The acting world has lost a truly great actor. Harry Morgan, best known for his role as Colonel Sherman T. Potter on CBS’s M*A*S*H, passed away today at the age of 96 following a short illness. A humble man, Morgan spent his retirement years quietly with his family, occasionally doing interviews or cast reunions. In addition to M*A*S*H, Morgan was in Dragnet, Pete and Gladys, December Bride, The Richard Boone Show, Kentucky Jones, The D.A., Hec Ramsey, Blacke’s Magic and a number of films and broadway plays.
To me, and the legions of M*A*S*H fans, Morgan will always be Colonel Potter. Morgan brought a range of emotions to the character of Potter. He could be funny at one moment and serious the next and the viewer was drawn into the story. One of Morgan’s greatest episodes is “Old Soldiers” from season eight (pictured above). In the episode, Potter learns he is the last survivor of his war buddies from World War I. He takes delivery of a bottle of brandy and drinks a toast to his fallen friends, then turns, and makes a toast to the members of the 4077th. It is such a powerful scene, but, as usual, Morgan pulled it off with perfection.
A humble remembrance seems fitting for this great actor. I suggest taking a moment to watch part of Morgan’s Archive of American Television interview that was conducted in 2004. Here you can hear him discuss his career in his own works, and yes, get some great set stories from M*A*S*H. The best way to remember Harry Morgan, or any great actor, is to view the material they worked hard to produce, and, by all accounts, he was one of the hardest working of them all.
Read Harry Morgan’s Obituary.
Here is a preview of Morgans interview for the Archive of American Television:
Also from the Archive on American Televison, Alan Alda discusses Morgan: