Top TV Redheads of All Time
by Kim Potts, posted Nov 4th 2010 1:00PM
Eric Cartman may hate "gingers," but the rest of us know that the redheads in TV land are some of the greatest stars in tube history. In honor of Conan O'Brien's return to late night on Nov. 8 -- yes, spoiler, he made our list -- here are our picks for the top 22 TV redheads of all time:
22. Kevin McKidd
'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Rome' and 'Journeyman'
In the red: The Scottish hunk makes the list for that very reason ... unlike many of his fellow redheaded male TV brethren, McKidd isn't stereotyped into character actor or sidekick-y roles; he's arguably also one of the sexiest actors in recent primetime history, whether playing Roman soldier Lucius Vorenus or Seattle Grace's newest McHottie, Dr. Owen Hunt.
21. Bonnie Franklin
'One Day at a Time'
In the red: Freckle-faced, flame-haired and feisty, divorced mom of two teens Ann Romano was a nice woman ... unless you got all up in her Kool-Aid. Then she turned into a hot-tempered mama who would give as good as she got, whether it involved her pushy ex-husband Ed, her buttinsky building super Schneider or her chauvinist boss, who liked fun at her feminist ways by referring to her as "M.S. Romano."
20. Seth Green
'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
In the red: Why does he make the list? Only because he gets our vote as the most adorkable of all male celeb redheads. And in case that needs explanation, his role as 'Buffy' werewolf Oz made him both adorable and dorky in our eyes, and his on-screen pairing with fellow redhead Alyson Hannigan, as Buffy's BFF Willow, always made us wish they were a real-life couple, too.
19. Gillian Anderson
In the red: Not to crush the dreams of a whole lotta Dana Scully-loving guys, but it's true: Anderson is not a natural redhead. "No, no, mousy blonde with highlights," she told the U.K. version of Vogue magazine in 2006. But we'll bet redheads everywhere will happily continue to claim her amongst their ranks, as both Scully and Anderson remain on the list of TV's smartest and sexiest characters and actresses ever.
18. Alyson Hannigan
'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'How I Met Your Mother'
In the red: She says her natural hair color is more of an auburn-y brown, but we're guessing 'Buffy' and 'HIMYM' fans will always remember her as geeky redhead Willow or sassy ginger Lily. Oh, and speaking of ginger, two redhead-related facts we love about her: 1) She was paired, of course, with fellow redhead Seth Green on 'Buffy' and 2) She once dated Marilyn Manson drummer Ginger Fish.
17. Marilu Henner
In the red: She was hilarious, smart and sassy as redheaded New York cab driver Elaine on 'Taxi' and also played Burt Reynolds' red(head) hot wife on the CBS sitcom 'Evening Shade.' The University of Chicago alum also hosted her own daytime talk show in 1994, and has devoted herself to helping others live healthier lifestyles with a series of bestselling nutrition books and workout videos.
16. Kate Walsh
'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Private Practice'
In the red: In Touch Weekly's readers voted her as Hollywood's Hottest Redhead in 2007, which should come as no surprise from woman who was once married to a dude named McDreamy. Walsh also gets extra credit for being a self-chosen redhead ... after a trip to the hair salon this summer, she proudly Tweeted, "Real boobs, real skin, fake red hair. LOL!"
15. Donny Most
In the red: Most's Ralph Malph, the other 'Happy Days' redhead, had a whole bag of tricks as Jefferson High's resident class clown, including joy buzzers, Groucho glasses, whoopie cushions and, of course, his brightly-colored hair. Trivia: Most originally auditioned for the role of Potsie, but lost out because the aforementioned redheaded Ron Howard had already been cast as Richie, and producers didn't want two gingers on the show. But Most so impressed producer Garry Marshall that he decided to cast him anyway, as Ralph, a dumb jock character who was turned into the class clown to take advantage of Most's comedic skills.
14. Marcia Cross
'Desperate Housewives' and 'Melrose Place'
In the red: Whether playing crazy and infamously ripping her red hair off as doctor Kimberly on 'Melrose Place' (one of the greatest moments in TV history, of course) or putting it up in a tightly-wound bun while playing perfectionist homemaker Bree on 'DH,' Cross has made the most of her red locks, and, if you believe a TMZ story from 2006, naked photos allegedly found in Cross' garbage suggest she's a natural redhead.
13. Christina Hendricks
In the red: Her fabulous hourglass figure and bright red hair make up her va-va-va-voom image, but the best reason to include the Emmy-nominated star on our TV redheads list? She actually chose her hair color, and has been rocking it since she was 10-years-old. "I was obsessed with the Canadian novel 'Anne of Green Gables,' so my mother said, 'Let's just go to the drugstore and get one of those cover-the-gray rinses!' My hair was very blond at the time, but it went carrot red. And I was over the moon," she told the LA Times Magazine earlier this year.
12. Sharon Osbourne
'The Osbournes,' 'America's Got Talent' and 'The Talk'
In the red: She's the epitome of the fiery redhead, as hubby Ozzy's manager, as an 'AGT' judge, as one of the stars of the new 'View'-ish daytime chat show 'The Talk' and as the protective mother of fellow reality stars Kelly and Jack. Funny, powerful, smart, sexy, sometimes sweet and always ready with a quip, Mrs. O is the celeb redhead we'd most want to make our own red hot mama.
11. Cynthia Nixon
'Sex and the City'
In the red: She wasn't the over-the-top sexpot, the ever-optimistic trophy wife or the fashion-obsessed career girl, but redhead Nixon brought the comedy, the drama and yes, the sexy, as 'SATC' attorney Miranda, Carrie Bradshaw's pragmatic pal who could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, raise a baby as a single mom and hold her friends' hands through their most heartbreaking ups and downs.
10. David Caruso
'NYPD Blue' and 'CSI: Miami'
In the red: He's known for a few things: Being the guy who, some would say foolishly, quit a hit show -- 'NYPD Blue' -- after just a few episodes into the second season for what he thought was a sure-thing big-screen career (it, mostly, wasn't); whipping off those shades and spouting one-liners as 'CSI: Miami' Lt. Horatio Crane; and, of course, for his always meticulously coifed red hair.
9. Katey Sagal
'Married ... With Children'
In the red: She's got purple hair as 'Futurama's' Leela, and caramel-colored streaks as fierce mama Gemma on 'Sons of Anarchy,' but Sagal first won over primetime fans as Peggy Bundy, the bon-bon-eatin' housewife whose tomato red bouffant hairdo was as tall and teased as her pants were tight. Kinda sexy, kinda kooky and a whole lot hilarious, Peggy could still get hubby Al's heart racin', even though he would fight tooth and nail to deny it was so.
8. Danny Bonaduce
'The Partridge Family'
In the red: The former child star has lived up to all the redheaded stereotypes, as the funny, fast-talkin', wisecrackin' Danny Partridge and as the fiery adult viewers later saw on the intense reality drama 'Breaking Bonaduce.' Despite years of ups and downs that have included drug abuse and a brief period of homelessness, the 51-year-old actor, and now drive-time DJ in Philadelphia, has maintained his fluffy head full of, yes, still-red hair.
7. Kathy Griffin
'Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List'
In the red: Love her or hate her -- and we definitely, definitely fall into the former group -- Griffin is one of the most successful, enduring redheaded comediennes, despite her continued claims that she's a D-lister. No one can so pithily express what we're all thinking about celebrity bad behavior like the flame-haired, outrageous funny woman, though we have to admit, we were a little worried we were going to get firsthand proof that she's a natural redhead during her infamous public pap smear.
6. Tina Louise
'Gilligan's Island' and 'Dallas'
In the red: She was the "movie star" referred to in the 'Gilligan's' theme song and J.R.'s secretary, Julie Gray, on 'Dallas,' and both roles made use of her red hair to show off her characters' sexiness. And, after all, her 'Gilligan's Island' character was called Ginger Grant, which would be enough to earn her a prime spot on our list of the best primetime gingers, but she also inspired one of the great male personality test questions of all time: "Are you a Mary Ann or a Ginger?"
5. Debra Messing
'Will & Grace'
In the red: If ever there was a contender for the title of "The Next Lucy," it's Messing, whose scattered redhead Grace Adler was Lucy Ricardo-like in her daffiness and gift for physical comedy. Messing's also a beautiful redhead, like Lucy, but the funny ladies' true gifts are their skills in making us laugh.
4. Carol Burnett
'The Carol Burnett Show'
In the red: Hands down one of the funniest women in TV history, Burnett's trademarks include her end-of-the-show ear tug on her classic variety series, and, of course, her bright orange-red hair. Not surprisingly, her mentor was another redheaded funny lady, or rather, the redheaded funny lady: Lucille Ball, who befriended Burnett when she guest starred on Ball's 'The Lucy Show.' Later this TV season, Burnett makes a guest appearance with another great funny lady when she appears as Sue Sylvester's (Jane Lynch) mom on 'Glee.'
3. Ron Howard
'Happy Days' and 'The Andy Griffith Show'
In the red: He may have a bit less of it these days, but it's the Emmy and Oscar winner's red hair that makes his famous face look like it hasn't aged all the much since he went fishing with TV dad Andy or since his 'Happy Days' BFF The Fonz affectionately referred to him as "Red." Ayyyyyyy!
2. Conan O'Brien
'Conan' and 'Late Night with Conan O'Brien' (and 'The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien' ... Sorta)
In the red: To be fair, it's not just the red hair ... the color would be nothing without the pompadour, but together, they make up the most celebrated dude ginger head on TV. Sure, the source of Conan's funny comes from what's under the orange-y red locks, but if we were him, we'd never crop that 'do too close to the scalp, just to be sure.
1. Lucille Ball
'I Love Lucy'
In the red: She's been called "America's favorite redhead," and it's tough to think of another celeb more associated with her hair hue than Lucy was. The Emmy-winning legend embraced her look, too, famously saying, "Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead."
Did we miss your favorite TV redhead?