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Larch, playing the Chief of Police in the film Dirty Harry, 1971
October 4, 1914|
Salem, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||October 16, 2005
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Vivi Janiss (?-1988) (her death)|
Life and career
Larch was born in Salem, Massachusetts. After his lead role in the radio serial Captain Starr of Space (1953–54), John Larch entered films in 1954. He usually appeared in westerns (How The West Was Won) and action films, including Miracle of the White Stallions as General George S. Patton Jr. (1963), Collision Course: Truman vs. MacArthur as General Omar Bradley (1976), replacing James Gregory as Mac in the Matt Helm movie The Wrecking Crew (1969) starring Dean Martin, Sharon Tate and Elke Sommer. Larch, an old friend of Clint Eastwood, appeared in Eastwood films, including Dirty Harry (1971) and Play Misty for Me (1971).
On September 29, 1958, Larch was cast as Lance Corbett in the premiere episode, "Texan in Town", of CBS's western series, The Texan. In the story line, Corbett is accused of shooting to death a 14-year-old girl and enlists his friend, Bill Longley (Rory Calhoun), to find the real killer. Neville Brand guest starred in this episode as Kyle Richards.
Larch appeared in Jefferson Drum, Johnny Ringo, Riverboat, Naked City (three episodes), Stoney Burke, Route 66 (three episodes), The Fugitive (two episodes), The Invaders, The Restless Gun (four episodes), Gunsmoke (seven episodes), The Virginian (four episodes), Bonanza, Hawaii Five-0, Mission Impossible (two episodes), The Troubleshooters, Bus Stop, The Law and Mr. Jones, The Rifleman, and possibly most famously as Anthony Fremont's father in The Twilight Zone 1961 episode "It's a Good Life". He also appeared in two other The Twilight Zone episodes, playing a psychiatrist in "Perchance to Dream" and the sheriff in "Dust".
On January 30, 1962, Larch played the outlaw Matt Grundy in the episode "The Confederate Express" of NBC's western series Laramie. Grundy arrives in Laramie, Wyoming, with a scheme to win back the affection of his wife, Martha, portrayed by Peggy Webber, and their young daughter, Tina. As a favor to their neighbor, Martha, series characters Slim Sherman (John Smith) and Jess Harper (Robert Fuller) defend Grundy, who is pursued by the Kerrigan brothers, played by Harry Dean Stanton, Steve Brodie, and James Beck. Grundy fools Slim and Jess into thinking that he must reach Laramie to deposit a bank draft, but he really intends to rob the bank. Grundy had saved Jess from being crushed while he was repairing the wheel of a stagecoach, but thereafter injects him with a dangerous chemical to keep him from talking after Jess learns that Grundy is indeed an outlaw. Grundy shoots Slim in the arm. As he died, Grundy asked Slim to make sure that Martha receives the reward money on his head.
In 1962, he portrayed Sam Garrett in the episode "Incident at Sugar Creek" on CBS's Rawhide.
- The Phenix City Story (1955)
- The Killer Is Loose (1956)
- Seven Men from Now (1956)
- Written on the Wind (1956)
- Man in the Shadow (1957)
- From Hell to Texas (1958)
- Hell to Eternity (1960)
- How the West Was Won (1962) (uncredited)
- Miracle of the White Stallions (1963)
- The Wrecking Crew (1969)
- The Great Bank Robbery (1969)
- Cannon for Cordoba (1970)
- Play Misty for Me (1971)
- Dirty Harry (1971)
- Santee (1973)
- Winter Kill (1974) (TV)
- Bad Ronald (1974) (TV)
- The Amityville Horror (1979)
- Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)