John Smeaton "Jack" Dodson[1] (May 16, 1931 – September 16, 1994) was an American television actor best remembered for the milquetoast character Howard Sprague on The Andy Griffith Show and its spin-off Mayberry R.F.D. From 1959 until his death in 1994, Dodson was married to television art director Mary Dodson.[2]

Jack Dodson
Howard 01.jpg
Dodson as Howard Sprague on The Andy Griffith Show
John Smeaton Dodson

(1931-05-16)May 16, 1931
DiedSeptember 16, 1994(1994-09-16) (aged 63)
Years active1960–1994
Spouse(s)Mary Dodson (1959–1994; his death)


In 1966, Andy Griffith hired Dodson for the Howard Sprague role, having previously seen him in Broadway's Hughie. Dodson also portrayed insurance agent Ed Jenkins in the "Lost and Found" episode of The Andy Griffith Show. Dodson also appeared in episodes of My Friend Flicka, Hazel, The Virginian, Maude, Barney Miller, Welcome Back Kotter, Archie Bunker's Place, Newhart, Mr. Belvedere, Matlock, Mama's Family, and St. Elsewhere, on which he had a recurring role.

Dodson appeared as an airplane passenger caught up in a murder plot in a 1973 episode of Hawaii Five-0. In 1967, Dodson appeared in the episode "A Mighty Hunter Before the Lord" of NBC's The Road West, which aired opposite The Andy Griffith Show. He played Norman Gresham in the 1969 film Angel in My Pocket, and also appeared in two Sam Peckinpah films, The Getaway (1972) and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973). He also had a small role in the 1974 film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, which starred Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges. His other film appearances included roles in Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983) and A Climate for Killing (1991).

In the late 1970s, he had a recurring role as Mickey Malph, Ralph Malph's optometrist father on Happy Days.

In 1975 he was in the Barney Miller episode "Horse Thief". In 1979–80, Season 6 of Barney Miller, he appeared in the episode "Guns". He appeared again on Barney Miller in the two-part episode "Homicide" in Season 7.

In January 1979, Dodson played Bernie, a hard of hearing acquaintance of Mark (David Spielberg), in a comic scene set in a restaurant in One Day at a Time.

In 1983, Dodson returned to Broadway in the revival of You Can't Take It with You. The actor reprised Howard Sprague in the 1986 NBC-TV movie Return to Mayberry, as well as in a 1990 episode of It's Garry Shandling's Show, "The Day Howard Moved In".

In 1986, Dodson appeared as Gus, a bus depot attendant, in the Steal One Pearl Two episode of [["Mama's Family."]]

Personal lifeEdit

He died in Los Angeles, California, from heart failure, aged 63.

Dodson's widow, art director Mary Dodson, younger sister of actor Fritz Weaver, died in February 2016.[2] They had two daughters.


Year Title Role Notes
1966 Munster, Go Home! Ship Steward Uncredited
1969 Angel in My Pocket Norman Gresham
1972 The Getaway Harold Clinton
1973 Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid Howland
1974 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Vault Manager
1983 Something Wicked This Way Comes Dr. Douglas
1991 A Climate for Killing Sam Moorehouse


  1. ^ "Jack Dodson". IMDb. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Barnes, Mike (February 21, 2016). "Mary Weaver Dodson, Art Director on 'Murder, She Wrote,' Dies at 83". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 13, 2016.

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