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Harry Morgan, Colonel Potter on ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 96

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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 11:49 AM
Original message
Harry Morgan, Colonel Potter on ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 96
Source: New York Times

Harry Morgan, the prolific character actor best known for playing the acerbic but kindly Colonel Potter in the long-running television series “M*A*S*H,” died Wednesday morning at his home in Los Angeles. He was 96. His son Charles confirmed his death.

In more than 100 movies, Mr. Morgan played Western bad guys, characters with names like Rocky and Shorty, loyal sidekicks, judges, sheriffs, soldiers, thugs and police chiefs.

On television, he played Officer Bill Gannon with a phlegmatic but light touch to Jack Webb’s always-by-the-book Sgt. Joe Friday in the updated “Dragnet,” from 1967 to 1970. He starred as Pete Porter, a harried husband, in the situation comedy “Pete and Gladys” (1960-62), reprising a role he had played on “December Bride” (1954-59). He was also a regular on “The Richard Boone Show” (1963-64), “Kentucky Jones” (1964-65), “The D.A.” (1971-72), “Hec Ramsey” (1972-74) and “Blacke’s Magic” (1986).But to many fans he was first and foremost Col. Sherman T. Potter, commander of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital unit in Korea. With a wry smile, flat voice and sharp humor, Mr. Morgan played Colonel Potter from 1975 to 1983, when “M*A*S*H” went off the air. He replaced McLean Stevenson, who had quit the series, moving into the role on the strength of his performance as a crazed major general in an early episode.

In an interview for the Archive of American Television, Mr. Morgan said of his “M*A*S*H” character: “He was firm. He was a good officer and he had a good sense of humor. I think it’s the best part I ever had.” Colonel Potter’s office had several personal touches. The picture on his desk was of Mr. Morgan’s wife, Eileen Detchon. To relax, the colonel liked to paint and look after his horse, Sophie — a sort of inside joke, since the real Harry Morgan raised quarter horses on a ranch in Santa Rosa. Sophie, to whom Colonel Potter says goodbye in the final episode, was Mr. Morgan’s own horse.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/08/arts/television/harry...
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
1. So sorry. Will try to watch some today.
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James48 Donating Member (517 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
55. So long, Colonel Potter. Till we meet again. N/T
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
2. consummate actor -- RIP
I always enjoyed his style.
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GreenTea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
3. I will always remember Harry Morgan as "General Steele" on MASH - "But first, a number.....
Edited on Wed Dec-07-11 12:52 PM by GreenTea
well come on boy.......it's in your blood". (Morgan playing the completely insane nut-job General Steele).

"MASH means Mobile Army Surgical Hospital and mobile you shall be" - A great & funny episode and a very funny man was Harry Morgan!

Colonel Blake saying to Hawkeye & Trapper, as Steele is pounding on his jeeps horn - "Come on, let's not keep old ding-dong waiting".

At least a dozen other great lines in that one episode, if a man's long career (especially His comedy career) can be narrowed down to just one great 30 minutes - This episode of M*A*S*H with Morgan as the guest star is it!


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Frank Cannon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
26. I remember the General Steele episode too. He was hilarious.
I was surprised when they brought Mr. Morgan back as a different character, but I can understand why. He was a wonderful actor. Glad to see that he lived a long life.
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Richardo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
29. "Steele - three 'e's, not all in a row."
I still quote that to this day.
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neverforget Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #3
69. "Horse Hockey!" Monkey Muffins!" Loved the show and loved the guy.
RIP Harry Morgan.
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red dog 1 Donating Member (307 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 11:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
72. well, come on boy, it's in your blood.."Hey hey, Uncle Dud, It's a treat to beat you feet on the
....Mississippi mud, it's a treat to beat your feet on the Mississippi mud.."

Later, when he played Colonel Sherman T. Potter, he sang in the shower one day....
"I like to go swimmin' with bow-legged women and swim between their legs, swim between their legs, swim between their legs..."

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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
4. Loved him. Very sad. Nt
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dhill926 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
5. RIP.......
to a real pro.
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oldhippydude Donating Member (446 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. as often happens
i have been thinking of him lately.. another good guy icon passing, you will be misssed
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6000eliot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
7. RIP Harry.
My favorite Potter line as he's painting Winchester who is in a snit, "Don't change the color of your face! I'm out of umber."
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Myrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
8. Sad but, IIRC he was a curmudgeonly old cuss arrested for domestic assault ...
... a time or three.
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Still Blue in PDX Donating Member (633 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. ha, no wonder he reminded me of a father figure. nt
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FarPoint Donating Member (665 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. I believe it was due to
Early Alzheimer's....not that he was dysfunctional.
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CRK7376 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:06 PM
Response to Original message
9. Rest in Peace
COL Potter. You will be missed.
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Liberal Veteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
10. He was also in my favorite movie: Inherit the Wind.
:cry:

He will be missed.
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leftynyc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #10
37. My 2nd favorite movie
after Casablanca and I watched it just this past weekend (when both Bachman and Santorum stated they wanted creationism taught alongside evolution). A terrific actor.

RIP
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Still Blue in PDX Donating Member (633 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
11. Strange that I remember him so well as Pete Porter.
I was 7 or so years old when Pete and Gladys went off the air, and there is almost nothing I remember of my "real life" childhood, but I remember both December Bride and Pete and Gladys.

RIP, Mr. Morgan. I think you may have been my first celebrity crush.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #11
24. I do, too
He was my parents' favorite character on "December Bride."
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catchnrelease Donating Member (359 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #11
44. Another Pete and Gladys fan
I also remember both of those shows. If I recall correctly, you never saw Gladys in the series, just Pete. (December Bride was a favorite cuz my grandma looked like Spring Byington)
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #44
54. iirc that was one of the reasons for creating the spin-off
Gladys was never seen in December Bride, but was delightfully played by Cara Williams in the second series.
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catchnrelease Donating Member (359 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 02:04 AM
Response to Reply #54
76. Ahhh you're right!
I do remember her now that you say that.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
14. RIP, Mr. Morgan n/t
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RushIsRot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:27 PM
Response to Original message
15. He had a marvelously long run. He will be missed, but his
recorded work will live on forever.
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Faygo Kid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
16. It was (mostly) a wonderful life for the native Michigander
Like me, born in Detroit and of Swedish and Norwegian descent, so I feel a kinship. Great career.
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Politicalboi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
17. I remember hearing
He abused his wife.
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The Second Stone Donating Member (603 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #17
28. Dementia is ruthless, and this was very sad
I remember him also from The Ox Bow Incident, an allegory about the red scare.
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Ken Burch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #17
58. From what I heard, that incident led to his being diagnosed
with Alzheimers'. I don't know if that was a life-long thing for Harry to have done that.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 12:41 AM
Response to Reply #17
74. A poster upthread suggested that may have been due to Alzheimer's.
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SoapBox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
18. RIP
...I just hate that SO many that I grew up with on TV and in movies are now passing.
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dbackjon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
19. RIP to one of my favorite actors
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
20. I also remember him from The Apple Dumpling Gang and The Cat From Outer Space
:)

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jaded_old_cynic Donating Member (82 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #20
67. Don't forget the
Don't forget the "Support Your Local Gunfighter" and "Support Your Local Sheriff" movies with James Garner. Camp, funny stuff. R.I.P. Harry.
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DreamSmoker Donating Member (442 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
21. At my age now
Its getting very apparent to me lately that I am not young anymore..
This Man is another of so many Great Actors that have left us..
He was the other half of Dragnet...
I loved this Show when I was a kid..
May his Family have peace through this Holiday with this loss..
Harry is with God now and laughing at us..
He won't be forgotten..
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hamsterjill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #21
33. I hear ya!
Edited on Wed Dec-07-11 02:05 PM by hamsterjill
I remember Dragnet very well.

RIP Officer Gannon.
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geardaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
22. I share a birthday with him.
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Phoonzang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
23. Wait...what? I thought he had died years ago..
Hmm... RIP
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greyghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
25. RIP eom
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AlbertCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
27. best known for playing the acerbic but kindly Colonel Potter
Really???

I remember Bill Gannon more....


Mainly because I hate and despise the TV show M*A*S*H.

The movie on the other hand.....
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slay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
30. Oh man - he was great. RIP. Here's a short clip of his rant about ending the war:
short but powerful. what a great actor.

M.A.S.H - Colonel Potters Rant S10E16 -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpIgQTeAD9c&feature=rela...

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deacon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
31. One of the great ones. RIP Harry. :(
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
32. A long, productive life. Godspeed, Harry. nt
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
34. Dragnet, anyone? Anyone remember him there?
I do, but I'm older than most people who should not be allowed to have computers due to our advanced age, and I remember Howdy Doody in black and white, too, at 5 PM Eastern, while I was in first grade.
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Still Blue in PDX Donating Member (633 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #34
50. Oh, gosh, yes.
He's the only partner I remember, but I guess he wasn't the original.
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #50
53. I believe
Ben Alexander was the original.

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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #50
57. Yes, second series casting. Ben Alexander was first.
You are right.

Only role in which I objected to him was here in Dragnet, but I got used to him, and it turned out okay.
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Charlemagne Donating Member (94 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #34
80. Im 29 and I remember him
Reruns of those shows were on well into the 1990s. I was born in 82 and grew up on Dragnet, Bewitched, I dream of genie, Green Acres, Mr Ed, Dick van Dyke, and so on.

Mash was an awesome show. I remember Morgan just as fondly when he was a sidekick to Joe Friday.
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xxqqqzme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #34
81. Shame on you for reminding me
Edited on Thu Dec-08-11 11:29 AM by xxqqqzme
Howdy Doody was in black & white.


Loved the early M.A.S.H. episode where he was the crazed Steele.
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brucefan Donating Member (421 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 02:42 PM
Response to Original message
35. RIP
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tularetom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
36. I keep calling him "Harry Potter"
M*A*S*H got a hell of a lot better when he replaced Henry Blake.

And I always got the impression he was playing his Dragnet role tongue in cheek.

The man was one of the great character actors of all time. I'll miss him.
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Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 02:59 PM
Response to Original message
38. Rest in peace you wonderful man.
:(
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booley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
39. I am not sad at all
The guy had along distinguished career doing what he clearly loved and died at a very advanced age leaving behind a family that obviously loved him and a legacy that will outlive most of us.

We all should be so lucky.
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FedUp_Queer Donating Member (679 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #39
63. Amen to that sister (or brother).
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
40. I love Harry Morgan!
His body of work was immense!

Rest in Peace Sir.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 03:19 PM
Response to Original message
41. The Party's Over (Everybody's Gone) Sam Neely
The Party's Over (Everybody's Gone) Sam Neely
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Enz1f3yBgX0
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rwsanders Donating Member (41 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
42. I owe all the MASH cast and crew a huge debt of gratitude...
In my high school years I was determined to join the military until I started watching MASH. Realized it isn't like the movies, wish my nephew had realized it wasn't like his video games before he signed up.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 12:47 AM
Response to Reply #42
75. My non-violent nature thanks you for not serving.
I don't know how to make that sound "unsarcastic," but no sarcasm whatever is intended.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #75
82. I was able to serve four years without being violent
just saying
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 03:38 PM
Response to Original message
43. Also in the cast of All My Sons, the Arthur Miller play about
corruption in the MIC
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
45. He was a great actor
Always loved him in MASH
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 04:12 PM
Response to Original message
46. awwwww. I loved him.
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dballance Donating Member (460 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
47. So sad
I loved Colonel Potter. Mr. Morgan will be missed but he left a legacy everyone can still share with him and enjoy.
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SteveM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 04:24 PM
Response to Original message
48. Harry Morgan was one of those stars who bloomed on T.V....
Our family was long-familiar with Morgan from the old Dragnet T.V. series, and in other work. But it was M.A.S.H. where he really shined. His characterization of Potter was correct and clear to all; he kept the lid on a group of self-centered, intelligent rowdies, got the job done, and ran interference for the 4077 when a "higher up" martinet tried to get his outfit in line. Such wonderful deadpan humor, esp. with Radar. Our folks loved him.

Think he's romping with his horses?
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aint_no_life_nowhere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 04:29 PM
Response to Original message
49. I loved him on Pete & Gladys when I was a kid in the early '60s -- may he RIP
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Tx4obama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
51. R.I.P. Harry. n/t
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GigiMommy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
52. He was a childhood friend of my Husband's Great Uncle.
I saw him when he was a child in Hubby's family's old home movies (probably one of his earliest moments on film). Another member of Hubby's family used to babysit him. The Great Uncle has passed on; his wife, my husband and now Harry Morgan. R.I.P. Harry Morgan. I hope you see your old friends Bob and Mary again.
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Tuesday Afternoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 05:47 PM
Response to Original message
56. Rest in Peace, Harry. My condolences to your family
:( :hug: :patriot:
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DissedByBush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
59. So long Major General Bartford Hamilton Steele
I always thought he was funny in his first MASH role, before Potter.
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FedUp_Queer Donating Member (679 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #59
64. A radish....
will never stand in the way of victory....Marshall Foch.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:26 PM
Response to Original message
60. He was great as Colonel Potter, but I could never get past thinking of him as Officer Bill Gannon
Edited on Wed Dec-07-11 06:27 PM by slackmaster
On Dragnet.
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BumRushDaShow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
61. R.I.P.
For all the laughs, dry wit and feistyness that you brought to your parts... Rest in peace sir. :toast:
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PatrynXX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
62. kinda preferred the movie than the tv show
but I was amazed he was still around. try not to let those things drag me down right now
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roberto IS beto Donating Member (55 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
65. 4 points
In the "ghoul pool" a 96-year-old is only worth 4 points.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
66. "To me, that's like a tiptoe through the tulips"
RIP
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
68. farewell to a wonderul man and actor
Hawkeye: "But why didn't you tell me?"
Col Potter: "Because when they made me colonel they took the bone out of my nose that made me explain orders." :rofl:
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MrsBrady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 08:32 PM
Response to Original message
70. "All that good whiskey, shot to hell" "Horse Puckey!"
Favorite lines!
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DinahMoeHum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-07-11 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #70
71. "Bull Cookies!" "Pear Pits!"
I'll miss him, but we can still watch "M.A.S.H." and "Dragnet" on cable.
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MikeH Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 12:21 AM
Response to Original message
73. I remember Harry Morgan from Dragnet; RIP Harry
Actually I find it hard to believe that Harry Morgan had still been alive up until just now.

I remember him playing Officer Bill Gannon in Dragnet. I liked him in that role, though he did seem to be a yes-man to Sergeant Joe Friday (as played by Jack Webb who died in 1982).

I remember one episode in which Bill Gannon was adding a lot of sugar to his coffee, and he made the comment that sugar was the salt of the earth.
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Daphne08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 04:56 AM
Response to Original message
77. I'm old enough to remember watching "December Bride" on TV
in the '50s with a wonderful actress named Spring Byington.

He's always been one of my favorites.

RIP, Harry Morgan.
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 09:17 AM
Response to Original message
78. It seems like a lot of people from M*A*S*H are dying
First Trapper John, then Radar's Uncle Ed and now Harry Morgan.

M*A*S*H curse?
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qb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-08-11 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
79. Col. Potter made M*A*S*H a thoroughly enjoyable show. RIP, Harry
:yourock:
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