M*A*S*H star Harry Morgan dies of pneumonia at 96

ACTOR Harry Morgan, whose portrayal of the fatherly Colonel Potter on television’s M*A*S*H was the highlight of a career that included nine other TV series, 50 films and the Broadway stage, has died. He was 96.

His daughter-in-law, Beth Morgan, said the award-winning character actor died at his home in Brentwood, California, after suffering from pneumonia.

Morgan appeared in mostly supporting roles on the big screen, playing opposite stars such as Henry Fonda, John Wayne, James Garner, Elvis Presley and Dan Aykroyd.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On American television, he was more the comedic co-star, including roles in December Bride, its spin-off Pete and Gladys, as Sgt Joe Friday’s loyal partner in Dragnet episodes, and on the long-running M*A*S*H series, for which he won an Emmy in 1980.

But acting was not Morgan’s first career choice.

Born in Detroit in 1915, Morgan was studying pre-law at the University of Chicago when public-speaking classes sparked his interest in the stage.

Before long, he was working with a little theatre group in Washington, followed by a two-year stint on Broadway in the original production of Golden Boy, with Karl Malden and Lee J Cobb.

Morgan made his way to Hollywood in 1942 “without any assurance that I would find work”.