Thursday, December 08, 2011

Gary Burghoff on Harry Morgan

I asked Gary Burghoff if we would like to reflect on the passing of Harry Morgan. He sent me this beautiful response:

The last thing our wonderful Harry said to me (about a year ago) was, " I have always thought of the MASH cast as brothers... Oh,...and one sister." (Even over the phone, I could see the twinkled eyes and revealing little smile.) You had to know Harry to appreciate his abundant humor, warmth, kindness, modesty and his special kind of quiet strength. There was not an insecure bone in him. He was a "straight shooter" but also non-judgmental, understanding and tolerant. And, if you screwed up, he was (after an honest and deserved scolding) forgiving. I loved and respected him deeply and will cherish the memory of the time we shared...precious, precious time.

-- Gary Burghoff

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this from Gary Burghoff. I searched many of the stories online and couldn't find any quotes from former castmates of Harry Morgan.

John F. Dodd said...

If not for the one naming of MASH in the context of quoting Harry Morgan, I would never have guessed these lovely words of tribute and caring dealt with a movie and TV celebrity instead of simply a dear friend. I admire Gary Burghoff right now, and I thank you for sharing his statement about Harry Morgan's passing.

Robbie said...

Harry sounds a bit like ... Sherman Potter. ;-) Lovely tribute from Gary Burghoff.

Brian said...

Wonderful tribute. Thanks for sharing this, Ken.

Gary said...

Thanks, Radar. Way, way back in the summer of 1966, just before shipping out to Vietnam, I went to see a movie called What Did You Do In The War, Daddy? It was a Blake Edwards comedy starring, among others, Harry Morgan. His character: Major Pott. Don't recall a thing about the movie other than Harry was in it. And if not the Horse Hockey, surely there will be Beaver Biscuits! RIP, Col. Potter.

R said...

What changed, to my feeling at least, about MASH from Henry Blake to Sherman Potter is that the 4077th became a family. Reading this, it's easy to tell that the change was not so much in the difference between the two characters, but the character Harry Morgan brought to the show. I genuinely felt like he was my third grandfather growing up and it's heartwarming to hear that everyone who worked with him felt the same.

Mary Stella said...

Lovely tribute. Thanks to Gary for writing it and to Ken for sharing.

Gary, in case you're checking comments, I live in the Florida Keys. There are still people who point to a certain house on Sister Creek and say, "Radar lived there for awhile." I think they're pointing at the wrong house, but you're remembered fondly.

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing this!

Johnny Walker said...

The real life Harry Morgan sounds very much like how I'd describe Colonel Potter. It's not hard to imagine who he was in life. What a lovely sounding human-being.

Kirk said...

I also found it strange that in none of the obits I read about Harry Morgan, there was no quotes from his MASH castmates. I'm thinking maybe the news media didn't regard Morgan as a big enough star to bother contacting anyone. If so, shame on them. Thank you, Gary Burghoff, for you tribute.

Kirk said...

I saw What Did You Do In The War, Daddy? Harry Morgan's hilarious as he slowly goes insane in a vast underground maze.

Ref said...

It's possible that nobody contacted his cast-mates for quotes. I think it's also likely that, having told him themselves how much they loved him while he was alive, none of them feel any rush to do so now.

Mac said...

Lovely tribute. How great to have spent your life doing the thing you love, and to be so fondly remembered. Thanks for that.

Brian said...

Kirk-

Mike Farrell is quoted in several of the obits I read. Here's one:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/celebritology/post/harry-morgan-remembered-mike-farrell-pays-tribute-to-his-mash-co-star/2011/12/08/gIQAXBVbfO_blog.html

I agree that it's surprising that there were no statements from the rest of the cast.

What does Rizzo think? said...

Quotes would have been nice. But Morgan's death, at 96, probably came too suddenly and unexpectedly for the media to react.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Probably the first obits don't have quotes because they're written in haste (or they're the obits the publications have had ready for some time, just dusted off and sent into print). Quotes typically come later when there's been time to get them.

I'm sorry to see Harry Morgan go. His work seems to have always been with us (and indeed, since he's nearly 40 years older than I am, in my life it always has been), and I'm sure he's a great loss to all his friends.

It's a long time and a lot of work ago for Gary Burghoff, but I always first identify him (and Bob Balaban, who played Linus) with the place I first saw him: the St Marks Theater in New York in 1968, in the cast of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Burghoff played Charlie Brown and there can be no other, etc...

wg

Birgit Nakielski said...

What a wonderful tribute!
Thank you, Gary, for writing it.
Thank you, Ken, for posting it.

And thank you, Harry, for having been with us and giving us so much joy through your character roles.

I have rewatched "Change of Command" (MASH Season 4, ep.2) upon hearing of his death and couldn't help giving a little salute to Harry Morgan.

Tod Hunter said...

"He was a 'straight shooter' but also non-judgmental, understanding and tolerant."

I always remember the sequence where Col. Potter is heading off for R&R and Hawkeye hands him some cash and asks him to pick up some "Sunbathing" magazines.

Col. Potter looks at the cash quizzically. "It wouldn't be dignified for a Colonel to purchase those for you, Hawkeye."

Hawkeye looks sheepish: "I was thinking maybe Mrs. Colonel..."

A moment of contemplation. "She's a good scout. She'll do it." And he pockets the cash.

Looks like there was more than a little Harry Morgan in Col. Potter.

--t

Michael said...

NPR's report interviewed Jamie Farr, whose comments showed how much he loved Harry Morgan ... and that he was doing what all of us should do, which is not to mourn but to cherish those great memories. The same report said that the cast members were all emailing one another and that Mike Farrell had been updating everybody on his condition and that Morgan was in hospice care at the end.

Texas 1st said...

My favorite episodes were when Colonel Potter had a fatherly role to play in the plot, such as when the Nurse Cratty (?) brought her orphans in, and he read them a bedtime story of how to maintain an M-1 Garande rifle. It didn't matter what he read, just the way he read it. It was the warm Grandfatherly tone his voice held, something that made me feel at home, and loved. His is a voice that will be missed.

Jake Mabe said...

Gary Burghoff just reminded us all why "M*A*S*H" is a national treasure.

Steve Noble said...

Many thanks for posting,
so heart warming to read something online that is not all the doom & gloom from nay-sayers...

Good Bye Harry, until we all see you again ‎.... as he rides off into the sunset with Sophie
{sound of taps playing} thank you for the lifetime of wonderful memories Mr Morgan.

MarkDodge said...

Thankyou for posting this. I live in Australia and I still watch 2 episodes of MASH per day. Its my little get away.
I felt like I had lost my Dad again when Harry died. A true gentleman.
Thankyou for posting Garys thoughts.

Mark.

Hoolan's friend said...

I will really miss the sound of Mr. Harry Morgan's voice. Thank you Gary for your kind thoughts and words.