Harry Morgan, who died today at age 96, is best remembered as the crusty but fair Colonel Potter in the later years of the television series M*A*S*H. But I remember watching him as the next-door neighbor on reruns of the 1950’s sitcom December Bride and as St. Joe Friday’s sidekick Bill Gannon on Dragnet. He had a remarkable career over more than half a century going back to The Shores of Tripoli. He appeared in musicals — he was a carny outsmarted by a farm boy in “State Fair” and co-starred with Elvis Presley on the riverboat saga, “Frankie and Johnny.” He was in westerns, including the classics High Noon and The Ox-Bow Incident. He was the judge in the Scopes trial story Inherit the Wind. He appeared in war stories, comedies, and costume dramas, opposite stars like James Garner, Henry Fonda, Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Spencer Tracy, Marlon Brando, Debbie Reynolds, and Janet Leigh.
In the M*A*S*H series, Colonel Potter had a picture of his wife on his desk. That photo was of Morgan’s wife of 45 years. The drawing of a horse that hung on the wall behind his desk was drawn by Morgan’s son. May his memory be a blessing.