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Saturday, December 7, 2013

'Col. Potter' Has Died: Actor Harry Morgan Was 96

Dec 7, 2011....RIP A GREAT ACTOR

 
Harry Morgan, who came into our living rooms as Col. Potter in M*A*S*-H, as Officer Bill Gannon in Dragnet and in guest star roles on other TV series from Murder, She Wrote to The Love Boat, has died. He was 96.
Harry Morgan, as Col. Potter.
Harry Morgan, as Col. Potter.

The Associated Press reports that the actor's daughter-in-law, Beth Morgan, said he died at his home in Brentwood, Calif., after a bout with pneumonia.
His hometown newspaper writes that Morgan "came a long way from the young man who acted in Muskegon [Mich.] High School productions."
"He was born Harry Bratsburg and graduated from Muskegon High School in 1933," The Muskegon Chronicle says.



Morgan's movie credits include roles in The Ox-Bow Incident, High Noon, The Glenn Miller Story and How the West Was Won.

But as the AP says, it was his role as the fatherly Col. Sherman Potter for which Morgan will be most remembered. "M*A*S*H was so damned good," he once told the AP. "I didn't think they could keep the level so high."


 Col. Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan) was a father figure to Cpl. Radar O'Reilly (Gary Burghoff).
Enlarge CBS/Landov
  Col. Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan) was a father figure to Cpl. Radar O'Reilly (Gary Burghoff).
One of television's most beloved commanding officers died Wednesday. Harry Morgan, who played Col. Sherman Potter on M*A*S*H, brought an avuncular authority to a show about the absurdities and horrors of war. He was 96.

M*A*S*H, a sitcom about an Army medical unit during the Korean War, was one of the best satires on television. As doctors cracked wise, it was often Morgan's character who provided the moral outrage.
"Every month there's a new procedure we have to learn because somebody's come up with an even better way to mutilate the human body," Potter said in one episode. "Tell me this, captain, how the hell am I supposed to keep up with it? If they can invent better ways to kill each other, why can't they invent a way to end this stupid war?"

Potter was decent, sympathetic and embodied a kind of folksy middle-American sensibility.
"He just seemed and carried himself like the last reasonable man in the middle of craziness," said James Poniwozik, television critic for Time magazine.

In 1983, Morgan spoke at a press conference about ending a series so beloved that the last show drew a record 125 million viewers. He said someone had asked him if he thought M*A*S*H had made him a better actor.

"And I said I didn't know about that, but I know it's made me a better human being and there aren't many shows you can say that about," he said.

Morgan alluded to his long career as a character actor, performing on Broadway, in movies and on the TV show Dragnet before he got cast in M*A*S*H during its fourth season.

"I've done about a hundred movies plus and this is my eighth television series, and believe me in my experience there's never been a congregation of actors put together that would come within a mile of this bunch," he said, trying to hold back tears. "And I'm gonna miss them very much."

Jamie Farr, who played the cross-dressing company clerk, Cpl. Max Klinger, said that even in a cast filled with cutups, Morgan was infamous for being funny.

"He was terrible; he was absolutely the worst," Farr said, affectionately. "I wish you could see some of the outtakes; we had some great ones."

Farr said he spent most of Wednesday exchanging emails and phone calls with members of the cast. He said Mike Farrell, who played B.J. Hunnicutt, was a huge presence in Morgan's last days; he kept everyone updated from the hospice with emails. The last one he sent Wednesday said Morgan had died around 3 a.m., peacefully and in his sleep.


From NPR News (click here). 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a joy and accomplishment to be able to live for nearly a century!!!

Danielle Davis
Com4041

Anonymous said...

Awe this brings up some great memories for me but I am so sad that he has died. I remember seeing him on M.A.S.H. The only time I watched that show however is when my grandparents visit from Pittsburg. This is why hearing about M.A.S.H. brings back good memories because I don’t get to see my grandparents that often. I remember just sitting there watching episode after episode and my grandparents just laughing when something funny would happen. Such a great childhood memory. Harry Morgan will be missed.

Chantel T.
4041