Bernie Kopell is 80 years old today!

get smartBernard Morton “Bernie” Kopell
[1] (born June 21, 1933) is an American character actor best known for his role as Dr. Adam Bricker (“Doc”) opposite Gavin MacLeod‘s character, in ABC‘s The Love Boat from 1977 to 1987.

Kopell’s longest-running role by far was as Dr. Adam Bricker on The Love Boat, an Aaron Spelling production. The character was almost always referred to as “Doc”. Kopell remained on the series during its entire run, appearing in 250 episodes.[2]

Before becoming so well-known for his The Love Boat role, Kopell appeared in many television series, often sitcoms. He appeared on Green Acres,Our Man HigginsThe Flying NunBen CaseyMy Favorite MartianPetticoat JunctionThe Streets of San FranciscoRoom 222The Mary Tyler Moore Show (where he met his future Love Boat star, Gavin MacLeod) and Kojak. Kopell made memorable recurring appearances as KAOS agent Siegfried in Get Smart, Alan-a-Dale in When Things Were Rotten, Jerry Bauman in That Girl and Louie Pallucci in The Doris Day Show. He played several characters on Bewitched including the witches’ apothecary and the warlock Alonzo in “The Warlock in the Gray Flannel Suit” (Episode 239). He portrayed a plastic surgeon who gave Ed Brown a facelift on Chico and the Man. He played a director in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents(“Good-Bye George,” original air date December 13, 1963). About this same time, he guest starred on Phil Silvers‘s unsuccessful CBS sitcom The New Phil Silvers Show.

After The Love Boat, Kopell was so recognizable that he was not in roles often without a nod to his famous role. He appears as a coroner in “Which Prue is it Anyway”, an episode of Charmed. Kopell appears in the Monk episode “Mr. Monk and the Critic”, playing Mr. Gilson, the restroom attendant. Kopell guest starred in “Pinky”, a 2009 episode of My Name is Earl.[3] He makes acameo as a patient in the Scrubs episode “My Friend the Doctor“, as well as an episode of the Disney Channel Original Series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. In a dream sequence of Fresh Prince of Bel Air Kopell made a parody cameo of himself as an actor who played a ship’s doctor so many times he offers to perform an operation for real, while in a 1994 episode of Saturday Night Live he appeared as “Doc” during a Love Boat-themed spoof of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the 1995 Fox Network Get Smart series, Max’s son (played by Andy Dick) meets Siegfried’s daughter. When the young Smart tells how his dad always told him that he was a greeting card salesman, Siegfried’s daughter replies, “My dad always had me believing he was a doctor on a cruise ship.” Kopell made a cameo appearance in the 2008 film adaptation of Get Smart.

Kopell’s role as Doc on The Love Boat was parodied in a humorous appearance on Late Show with David Letterman in 1995. Two entries in that night’s Top Ten List poked fun at The Love Boat, and at the Doc character specifically. The camera cut to Kopell, who was sitting in the audience, and he stormed out of the theater.[4][5] A few moments later, he was shown having been reseated in the mezzanine when the second parody was made at his expense, and again stood up, raised his fists and stormed out, obviously playing along with the host.

Some of his most recent work has been in television advertisements for Nasalcrom, carefully enunciating the product’s name and assuring viewers “that’s right, it’s a spray”.

Kopell has performed in the theater and played the lead role in the off-Broadway production of Viagra Falls in 2010.


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