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Harry Morgan: A darn good leader

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BC: The End

1: Life brings simple pleasures to us every day. It is up to us to make them wonderful memories. CathyAllen

6: All things grow better with love.

20: A family is pieced together with hope and faith. A family is quilted and bound with love and grace.

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Gary Richard Collins
  • By: Gary R.
  • Joined: about 5 years ago
  • Published Mixbooks: 1
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  • Title: Harry Morgan: A darn good leader
  • An prolific yet popular movie/character actor who has understood the meaning of "groundbreaking television," as he rocked TV in a way where no other actor have starred in 3 successful shows (other than him, second-only to Michael Landon, Gavin MacLeod, Bill Bixby & William Shatner). After his death, just days before Christmas, he's currently the #1 actor on my photo album, as he accomplished it, as most of my FB friends/fan around the world loved the photo album of Mr. Webb's & Mr. Morgan's other best friend, his ex-wife, Julie London, who was an angel to us all. A nearby native of Grand Rapids, MI, Morgan used to work as a salesman for an insurance company, long before he was a successfu...moreAn prolific yet popular movie/character actor who has understood the meaning of "groundbreaking television," as he rocked TV in a way where no other actor have starred in 3 successful shows (other than him, second-only to Michael Landon, Gavin MacLeod, Bill Bixby & William Shatner). After his death, just days before Christmas, he's currently the #1 actor on my photo album, as he accomplished it, as most of my FB friends/fan around the world loved the photo album of Mr. Webb's & Mr. Morgan's other best friend, his ex-wife, Julie London, who was an angel to us all. A nearby native of Grand Rapids, MI, Morgan used to work as a salesman for an insurance company, long before he was a successful actor. He was also a very popular student @ Muskegon High School, where he participated in playing varsity football, and by his senior year, he was elected as "Class President," from his graduating class. He started working in films in 1942, but he never won any Oscars, but often his performances were good on TV, for playing several bad guy or cowardly roles, all the while, he met an unfamiliar, young actor, named: Jack Webb, who would become best friends until 1982 (at the time of Webb's death). Compared to Morgan (himself), Webb was also a tough man, who in turn was a chain-smoker, who in turn had an incredible memory in a way that his ex-best friend would have. Their first meeting was back in 1950 [though they were started being best friends, the year before, which was 1949], when they co-starred in the movie, "Dark City," before "Appointment With Danger," those 2 led them into co-starring in "Dragnet," where Webb played Sgt. Joe Friday while Morgan played Off. Bill Gannon, his partner in the show - solving cases, fighting crime & being best buds on the show. If any Harry Morgan fan watched his movies or even his 1st successful, non-typecasting TV sitcom, "December Bride," (where he actually made the show a hit with young viewers in the Baby Boomers Generation) where he played the couple's next-door neighbor whose marriage was failing, whose friendship with one of the neighbors, made life miserable. On "Dragnet," unlike his character from "December Bride," he was befriended by Sgt. Joe Friday, riding along with his boss, in the car where he drives to put people in custody & to spread a lot of humor. It was a very popular show after "December Bride," where it aired in 70 countries and it can be frequently seen in reruns, at the time of the show's cancellation, that both Webb & Morgan would cruise around Los Angeles, while Morgan himself, would go for more movies, prior to co-starring in "Dragnet." He enjoyed the role so much, that he wished he played more by the time the new decade approached, where it was canceled. Not because of low ratings, but because of his best friend's plan to focus on other projects, because he was a very, busy man, and because of his decision, he worked on another successful drama, this one behind "Adam-12," which was obviously called "Emergency!," which was a show about 2 paramedics who rescued patients into their own homes, saving lives to them, before transferring the same patients to a Los Angeles Hospital, with 2 doctors (played by Robert Fuller & Bobby Troup) & 1 nurse (played by Julie London, who was married to Webb - from 1947-1953, and became best friends before Webb's death in 1982). After the cancelation of the show, and after starring in a short-lived series by his best friend, Jack Webb, again, his luck turned around for a 3rd time, after guest starring on an episode of a different character on "M*A*S*H," his biggest break came when he was replaced by comedian McLean Stevenson as the tough, yet lovable officer, Colonel Sherman T. Potter, on another groundbreaking TV show, "M*A*S*H," another role (like Dragnet) that he's mostly associated with today! The show was already on the air, yet he was more than happy to fit with the cast, esp. with series' star, Alan Alda, whom they had great chemistry, for the last 8 seasons of the show, having to appear in nearly every show with the ex. of only 1. According to my Facebook buddy, the late Gregory Mark Walters [who passed away the 1st Thursday in January], he said the reason why he needed to be in all the shows, without one was, "I guess he was a popular character & the producers figured the more he was featured, the better the ratings would be!" He was right & wrong, just because all the actors who were cast originally in "M*A*S*H," had left, where the ratings dropped! Like many other actors (who were over 45), Harry was given a better chance to gain a whole new generation of younger audiences (who were 15-35), at the time, a lot of them have loved the character of Colonel Potter, as much as they loved the Hawkeye or Klinger characters, very much, with the encouragement of Jamie Farr (who saved the show). After "M*A*S*H," he got to star in "AfterM*A*S*H," where he stayed with his character but the show didn't last long, unlike his first carnation. Then, between 1991 and 2002, Morgan (who was then over 75) had an opportunity to attend 2 "M*A*S*H," reunions: 1 was: "Memories of M*A*S*H," which was hosted by Shelley Long, who guest-starred on an episode of the series, and the other was "A 30th Anniversary Reunion Special," which the entire cast got to reunite themselves, which in itself, the show was hosted by Mike Farrell, who played B.J. Hunnicutt. Harry had a ball with those reunions, after years of playing the character. He said in his last interview he loved playing the character as much as he's played Bill Gannon. Today, the entire Facebook world has lost such an enduring talent, a popular, storytelling man, early this morning. He was also survived by 3 children (he also had one child who is deceased - as of 1989), an 85-year-old wife, Barbara Morgan, along with 3 grandchildren. Harry, you're sorely be missed! May you, R.I.P. He even died 10 days just before he would celebrate his 25th Wedding Anniversary to Barbara! :( Of all the photo albums, this one has broken the ice, more than 245 pictures, including the ones from his M*A*S*H cast, including Mike Farrell & Alan Alda, who was influenced by Morgan, in his younger years, thanks to his famous father - Robert [who guest-starred on M*A*S*H with him & Morgan]. Long before he co-starred in "Providence," who also had a recurring role on "Desperate Housewives," who in-turn became a political activist, who then became the 2nd husband to actress Shelley Fabares, Mike Farrell, who played the role of Harry Morgan's talented surgeon, Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt, from 1975-83 [when he joined the series], who also appeared in all the episodes with the ex. of 1, said in a 2011 interview with Gary Richard Collins II [by e-mail], who also questioned Mike if he were to have an on-screen TV father, like Harry Morgan, who would help him, all the time, beknownst if Alan Alda been a lot happier in needing Harry to looking after others who didn't fool around, "Harry is a wonderful man and a terrific actor. It was a pleasure for all of us to work with him." Farrell also responded to me for his last 8 seasons, along with Morgan, who in turn had taught him along with the rest of the cast to simply, "remain calm," despite being the overprotective father figure on- the set of "M*A*S*H," as well as off-the set, "Harry didn't 'teach' anything. He behaved as though we were all professionals and on equal footing. I suspect in behaving in that way he taught all of us a lot." Mike had also said in a 2007 interview on his own website - MikeFarrell.org, about his on- and off-screen chemistry with Harry Morgan, amongst all the other castmates on the show was, "It's harder for me to separate Harry and Col. Potter because I adore them both so much. Col. Potter was the father figure we all loved and admired. A straight-arrow, regular army, by the book type who, just beneath the surface, was a marshmallow. Harry Morgan is a wonderful guy and a good friend. He's full of stories, jokes, wry humor and is a delight to be around. He is and ought to be a motion picture and television legend." The last thing (and most recently, this one before Morgan's death), Farrell said more recently was how David Ogden Stiers had been reduced by Morgan, in a jokingly way on the "M*A*S*H" set was, "David was like a rock, when he was concentrating, when he was being Charles Emerson Winchester III, you just couldn't get him, except for Harry Morgan. Harry could look at David and reduced him to a puddle of tears, without turning an eye. David said, 'When he [Harry] looks at me and flare those nostrils; and he would be gone,' it would be such a wonderful thing to see this great big guy just reduced to a giggling idiot by Harry, but unfortunately, all I could do is to tell you, we had great fun doing the show; and much of it was laughing at some silly gag that one of us had pulled on the others." After cancelation, and for much of the past quarter of a century, just before Morgan's death, the two along with Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr, amongst the rest of the surviving castmates continued to kept in touch for more of a quarter of a century, while his best buddy, Alda, has had a successful career in directing, while guest-starring in various shows. He and his second wife, Shelley Fabares, along with Harry's wife, Barbara Bushman, would frequently have dinner with the rest of the cast, while attending 2 "M*A*S*H" reunions, between 1991 and 2002 [the one he hosted, while paying tribute to him]. In addition, Eileen's (Harry's real-life wife) death in 1985 and Daniel's (Harry's real-life son) 4 years later in 1989, drew the relationship between Morgan & Farrell as Farrell was delivering his condolences, twice, to such a wonderful star, just 22 yrs. before Morgan (himself) had lost his own life. 9 yrs. later before Harry's death, Mike also got an e-mail from me, who in turn received 131 pictures of a talented actor who played a wide variety of roles on both film and in television, as he remembers the man who was TV toughest colonel.less
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  • Published: over 4 years ago

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