‘M*A*S*H’ Star Harry Morgan Dies at 96

Character actor best known for playing Col. Sherman T. Potter, Officer Bill Gannon on “Dragnet”

"M*A*S*H" star Harry Morgan died at his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning. The character actor was 96. 

He was best known for playing Colonel Sherman T. Potter on the long-running army comedy.

In a 2004 interview with the The Television Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television, Morgan acknowledged the profound effect that the iconoclastic sitcom had on his career. 

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""He was firm," Morgan said. "He was a good officer and he had a good sense of humor. I think it's the best part I ever had. I loved playing Colonel Potter."

Although "M*A*S*H" made him a television icon, Morgan first came to attention for his role as Officer Bill Gannon, Joe Friday's partner on the revived version of "Dragnet," which aired on NBC from 1967-70. 

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Morgan's ironically gruff demeanor made him an in-demand character actor for nearly five decades. 

He appeared in supporting roles in over 100 films, many of them classics such as "The Ox-Bow Incident," "High Noon,"  and "Inherit the Wind." 

His resonant voice and irascible verve made him a natural for parts as authority figures, and he was frequently called upon to play judges, lawmen and military officers. 

In addition to "M*A*S*H" and "Dragnet," Morgan scored small screen success playing a henpecked husband on “Pete and Gladys” (1960-62), which originated out of a supporting part he played on “December Bride” (1954-59).

Morgan did have one notable off-screen scandal. The character actor  was arrested in 1996 and booked for spousal battery after police responded to a 911 call from his wife, Barbara Bushman. Bushman had a cut under her right eye and a swollen foot, according to reports. Charges were dropped after Morgan agreed to attend a six-month domestic violence program. 

Morgan also was married to Eileen Detchon for 45 years until her death in 1985.

He is survived by Bushman; three sons from his first marriage, Christopher, Charles and Paul; and eight grandchildren.

Morgan's son, Daniel died in 1989.  

Morgan's 2004 Television Academy Foundation interview below: