Harry Morgan was known best for his role on the classic TV series “M*A*S*H,” playing Colonel Sherman T. Potter. When asked if his Emmy-winning role made him a better actor, Morgan famously replied, “I don’t know about that, but it’s made me a better human being.” Other notable projects for Morgan included a starring role on the “Dragnet” revival from 1967 to 1970 and movies such as “The Glenn Miller Story” and “Inherit the Wind.” We remember Morgan’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1950: Eddie Hazel, U.S. guitarist with Parliament-Funkadelic, is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1946: David Angell, U.S. screenwriter and producer who co-created the sitcom “Frasier,” is born in West Barrington, Rhode Island.
Mr. Angell, 54, wrote compelling scenes, said Tom Reeder, a co-writer on “Cheers,” according to Angell’s 2001 obituary published in The New York Times. “He picked his spots to say anything very carefully, but more often than not he had the perfect words when he spoke,” Mr. Reeder said. And Mr. Angell valued golf performance – he had a 2 handicap – over appearances. “He got his golf shirts at Penney’s,” said Mrs. Reeder. “He didn’t care about designer labels.” Read more
1938: Don Meredith, U.S. football player, sports commentator, and actor who played nine seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and became a member of the “Monday Night Football” broadcast team, is born in Mount Vernon, Texas.
Meredith was quick with a joke – “He thinks they’re No. 1 in the nation,” he said during a 1972 game when a fan of the losing team showed his displeasure on national TV with an obscene gesture featuring his middle finger. He engaged in what The New York Times called “down-home ribbing” of his frequent partner in the booth, the serious and abrasive Howard Cosell. When it was clear one team had the game wrapped up, Meredith would burst into a Willie Nelson song: “Turn out the lights,” he’d sing. “The party’s over.” Read more
1936: Bobbie Smith, U.S. musician who was the lead singer for the Spinners, is born in Detroit, Michigan.
Smith was the group’s original lead singer and was the voice on their first hit, “That’s What Girls Are Made For.” Also called the Detroit Spinners, the group earned nearly a dozen gold records and half a dozen Grammy Award nominations. The group’s biggest hits in the 1970s included: “I’ll Be Around,” “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” and “Games People Play.” Read more
1933: Poncie Ponce, U.S. actor who played Kazuo Kim in “Hawaiian Eye,” is born in Maui, Hawaii.
1932: Omar Sharif, Egyptian actor well-known in Hollywood for his roles in the movies “Dr. Zhivago” and “Funny Girl,” is born in Alexandria, Egypt.
In “Lawrence of Arabia,” Omar Sharif first emerges as a speck in the distance in the shimmering desert sand. He draws closer, a black-robed figure on a trotting camel, until he finally dismounts, pulling aside his scarf to reveal his dark eyes and a disarming smile framed by his thin mustache. The Egyptian-born actor’s Hollywood debut immediately enshrined him as a smoldering leading man of the 1960s, transcending nationality. Read more
1929: Max von Sydow, Swedish actor whose well-known films include “The Exorcist” and “The Seventh Seal,” is born in Lund, Sweden.
1926: Junior Samples, U.S. actor who was a cast member of “Hee Haw” for 14 years, is born in Cumming, Georgia.
Poffo also took on the wrestling establishment and broke away in the late 1970s and early 1980s to promote matches for his sons. Although Poffo won the U.S. TV title in 1958 and was inducted into the World Championship Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1995, he never attained the superstar status of Savage or the success of his other son, “Leaping” Lanny Poffo, who continues to wrestle in Europe. Read more
1925: Linda Goodman, U.S. astrologer and author who wrote the best-selling “Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs,” is born in Morgantown, West Virginia.
After jumping to TV, Kean stayed on “The Honeymooners” for five years before leaving to pursue other avenues, including guest appearances, performing in Las Vegas, and doing voice work. In 1977, she worked on the children’s movie “Pete’s Dragon” — behind-the-scenes work that the usually glamorous actress joked she didn’t like because she didn’t need to wear makeup, her niece said. Read more
1921: Sheb Wooley, U.S. singer and character actor known best for his novelty hit, “The Purple People Eater,” is born in Erick, Oklahoma.
He taught a young Roger Miller – his cousin-in-law and future “King of the Road” country music star – to play guitar. Wooley was the voice of the “Wilhelm scream,” a stock sound effect used in more than 200 movies, including the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” series. He played the school principal in “Hoosiers” and an outlaw in “High Noon.” And, of course, he introduced us to a one-eyed, one-horned flying purple people eater.
1921: Chuck Connors, U.S. actor and professional baseball player who starred as Lucas McCain on “The Rifleman,” is born in Brooklyn, New York.
“The Rifleman” was such a success that it led to Connors being typecast as a cowboy. Though he occasionally played other types of roles – a slave owner in “Roots,” a fisherman on “Flipper” – we most often remember him in the Wild West, as on the TV series “Branded.” Read more
On the 1966 Star Trek episode, called “The Savage Curtain,” he received a fan following from Trekkies. In that episode, Captain Kirk meets his childhood hero, Abraham Lincoln, and they go to a planet to fight off Genghis Khan. Read more
On “December Bride,” his first TV series, Morgan played Pete Porter, a perpetually henpecked neighbor. The CBS series lasted from 1954-1959, when he went on to star on his own series, “Pete and Gladys,” a spinoff of “December Bride.” Demonstrating his diversity as a character actor and comedian, Morgan also starred on “The Richard Boone Show,” “Kentucky Jones,” and “Dragnet.” But it was his role on “M*A*S*H” for which Morgan became best known. Read more
1903: Clare Booth Luce, U.S. author and diplomat who wrote the 1936 play “The Women,” is born in New York, New York.
1847: Joseph Pulitzer, Hungarian-American journalist whose bequest to Columbia University established the Pulitzer Prize, is born in Mako, Hungary.
1829: William Booth, British preacher who founded the Salvation Army, is born in Sneinton, England.