Jack Dodson (John S. Dodson)

Jack Dodson

Jack Dodson (May 16, 1931 – September 16, 1994) (born John S. Dodson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) was an American television actor best remembered for the milquetoast character Howard Sprague in 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.  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, The Virginian, Maude, Barney Miller, Welcome Back Kotter, Archie Bunker’s Place, Newhart, Mr. Belvedere, Matlock, Mama’s Family, and St. Elsewhere.

The actor appeared as an airplane passenger caught up in a murder plot in a 1973 episode of Hawaii 5-0. 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. Dodson also appeared in two Sam Peckinpah films, The Getaway and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. He also had a small role in the 1974 film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, which starred Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges.  In the late 1970s, he had a recurring role as Mickey Malph, Ralph Malph’s optometrist dad on Happy Days. A guest appearance on Barney Miller (in the two-part episode “Homicide” in Season 7) had Dodson in a twist on his Mayberry role- as a mild-mannered, blood-thirsty killer. 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 1985, 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”. He died in Los Angeles, California, from heart failure, aged 63.


  • May, 16, 1931
  • USA
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


  • September, 16, 1994
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • heart failure


  • Cremated

4586 profile views