LOS ANGELES – Emmy-winning character actor Harry Morgan, whose portrayal of the fatherly Col. Potter on television’s “M*A*S*H” highlighted a show business career that included nine other TV series, 50 films and the Broadway stage, died Wednesday. He was 96.
His daughter-in-law, Beth Morgan, told the Associated Press the actor died at his home in Brentwood after having pneumonia.
“He was side-splittingly funny, a very gentle and loving father-in-law,” Beth Morgan said. “He was very humble about having such a successful career.”
Morgan appeared in mostly supporting roles on the big screen, playing opposite such stars as Henry Fonda, John Wayne, James Garner, Elvis Presley and Dan Aykroyd.
On television, he was more the comedic co-star, including roles on “December Bride,” its spin-off “Pete and Gladys” and as Sgt. Joe Friday’s loyal partner in later “Dragnet” episodes.
But it was his role as Col. Sherman Potter on “M*A*S*H” for which Morgan became best known. The actor won an Emmy in 1980 for his work on CBS-TV’s long-running series.
“ ‘M*A*S*H’ was so damned good,” Morgan told the AP. “I didn’t think they could keep the level so high.”
His acting career didn’t stop after the popular series left the air in 1983 after 11 years – one of television’s most successful primetime runs. Morgan went on to appear in several made-for-TV movies and other TV series, such as “AfterMASH” and “Blacke’s Magic.”
When he was not on the set, Morgan enjoyed reading books about the legal profession and poetry. He also liked horses, which he once raised on his Northern California ranch.