However, long before Seinfeld, Erwin had already made an indelible mark on us from his many appearances on Growing Pains. Over six seasons Erwin appeared on the sitcom eight different times as seven different characters, from Buzz the plumber to Lloyd the fumigator to the school janitor (he was the go-to old man for thankless blue-collar jobs, evidently). He was like Bruce Willis in North, or Rachel Dratch in the first season of 30 Rock, there whenever the Seavers needed him, in whatever guise was most appropriate. We’ve seen him in many roles since then, some he shot after, some he shot before, but, to us, he’ll always be the old man from Growing Pains.
And here he is as Bubs the mechanic, from the Growing Pains meta-episode “Meet the Seavers:”
And if you watched Home Alone over Christmas (like we did a couple of times) you might also recognize Erwin as the old man in the Scranton airport who refuses to give up his plane tickets to Mrs. McCallister:
TV and film just lost a good one, that’s for sure.
[btw, not to be confused with Bill Irwin]