The New York Post wrote an extensive retrospective on the 40th anniversary of the television drama “The White Shadow,” the brainchild and one the most famous roles of the late Ken Howard ’66.
Howard himself earned the nickname “The White Shadow” from his teammates at Long Island’s Manhasset High School in the mid-1960s, being their lone white starter. Years later, he would pitch an idea based on his former Manhasset coach and mentor, Fritz Mueller, to television producer Bruce Paltrow (husband of actress Blythe Danner, and father of actress Gwyneth Paltrow). The show ran on CBS for just three seasons, 1978 to 1981, but made a long-lasting impact.
“Long before a recent generation of sports fans enjoyed and devoured “Friday Night Lights,” viewers were introduced each week to Coach Reeves and Ms. Buchanan, Coolidge and Salami, Thorpe and Hayward, Go-Go and Goldstein, and the myriad problems they and their families encountered with drugs and teen pregnancy and domestic violence and countless other issues involving their personal lives in inner-city LA,” the Post wrote.
Howard “never got tired of being associated with something that was so positive and thought-provoking and ahead of its time and meant so much to people. The fact that people are still talking about it 40 years later really says so much,” his wife Linda Howard told the Post.