By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated December 03, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Bill Bixby’s long TV career was a lesson in the enduring appeal of good- natured decency. He befriended an alien on CBS’ My Favorite Martian (1963-66) when he could have kicked cranky Ray Walston out of the house. He raised a son as a single dad on ABC’s The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1969-72). He crusaded for human rights on NBC’s The Magician (1973-74). And he felt really awful whenever he had to mutate into his alter ego on CBS’ Incredible Hulk (1978-82). By the time of his death from cancer on Nov. 21, at age 59, Bixby was known more for the details of his personal life (he sought experimental drugs to fight his illness; he married his third wife, Judith Kliban, on Oct. 3) than for his talents. But even in sickness, he exemplified optimism: He was the primary director of NBC’s hit Blossom, about a sassy young woman who looks at life as an adventure-a show about hopefulness from a man who never lost his. -Lisa Schwarzbaum