Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Late, Great Harold Gould

Actor Harold Gould Ph.D. passed on September 11, 2010 at the age of 86. The cause was prostate cancer.

Harold Gould was born Harold V. Goldstein on December 10, 1923 in Schenectady, New York. He grew up in Albany, New York. After graduation he enrolled at Albany Teachers College to study to be a social studies teacher. During World War II, after two years of college, Dr. Gould enlisted in the United States Army and served in France. Following the war he returned to Albany Teachers College and earned a bachelor of arts degree.

After graduating from Albany Teachers College, Harold Gould enrolled at Cornell University. There he earned a master of arts degree in 1948 and Ph.D. in 1953. Dr. Gould then taught at Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia for three years. It was in 1955 that he made his professional acting debut, as Thomas Jefferson in The Common Glory in Williamsburg, Virginia. In 1956 he took a position at the University of California, Riverside. He stayed there until 1960, when he decided to take up acting full time. He made his television debut in a guest appearance on Cain's Hundred in 1961.

Dr. Gould appeared on television frequently in the Sixties. He guest starred on such shows as Shannon, Follow the Sun, National Velvet, The Donna Reed Show, Empire, The Untouchables, Dennis the Menace, Route 66, The Lieutenant, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Twilight Zone, Mister Ed, The Jack Benny Programme, The Man From U.N.L.C.E., The Virginian, The Farmer's Daughter, That Girl, Get Smart, The Green Hornet, The Invaders, Daniel Boone, The Wild Wild West, The Big Valley, Hogan's Heroes, The High Chaparral. He made his movie debut in a bit part in The Couch (1962). Throughout the Sixties he appeared in such films as Two for the Seesaw (1962), The Yellow Canary (1963), The Satan Bug (1965), Inside Daisy Cover (1965), Harper (1966), An American Dream (1966), Project X (1968), The Arrangement (1969), and The Lawyer (1970).

In the Seventies Harold Gould was a regular on the short lived Bob Crane Show and Rhoda, . He was one of the two leads, along with Stefanie Powers, on The Feather and Father Gang. He guest starred on such shows as The F.B.I., Love American Style, The Partidge Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Streets of San Francisco, Dirty Sally, Gunsmoke, Cannon, Hawaii Five-O, and The Rockford Files. He appeared in such films as Mrs. Pollifax-Spy (1971), Where Does It Hurt (1972), The Sting (1973), The Front Page (1974), The Strongest Man in the World (1975), Love and Death (1975), Silent Movie (1976), The Big Bus (1976), Gus (1976), and The One and Only (1978).

In the Eighties Dr. Gould was the lead on the series Foot in the Door and Singer & Sons, and a regular on Spencer. He guest starred on such shows as St. Elsewhere, Trapper John M.D., L. A. Law, Night Court, and Midnight Caller. He appeared in such movies as The Dream Chasers (1982), Playing For Keeps (1986), and Romero (1989). In the Nineties he was a a regular on The Golden Girls. From the Nineties into the Naughts he appeared on such shows as Dinosaurs, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, The Outer Limits, Felicity, and Nip/Tuck. He appeared in such movies as Flesh Suitcase (1995), Lover's Knot (1996), Killer: Journal of a Killer (1996), My Giant (1998), Patch Adams (1998), Stuart Little (1999), and Nobody's Perfect.

Harold Gould also appeared on Broadway in the plays Fools (1981), Grown Ups (1981-1982), Artist Descending a Staircase (1989), and Mixed Emotions (1993).

Dr. Harold Gould was an extremely versatile actor who could play a wide variety of roles. He often played authority figures, such as the Mayor in The Front Page and Louis B. Mayer in the telefilms The Scarlet O'Hara War and The Silent Lovers. He played a wide variety of father figures, including Rhoda's father on the sitcom Rhoda and Grandpa Little in the movie Stuart Little.Of course, one of his most famous roles was that of con man Kid Twist in The Sting. In many ways he played all of these roles on the TV show from which I remember him best, The Father and Feather Gang, on which he played Harry Danton, who at once an authority figure, a father, and a con man. If Dr. Gould appeared so frequently on film and on television, it was perhaps because his talent allowed to play nearly any role.

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