Ron Harper, ‘Land of the Lost’ and TV ‘Planet of the Apes’ Actor, Dies at 91

The veteran television performer died of natural causes at his West Hills home in Los Angeles

Ron Harper
Ron Harper

Ron Harper, star of “Land of the Lost” and the 1974 “Planet of the Apes” series, has died, according to media reports. He was 91.

His daughter, Nicole Longeuay, told the Hollywood Reporter on Monday that he died of natural causes on Thursday at his West Hills home in Los Angeles.

The late actor, who was born Robert Ronald Harper, grew up in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, outside of Pittsburgh. He attended Princeton University and, instead of taking up a fellowship to study law at Harvard, decided to learn acting under theater director and actor Lee Strasberg. He later became Paul Newman’s understudy in the Broadway play “Sweet Bird of Youth” in 1959.

Harper opened up about his decision to pursue acting over the law in 1966.

“I kept saying to myself, ‘Should you waste your good education being an actor?’ And that little voice within me kept saying things like, ‘What do you want to take that fellowship to Harvard Law for? Be an actor. Starving is fun … And like the fool that any actor has to be, I listened to that dumb little voice,” Harper said at the time.

In 1960, the U.S. Navy vet went on to nab his first TV role on the NBC series, “Tales of Wells Fargo.” His other notable works included “87th Precinct,” “Garrison’s Gorillas,” “Below Utopia” and “Glass Trap,” to name a few.

He is survived by Longeuay and granddaughters Ronnie and Harper.


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