Read Morgan

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Read Morgan
Born (1931-01-30) January 30, 1931 (age 83)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Residence Los Angeles, California
Alma mater University of Kentucky
Occupation Actor

Read Morgan (born January 30, 1931) is a former American actor whose longest-running role was as a United States Army cavalry officer in the 1960-1961 season of The Deputy, a western television series on NBC created by Norman Lear. Morgan appeared in thirty-five episodes as the one-eyed Sergeant Hapgood Tasker, recognized by his black eyepatch and referred to in the series as "Sarge".[1] Henry Fonda held the starring role on The Deputy as Marshal Simon Fry, with much of the script revolving about native Texan Allen Case as his chief deputy, Clay McCord, a storekeeper who tried when possible to avoid using a gun. The program was set in fictitious Silver City in the Arizona Territory.[2]

Morgan debuted on The Deputy as Sergeant Tasker in the episode, "Meet Sergeant Tasker" (October 1, 1960), followed by "The Jason Harris Story" with Jeff Morrow in the title role as a marshal. Morgan's last episodes included "Tension Point", "Brother in Arms", "The Return of Widow Brown", "Enemy of the Town", "The Deathly Quiet", "Brand of Honesty", and "Lorinda Belle", the series finale.[3]

Morgan guest starred in different roles twelve times between 1959 and 1974 on the longest-running television western, CBS's Gunsmoke with James Arness. However, Morgan did not perform exclusively on westerns but was cast in roles in dramas, detective series, and even some comedies.

Early years[edit]

A Chicago, Illinois, native, Morgan attended the University of Kentucky at Lexington, where he played for two years on the basketball team.[4] In 1950, he began a rigorous diet with regular exercise to accent his physique. One of his first roles was hence as an athletic mountaineer in the Broadway play Li'l Abner.[4] His television debut was in 1956-1957 in two episodes of CBS's United States Steel Hour in the role of the young wrestler "Joey" in episodes entitled "Sideshow".[5] He also played a skindiver named Kelly Randall in the episode "Beached" of Gardner McKay's ABC series, Adventures in Paradise, and a boxer named Ray Gorski in the episode "The Fight" of the 1958 NBC series based on the cartoon character Steve Canyon.[4]

Television westerns[edit]

Morgan appeared in numerous television westerns, before and after The Deputy, as Bob Kenyon in the episode "Jebediah Bonner" of John Payne's The Restless Gun (1958) and as Clint Casey in "The Barrier" (1959) on NBC's Riverboat, with Darren McGavin. In 1959, he appeared as Jeff Peters in "The Little Man" episode of Dale Robertson's NBC western, Tales of Wells Fargo. In 1958-1959, Morgan guest starred in two episodes of Rod Cameron's 20th century syndicated western State Trooper, as Trooper Gaines in "You Can't Run Forever" and as Hess in "Everything Else Is Bridgeport". In 1959, he appeared as "Charlie" in the episode, "The General Must Die", about a foiled attempt to assassinate Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman, in the NBC western series, Laramie, starring John Smith as Slim Sherman. In 1961, he appeared on Rod Cameron's modern detective series COronado 9 in the role of Mark Sidon in the episode "Flim Flam".[5]

In 1960, he was cast as Clayton in the episode "A Gun for Willie" of the CBS anthology series, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater. That same year, he appeared as Jesse Hobbs in "Sundance and Usless" on CBS's Hotel de Paree, with Earl Holliman. In 1961, he played Hob Tyler in the episode "The Jodie Tyler Story" of Audie Murphy's NBC series, Whispering Smith. In 1962, he portrayed Ed Squires in "Good Old Uncle Walt" on NBC's The Wide Country, starring Earl Holliman and Andrew Prine, and with Edgar Buchanan in the lead guest-starring role. From 1959-1963, he guest starred three times on Wagon Train: as Ben Denike in "The Vincent Eaglewood Story" with Wally Cox, as Curly Horse in "The Martha Barham Story" with Ann Blyth, and as Jake in "The Myra Marshall Story" with Suzanne Pleshette.[5]

In 1965, he played a sheriff in "The Way to Kill a Killer" on ABC's The Big Valley with Barbara Stanwyck. That same year, he appeared on NBC's Bonanza as Tad Blake in the episode "The Ballerina", with dancer Barrie Chase in the title role. Morgan appeared twice on NBC's The Virginian and four times on NBC's Laramie and three times on ABC's Alias Smith and Jones. In 1966, he appeared as Cal in the episode "An Unfamiliar Tune" of the ABC western A Man Called Shenandoah, starring Robert Horton. In 1967, he played a medicine man in the episode "Spirit Woman" of ABC's Custer and the role of Jess Daly in "The Last Wolf" of the CBS 90-minute western, Cimarron Strip, starring Stuart Whitman and Randy Boone. In 1976, Morgan appeared as an unnamed officer in "The Captive" episode of the short-lived NBC series, The Quest, with Kurt Russell and Tim Matheson. In 1979, he guest starred in the second James Arness series, How the West Was Won, in the role of Morton in the episode "The Slavers".[5]

Other credits[edit]

After The Deputy left the air, Morgan was frequently cast as law enforcement officers or detectives in such films as Fort Utah (1967), Easy Come, Easy Go (1968) as Ensign Tompkins, Marlowe (1969) as Gumpshaw, Dillinger (1973) as Big Jim Wollard, The New Centurions (1972) as Woodrow Gandy, Shanks (1974), and in made for television films, Return of the Gunfighter (1967) as Wid Boone, Helter Skelter (1976) as an officer named "Columbine", The Billion Dollar Threat (1979), Power (1980), and A Year in the Life (1986).[4]

Morgan's dramatic credits ranged from the role of Corporal Hoop Keeler in the 1959 episode, "The Tallest Marine", on Ronald W. Reagan's anthology, General Electric Theater. That same year, he was cast as Lefty in "What You Need" of CBS's science fiction The Twilight Zone, hosted by Rod Serling. He appeared twice on CBS's Alfred Hitchcock Presents and once on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. In 1960, he was cast as Kelly Randall in the episode "Beached" of ABC's Adventures in Paradise, starring Gardner McKay. He also was cast in episodes of ABC's The Fugitive and The Outer Limits. He portrayed Kessler in "A World Without Sundays" on CBS's Mannix, with Mike Connors and Blackie in "Murder on Stage 17" of ABC's Starsky and Hutch. He appeared four times from 1973-1978 in different role on CBS's Barnaby Jones, starring Buddy Ebsen, and twice on ABC's Charlie's Angels in 1977 and 1979. He was Sergeant Kevin Hogan in the 1984 episode, "Death Takes a Curtain Call", on Angela Lansbury's Murder, She Wrote. In 1987, he appeared twice as Curtis on ABC's night-time soap opera The Colbys.[5]

Morgan's comedy roles were on ABC's McHale's Navy (a Marine sergeant in "The Big Raffle"), Pistols 'n' Petticoats (as Moose Dreyfus in "The Triangle"), Love, American Style, and three episodes of CBS's The Doris Day Show. He appeared as Bert in the 1959 comedy film Ask Any Girl with Shirley MacLaine.[5]

Morgan's last roles were on two CBS series, as Hap Moody in "Dear Hearts and Gentle People" on Dallas and in the episode "The Coward" of Lee Horsley's latter-day western Paradise. His final role was as a card dealer in the 1994 western film Maverick.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946-Present, New York: Ballantine Books, 1992, p. 220
  2. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, New York: Penguin Books, 1996, pp, 212-213
  3. ^ "Episode List of The Deputy". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Hal Erickson, Biography of Read Morgan". blockbuster.com. Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Read Morgan". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 26, 2010.