Synopsis of TV Show
"Streaks on the china, never mattered before. Who cares?"
To 1980’s sitcom fans, Mr. Belvedere will always be remembered as the affable, portly housekeeper employed by the Owens family on the hit ABC series of the same name. Surprisingly, however, this memorable character got his start in showbiz long before actor Christopher Hewett endeared TV audiences to his dry, British humor and kind, nurturing presence.
Originally the brainchild of Gwen Davenport, Lynn Belvedere first came to life via her novel, Belvedere, which was adapted to the screen as Sitting Pretty in 1948. The film featured Clifton Webb as a pretentious, erudite writer who answers an ad for a live-in babysitter in hopes of using the family’s exploits as fodder for his upcoming novel. Webb then reprised the role in two following films, Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949) and Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell (1951). The popularity of the films incited numerous attempts to bring the concept to television, beginning in the 50’s and 60’s with three unsuccessful pilots. It wasn’t until 1985, however, that ABC finally gave the green light to a promising new show about a typical American family that hires a refined, British butler to look after their home and children…
Co-starring with Christopher Hewett in the title role was boisterous sportscaster Bob Uecker, who played, appropriately, a boisterous sportscaster named George Owens. George and his wife Marsha lived in the small Pittsburgh suburb of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, with their awkward eldest son Kevin, perpetually embarrassed teenaged daughter Heather, and precocious younger son Wesley. George, a self-proclaimed ‘guys guy,’ initially bristled at the notion of hiring a cultured, English housekeeper to manage his family’s affairs. But in spite of himself, George eventually warmed to his live-in help and even grew to be grateful for Mr. Belvedere’s sage wisdom and invaluable advice. Nevertheless, much humor would be mined from the clashing cultures of George and Belvedere’s unlikely friendship.
These same issues further came into play as Mr. Belvedere offered sensible guidance and subtle discipline to the Owens’ three rambunctious children. Wisecracking prankster Wesley, for example, often proved to be more than a handful for a proper English gentleman used to working in the employ of the Royal Family. One episode in particular featured Wesley taking Mr. Belvedere’s priceless Faberge egg (a gift from the Queen herself) and selling it at the family garage sale. Such hijinks were always put into perspective at the end of each show, as Mr. Belvedere was seen writing in his journal accompanied by voice-over narration affirming the valuable life lessons learned by his goofy but well-meaning family.
Throughout the series’ four seasons, George muddled through bouts of unemployment, Marsha went to law school, and Kevin and Heather grew out of their awkward teenage years while Wesley grew into his. Mr. Belvedere finally came to an end in 1990 with a memorable two-part episode (co-directed by ‘Kevin,’ Rob Stone) that saw the title character married off and moving to Africa, ready for his next grand adventure.
Release History of Prime Time Show3/15/85 - 4/26/85 ABC
8/16/85 - 9/11/87 ABC
10/30/87 - 12/16/89 ABC
7/1/90 - 7/8/90 ABC
TV Sub Categoriescomedy
Television Studio20th Century Fox Television
TV CastMr. Lynn Belvedere Christopher Hewett
George Owens Bob Uecker
Marsha Owens Ilene Graff
Kevin Owens Rob Stone
Heather Owens Tracy Wells
Wesley Owens Brice Beckham
Angela (1986-89) Michele Matheson
Carl (1988-89) Willie Garson