Saturday, December 7, 2013
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."
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.
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From NPR News (click here).
Hollywood says, "bah, humbug" to Christmas.
Hollywood says, "bah, humbug" to Christmas. Remember how you could always count on at least one or two big Christmas movies? Maybe a silly comedy or a remake of a classic? Well, you're out of luck this year. The Los Angeles Times observes that there are no big holiday movies coming out this year or in the works for next year. "The way to do a big-budget film these days is to take stories that everyone in the world knows and take them in a new direction," said Joe Roth, a producer and former chairman of Walt Disney Studios. "But no one's come up with a fresh way to do a holiday movie, so we're all doing it with other kinds of stories." Well, at least they're not making a 3-D version of "A Charlie Brown Christmas." That alone is something to be grateful for this holiday season. - From LA Times Company Town