Harry Morgan of 96 years old television comedy “M * A * S * H” dies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The actor of the prolific character Harry Morgan, who has appeared in more than 100 films but was best known for television roles including Colonel Sherman Potter in the popular series “M * A * S * H”, is died Wednesday at his Los Angeles home, 96 years old.

Actor Harry Morgan arrives for the Golden Boot Awards in Beverly Hills, California, in this photo file on August 10, 2002. REUTERS / Robert Galbraith / File

Her son, producer Christopher Morgan, confirmed the actor’s death in an email to Reuters.

Morgan won an Emmy Award in 1980, honoring the best of US TV, for his work in the anti-war comedy series “M * A * S * H” as the famous commander of a US Army mobile surgical hospital during the Korean War. . Morgan appeared in “M * A * S * H” from 1975 to 1983.

He also starred as Bill Gannon in the crime TV series “Dragnet” from 1967 to 1970, alongside Jack Webb.

Morgan’s ability to star in a variety of dramatic and comedic roles made him an actor in demand for half a century. He has starred in a dozen US TV series since the 1950s and has appeared in films with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

He appeared in “The Ox-Bow Incident” in 1943 with Henry Fonda, “High Noon” in 1952 with Gary Cooper, “The Glenn Miller Story” in 1954 with Jimmy Stewart and “Inherit the wind” in 1960 with Spencer Tracy.

But it was his role in “M * A * S * H”, the longtime series on the CBS network, which earned him his fame. The series was adapted from the 1970 hit film of the same name, presenting an anti-war theme as the United States was moving away from the Vietnam War.

Morgan was not one of the original cast members. The series started in 1972, but her first appearance had a starring role during her third season. He signed on as a full-time cast member in 1975 after actor McLean Stevenson, who played the commanding officer of the fictitious unit, left the show.

“ONE OF THE MOST LUCKY”

The actor portrayed Colonel Potter as a disciplined, sometimes short-tempered, but ultimately righteous and good-hearted and skilled surgeon. He was surrounded by a colorful cast including Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Larry Linville, Mike Farrell, Gary Burghoff, David Ogden Stiers and Jamie Farr.

Morgan cried during a 1983 press conference after recording the final episode of “M * A * S * H”, which became the most watched show in the history of American television.

He told reporters, “I feel very sad and sentimental. I don’t know if” M * A * S * H ​​”made me a better actor, but I know it made me a better human being.”

Morgan went on to play Potter in a short M * A * S * H ​​television sequel entitled “Aftermash”. “I’m playing a character I’m terribly fond of,” he told the Miami Herald in 1983. “I knew nothing better would happen.”

Prior to the popular comedy, Morgan was perhaps best known for his role as a sidekick cop, Agent Bill Gannon, for serene investigator Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb) on the popular drama “Dragnet”.

His television and film credits went widely, starting in the early 1940s and including films such as “Wing and a Prayer” (1944) and “High Noon” (1952). His television work began in the 1950s and included numerous guest star and regular series roles until his performance as “Dragnet” (1967-1970).

In 2004, he said to the Archive of American Television: “I would like to be remembered for being a pleasant enough person and for getting along mostly with many people I have worked with. And for having a wonderful life and for I enjoyed almost every minute … I think I’m one of the luckiest people in the world. ”

Morgan was born Harry Bratsberg in Detroit in 1915 and worked on stage before traveling to Hollywood. In his early works, he is credited as Henry Morgan. He married twice and had four children with his first wife, Eileen, who died in 1985 after the couple had been together for 45 years.

One son, Daniel, died in 1989. He survived three other children, eight grandchildren and his second wife, Barbara Bushman.

Additional Bob Tourtellotte reports in Los Angeles; Editing by Jill Serjeant

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