'M*A*S*H' Star Harry Morgan Dies At 96 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

'M*A*S*H' Star Harry Morgan Dies At 96

MSNBC.COM - 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 gent 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," as Sgt. Joe Friday's loyal partner in later "Dragnet" episodes and on CBS-TV's long-running "M*A*S*H" series, for which he earned an Emmy award in 1980.

Yet acting wasn't 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-theater group in Washington, D.C., 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," he said in a 1976 interview with The Associated Press.

"I didn't have enough money to go back East, so I stayed around finding jobs mainly out of friendships."

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