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The TV careers of Gerald McRaney and James Parker

Their paths parted after ”Simon & Simon,” with McRaney seeing success and Parker seeing mediocrity

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Tom Hanks has Peter Scolari. Penny Marshall has Cindy Williams. And for Gerald McRaney, there’s Jameson Parker. You might remember Parker as the blond half of the cheesy CBS detective show Simon & Simon (1981-88), where he played the white-bread A.J. to McRaney’s grubby Rick. Since the drama departed, McRaney has entered TV’s promised land, but Parker has been sentenced to acting purgatory. Herewith, a tale of two careers.

Gerald McRaney

TV Parenting
Starred in the hit CBS sitcom Major Dad (1989-93) as a gruff-but-lovable military father who spars with his liberal wife.

Was deeply affected by the Persian Gulf War. In 1990, the actor made a USO-sponsored visit to an estimated 35,000 servicemen stationed in Saudi Arabia, where he befriended Gen. ”Stormin”’ Norman Schwarzkopf.

Family Values
A strong supporter of family values, he attended the 1992 Republican National Convention and pals around with former President George Bush.

Campy Costars
Was brought in to revive CBS’ sagging Central Park West (1996), playing a hard-nosed mogul with ’60s sex goddess Raquel Welch.

Road Shows
Stars in Promised Land, a new CBS series about the cross-country travels of a heartland family.

Jameson Parker

TV Parenting
Starred in the tepid ABC movie Have You Seen My Son? (1996) as a gruff-but-unlovable father who spars with his wife and later kidnaps their son.

Was deeply affected by a war with a neighbor. In 1992, after Parker’s dog peed on a nearby lawn, the neighbor made lewd comments to the actor’s wife. In the ensuing confrontation, Parker was shot twice and wounded. The shooter got nine years.

Family Values
Worked for the Family Channel in 1993, giving voice to Sir Kay on The Legend of Prince Valiant, the network’s medieval cartoon series.

Campy Costars
Was brought on board the CBS movie Dead Man’s Island (1996), playing a hard-nosed businessman with over-the-hill ’60s sex goddess Barbara Eden.

Road Shows
Had role in 1995’s Long Road Home, an Afterschool Special about the travels of a teenager and his new stepmom.