The nickname of the friendly mortician, Digby “Digger” O’Dell (John Brown) who was a regular on the sitcom THE LIFE OF RILEY/NBC/1949-58.

Using occupational puns, “Digger” the smiling undertaker greeted his friend Riley by saying “You’re looking fine, Riley, very natural” and then closed each conversation with “Well, guess I’ll be shoveling off….”

Note: The name “Digger” was also used prominently in the prime time soap DALLAS/CBS/1978-91 in reference to the father of wealthy executive, Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval). Willard “Digger” Barnes (David Wayne/Keenan Wynn) was a partner with Jock Ewing (Jim Davis) in their early days of wildcatting for oil and was cheated out of his shares of the company profits by the Ewings, a fact that his son, Cliff never forgot.


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Sitcoms, Workplace Nickname

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