Long before he was Detective Bill Gannon on Dragnet (1967-70) and Colonel Sherman T. Potter on M*A*S*H (1975-83), Harry Morgan was one of the most popular character actors of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, appearing in more than 100 films.
Harry Morgan was born Harry Bratsberg in Detroit, Michigan on April 10, 1915.
A statewide debating champion in high school, Harry original aspired to obtain a law degree. However, when Harry was a junior in college he joined the acting club.
Morgan began acting on stage under his birth name, joining the Group Theatre in New York City in 1937, and appearing in the original production of the play Golden Boy, followed by a host of successful Broadway roles including plays such as The Gentle People, Thunder Rock, and Heavenly Express.
Harry Morgan made his screen debut (originally using the name "Henry Morgan") in the 1942 movie To the Shores of Tripoli. His screen name later would become "Henry 'Harry' Morgan" and eventually Harry Morgan, to avoid confusion with the then-popular humorist of the same name.
Harry Morgan appeared in films such as The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), State Fair (1945) ,Dragonwyck (1946), The Big Clock (1948), High Noon (1952), Bend of the River (1952), The Glenn Miller Story (1953), Thunder Bay (1953), The Far Country (1955) Strategic Air Command (1955); The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), Inherit the Wind (1960), Cimarron (1960), How the West Was Won (1962), Frankie and Johnny (1966), Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969), Support Your Local Gunfighter! (1971), The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975), and The Shootist (1976).
In 1980, he won a Prime Time Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series for: "M*A*S*H." He was also nominated seven other times for his role as Colonel Potter. He was also nominated in 1972 for a guest appearance on M*A*S*H when he appeared as a crazy general in the episode The General Flipped at Dawn.
A talented painter, in several episodes of M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter is seen painting, these are actually works by Harry Morgan.
Harry Morgan has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for radio. Why he doesn't have one for television and motion pictures is beyond comprehension.
6 years ago