- The Washington Times - Friday, July 3, 2009

Ed McMahon and Karl Malden (whose best performances came opposite Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and George C. Scott in “Patton”). Here are five more candidates for the sidekick pantheon.

• Art Garfunkel - Arguably the luckiest man in the music industry, this springy-haired tenor was lucky enough to grow up in Forest Hills, N.Y., with Paul Simon and form the pre-eminent pop-folk duo of the 1960s.

• Vivian Vance - A talented comedian in her own right, she found her greatest success playing second fiddle - not once, but twice - to Lucille Ball, first as Ethel Mertz in “I Love Lucy” and then as Vivian Bagley in “The Lucy Show.”

• Dean Martin - Before evolving into a first banana in his own right, Deano was first the straight-man second banana to the crowd-pleasing antics of Jerry Lewis and then the second-banana Rat Packer to the Chairman, Frank Sinatra. Of course, he was always No. 1 with the ladies.

• Morgan Freeman - It’s no knock on the great actor to say he’s the best supporting man of this generation: He has played second fiddle in two Batman movies, “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Glory,” among other great pictures. He even has managed to turn the president of the United States and God into complementary roles in “Deep Impact” and “Bruce Almighty.”

• Sonny Bono - A bad singer and the butt of the joke in his comic repartee with his partner, nobody ever mistook him for top dog in the Sonny and Cher act. Of course, as Cher observed with memorable grace in her eulogy of her ex-husband, mentor and straight man, Sonny Bono “had the confidence to be the butt of the joke because he created the joke.”

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