Harry Morgan, of M*A*S*H and Dragnet, Dead at 96

Fly your flag at half mast: M*A*S*H’s Col. Sherman T. Potter, Harry Morgan, died on Wednesday morning.

The actor, who was 96, appeared in more than 100 movies, among them High Noon, Inherit the Wind and How the West Was Won (as Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, no less). He also appeared frequently on television, popping up on everything from Gunsmoke to The Simpsons, and playing Officer Bill Gannon in the late-’60s Dragnet update.

But it is M*A*S*H for which he is sure to be most widely — and fondly — remembered. After a showy guest performance on the series, he was brought back to create the new role of Col. Potter — a replacement for the departing McLean Stevenson’s commanding officer, Henry Blake.

“I think it’s the best part I ever had,” the Emmy winner once said. In fact, it was such a good part that not only did he stick with it until M*A*S*H ended its run, he continued it on the short-lived spinoff After MASH.

For a reminder of why the twice-married powerhouse was so highly regarded, click on the clip below. It’s no laughing matter, but boy, will Morgan take your breath away, exploding, as he does, like a silver-haired grenade.

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