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Hovis in the Season 3 Hogan's Heroes episode "Nights in Shining Armor"
February 20, 1936|
|Died||September 9, 2003
Austin, Texas, USA
|Alma mater||University of Houston|
Early life and career
Hovis was born in Wapato, Washington, and moved to Houston, Texas, as a small child. As a youth, he was a singer, appearing on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. Hovis attended the University of Houston. During the mid-1950s, Hovis sang in nightclubs with groups including the Mascots, and the Bill Gannon Trio. He wrote songs and signed with Capitol Records and released one album. His biggest song being "We could have lots of fun", is the only one of his songs available for purchase on the iTunes store
He also began appearing in local theater productions. After some success, he moved to New York City in 1959 and appeared in Broadway revues such as From A to Z that showcased his singing and comedy talents.
Hovis moved to California in 1963 where he performed stand-up comedy and tried to break into television. In 1964, he was discovered by Andy Griffith's manager and was hired to appear on the hit TV series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. where he played "Pvt. Larry Gotschalk". He also appeared on The Andy Griffith Show as Gilley Walker, the owner of a car that had several chronic noises that Goober attempted to repair eventually disassembling and reassembling in the Mayberry Courthouse.
In 1965, Hovis was cast as "Sgt. Andrew Carter" in the television show Hogan's Heroes. Hovis' character was part of a group of five Western Allied POWs; each character had a specialized task or talent (Sgt. Carter was the ordnance expert; in a typical episode of the series, it was Sgt. Carter who would be called upon to make an explosive device). In the series Carter was of Sioux ancestry; Larry Hovis was partly of Yakama Indian ancestry. In one episode of the comedy Alice, Hovis played an American Indian police detective who arrests a fake American Indian conman.
While Hovis was a regular on Hogan's Heroes, he also did other work in the entertainment industry, including writing the screenplay for the 1966 spy-spoof Out of Sight. He also appeared in and wrote comedy bits for Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
After Hogan's Heroes
In the early 1980s, Hovis toured in the musical Best Little Whorehouse in Texas as Melvin P. Thorpe. In 1982, Hovis was a writer/producer on the So You Think You Got Troubles game show (produced by Ralph Edward Productions in association with Stu Billet Productions), which was hosted by actor/ventriloquist Jay Johnson. Later in the decade, Hovis teamed up with Gary Bernstein to form Bernstein-Hovis Productions, which produced the game shows Anything For Money, the original version of Lingo and the short-lived Yahtzee, a TV version of the classic dice game, for which Hovis also announced and served as a regular panelist.
Staged segments on Totally Hidden Video
Hovis was hired as a producer for the hidden-camera television show Totally Hidden Video but was fired from the show by Fox executives after accusations by Candid Camera creator Allen Funt of staging segments using paid actors.
- "Producer of "Totally Hidden Video" fired by Fox for staging segments". The Modesto Bee. 13 July 1989. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Hodges, Ann (13 July 1989). "Fox exposes phony segments on its `Totally Hidden Video'". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Larry Hovis at Find a Grave