RIP, Harry Morgan

Awww, man, this breaks my heart. Harry Morgan died this morning. He was 96. That’s extra innings in my book. Good man, well-played.

OK, yes, he was on Dragnet, but he made up for it by being on MASH as Col. Sherman T. Potter (for which he earned a well-deserved Emmy Award), and he was sort of the grandpa that I wanted after my grandpa died. I kinda adopted him.

His obit in the times lists a long resume of shows in all of the media, and the people he worked with is astounding:

He went on to appear in “All My Sons” (1948), based on the Arthur Miller play, with Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster; “The Big Clock” (1948), in which he played a silent, menacing bodyguard to Charles Laughton; “Yellow Sky” (1949), with Gregory Peck and Anne Baxter; and the critically praised western “High Noon” (1952), with Gary Cooper. Among his other notable films were “The Teahouse of the August Moon” (1956), with Marlon Brando and Glenn Ford, and “Inherit the Wind” (1960), with Spencer Tracy and Fredric March, in which he played a small-town Tennessee judge hearing arguments about evolution in the fictionalized version of the Scopes “monkey trial.” In “How the West Was Won” (1962) he played Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

After a personable performance as Glenn Miller’s pianist, Chummy MacGregor, in “The Glenn Miller Story” (1954), starring James Stewart, he often played softer characters as well as his trademark hard-bitten tough guys. There were eventually a number of comedies on his résumé, among them “John Goldfarb, Please Come Home” (1965), with Shirley MacLaine and Peter Ustinov; “The Flim-Flam Man” (1967), with George C. Scott; “Support Your Local Sheriff!” (1969), with James Garner and Walter Brennan; and “The Apple Dumpling Gang” (1975), a Disney movie with Tim Conway and Don Knotts.

Anyway, he was the sort of character actor who always worked. There was no part too big or too small, he gave everything to all parts and really was a treasure. He will be missed.


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6 Responses to RIP, Harry Morgan

  1. Kct says:



  2. Deborah says:

    Great write-up for a great character actor, TG. It still makes me laugh like a loon to think he was the ‘high’ energy in Dragnet. His performances were understated perfection. Good journey, Mr. Morgan.


  3. Mr DeBakey says:

    I suppose I could do a google to confirm, but wasn’t his Emmy for a guest spot before he came in as Colonol Potter.

    He played the loony visiting officer.

    Wish I wuz born in the land of cotton….


  4. Dimitrios says:

    I first became aware of Harry Morgan when he played Peter Porter, the next-door neighbor on “December Bride,” a television sitcom starring Spring Byington, which ran from 1954 to 1959. The highlight of each episode, for me and many viewers, was when Pete (Morgan) dropped by with a lengthy complaint about his wife, Gladys, whom the viewers sometimes heard but never saw.

    Since then, as I encountered his previous films and his subsequent work, Harry Morgan became one of my favorite character actors,

    To Tengrain’s list of films, I should like to add Morgan’s turn as Henry Fonda’s sympathetic sidekick in “The Ox-Bow Incident,” an under-appreciated western gem.

    RIP Harry Morgan


  5. Bruce388 says:

    “December Bride,” eh? I remember Harry in a ’50s sitcom, didn’t remember the name. He was always entertaining. Adios to a fine career.


  6. M. Bouffant says:

    What the hell’s wrong w/ Dragnet? Possibly the funniest show ever.

    And don’t forget that Harry used to beat his wife.



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