MASH star Harry Morgan dies

Emmy-winning character actor Harry Morgan, who portrayed the fatherly Colonel Potter on television’s MASH, has died at the age of 96.

His daughter-in-law Beth Morgan said the actor died at his home in Brentwood, California, after having pneumonia.

The star appeared in mostly supporting roles on the big screen, playing opposite Henry Fonda, John Wayne, James Garner, Elvis Presley and Dan Aykroyd.

On television, he was more the comedic co-star, including roles in December Bride, its spin-off Pete and Gladys, as Sgt Joe Friday’s loyal partner in Dragnet episodes and on CBS-TV’s long-running MASH series, for which he earned an Emmy award in 1980.

Yet acting was not his 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.

He went on to work with a small theatre group in Washington, followed by a two-year stint on Broadway in the original production of Golden Boy.

He made his way to Hollywood in 1942 “without any assurance that I would find work,” he said in a 1976 interview.

“I didn’t have enough money to go back east, so I stayed around finding jobs mainly out of friendships.”

But it was his role as Col Sherman Porter on MASH for which the actor became best known.

“MASH was so damned good,” he said. “I didn’t think they could keep the level so high.”