Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Character actor Harry Morgan, best known for playing Colonel Potter in the long-running television series “M*A*S*H”, died on Wednesday morning at his home in Los Angeles. He was 96. In more than 100 movies, he played Western bad guys, characters with names like Rocky and Shorty, loyal sidekicks, judges, sheriffs, soldiers, thugs and police chiefs.

On television, he played Officer Bill Gannon who provided a light touch to Jack Webb’s always-by-the-book Sgt. Joe Friday in the updated “Dragnet,” from 1967 to 1970. 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” (1963-64), “Kentucky Jones” (1964-65), “The D.A.” (1971-72), “Hec Ramsey” (1972-74) and “Blacke’s Magic” (1986).

But to many fans he was first and foremost Col. Sherman T. Potter, commander of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital unit in Korea. With a wry smile, flat voice and sharp humor, Harry Morgan played Colonel Potter from 1975 to 1983, when “M*A*S*H” went off the air. He replaced McLean Stevenson , who had quit the series, moving into the role on the strength of his performance as a crazed major general in an early episode.

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