Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Ron Harper Passes On

Ron Harper, who starred on the TV shows 87th Precinct, Wendy and Me, Garrison's Gorillas, and Planet of the Apes, died on March 21 2024 at the age of 91.

Ron Harper was born on January 12 1933 in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. He earned a scholarship to Princeton University. It was while he was at Princeton that he did two seasons of summer stock. He was offered a fellowship to Harvard Law School. Instead he studied acting with Lee Strasberg and then served in the United States Navy.

Ron Harper made his television debut in 1955 in an episode of Kraft Television Theatre. In the late Fifties he also guest starred on Tales of Wells Fargo, Thriller, and Wagon Train. He was an understudy for Paul Newman on Broadway in Sweet Bird of Youth, in which he also appeared as a man at a bar.

In the Sixties Ron Harper starred on multiple television shows, including 87th Precinct, Wendy and Me, The Jean Arthur Show, and Garrison's Gorillas. He guest starred on The Deputy; The Tall Man; Shotgun Slade; Laramie; Love, American Style; and The Big Valley.

In the Seventies he starred on the TV show Planet of the Apes and the third season of Land of the Lost. He had a recurring roles on the daytime soap operas Where the Heart Is and Another World. He guest starred on the shows Cannon; Love, American Style;  and The Blue Knight. He appeared on Broadway in 6 Rms Riv Vu. He also appeared in the movie Temporada salvaje (1971).

In the Eighties Ron Harper had roles on the soap operas Loving, Capitol, and Generations.He guest starred on the shows Mike Hammer, Remington Steele. and Dragnet. In the Nineties he guest starred on the shows Beverly Hills, 90120; Melrose Place; Night Man; Night Stand; Boy Meets World; Walker, Texas Ranger; and Malibu, CA. He appeared in the movies Below Utopia (1997), Freedom Strike (1998), and The Odd Couple II (1998).

In the Naughts he guest starred on the shows Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place; The West Wing; and Cold Case. He appeared in the movies Pearl Harbor (2001) and Touched (2005). In the Teens he appeared in the movie Whoa! (2013).

Ron Harper was a fine actor and seemingly perfect as a leading man for TV series. After all, among other things, he played First Lt. Craig Garrison, leader of the group of the title, on Garrison's Gorillas and astronaut Coloenl Alan Virdon on the TV series Planet of the Apes. The fact that the various series on which he was a lead did not last long was certainly  due to no fault of his own, as he gave solid performances in each of them. He was also excellent in his various guest appearances. He was a husband who wanted to keep gold that he found, against the objections of his wife, in the Laramie episode "Edge of Evil." In the Cannon episode "Fool's Gold," he played the hotel manager in a small town insistent on protecting an armoured car robber. Ron Haper was certainly a talented actor whose performances made any show better.

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