M*A*S*H star HARRY MORGAN DEAD

Published on: December 7, 2011
M*A*S*H star HARRY MORGAN DEAD

HARRY MORGAN, the hardest working man in show biz and long time M*A*S*H star dead at 96.

Morgan, a prolific character actor who played Colonel Potter in the long-running television series “M*A*S*H,” died Wednesday morning at his home in Los Angeles, his son Charles confirmed.

With more than a 100 movies under his belt Harry, sometimes billed as Henry or Hank, played Wild West baddies, sidekicks, thugs, mugs and pugs -- soldiers, sailors, tinkers, police chiefs.

He played Officer Bill Gannon partnered with Jack Webb’s no-nonsense Sgt. Joe Friday in the 1960s reboot of  "Dragnet", battling pushers, JFK-inspired assassins and LSD imbibing hippies.

Ironically, they were previously paired in Charlton Heston’s debut feature “Dark City” as a thug and pug respectively

He starred as Pete Porter, a harried husband, in the situation comedy "Pete and Gladys"

(1960-62), reprising a role he had played on “December Bride” (1954-59).

He was also a regular on “The Richard Boone Show” with Richard Boone (1963-64), “Kentucky Jones” (1964-65), “The D.A.” (1971-72), “Hec Ramsey” with Richard Boone AGAIN (1972-74) and “Blacke’s Magic” (1986).

But to many he was first and foremost Col. Sherman T. Potter, commander of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital unit in Korea from 1975 to 1983, when “M*A*S*H” finally ended the ratings war. He had replaced McLean Stevenson, who had quit the series.

In 1980 he garnered an Emmy Award as best supporting actor in a comedy series.

Harry Morgan was born Harry Bratsburg on April 10, 1915, in Detroit. After moving to California in 1942, he was spotted by a talent scout and was signing to a contract with 20th Century Fox.

 In “The Ox-Bow Incident” (1943), starring Henry Fonda, he won praise for his portrayal of a drifter caught up in a lynching in a Western town.

Among his other key movies were “A Bell for Adano” (1945),  “All My Sons” (1948), based on the Arthur Miller play, with Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster; “The Big Clock” (1948), with Ray Milland and  Charles Laughton; “Yellow Sky” (1949), with Gregory Peck and Anne Baxter; and the critically praised western “High Noon” (1952), with Gary Cooper.

In “How the West Was Won” (1962), he played Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

He returned to the mean streets of LA as Bill Gannon, promoted to captain, in the 1987 movie“Dragnet,” a film remake starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks.

Adios, amigo.