Gould in 2010
|Born||Harold Vernon Goldstein
December 10, 1923
Schenectady, New York, U.S.
|Died||September 11, 2010
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Prostate cancer|
|Spouse(s)||Lea (Shampanier) Vernon (1950-2010; his death; 3 children)|
Harold Vernon Gould (December 10, 1923 – September 11, 2010) was an American actor best known for playing Miles Webber on the 1985-1992 sitcom The Golden Girls and Martin Morgenstern in the 1974-1978 sitcom Rhoda. Gould acted in film and television for nearly 50 years, appearing in more than 300 television shows, 20 major motion pictures, and over 100 stage plays, and received Emmy Award nominations five times. He is known for playing elegant, well-dressed men (as in The Sting), and he regularly played Jewish characters and grandfather-type figures on television and film.
Gould was born to a Jewish family in Schenectady, New York. He was the son of Louis, a postal worker, and Lillian, a homemaker who did part-time work for the state health department. Gould was raised in Colonie, New York and was valedictorian of his high school class. He enrolled at Albany Teachers College upon graduation (now known as University at Albany, SUNY), and studied to become a social studies or English teacher.
After two years in college, Gould enlisted in the United States Army, during World War II, and saw combat in France in a mortar company. He developed trenchfoot, and was sent to England to recover. After convalescence, Gould served in a rail transport unit in France.
After the war, Gould returned to Albany Teachers College to study drama, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1947. He performed in summer stock theatre on Cape Cod, then decided to enroll at Cornell University to study drama and speech. Gould earned a master of arts degree in 1948 and a Ph.D. in theatre in 1953 from Cornell, and also met his future wife, Lea Vernon.
Upon graduation, Gould accepted a position at Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he spent three years teaching and doing stage work. He made his professional theatre debut in 1955 as Thomas Jefferson in The Common Glory in Williamsburg.
In 1956, Gould was offered a professorship in the drama department at the University of California, Riverside, which he accepted. He taught there until 1960, when he decided to try professional acting himself. He had difficulty finding acting jobs at first, and had to take work as a security guard and as a part-time acting teacher at UCLA.
Gould made his film debut in Two for the Seesaw but was not credited for his work; his first credited role was a small part in The Coach (both 1962). He gradually found more work and gained roles in The Yellow Canary, a Rod Serling movie with Pat Boone, Jack Klugman, and Barbara Eden; The Satan Bug; Inside Daisy Clover; and Harper, starring Paul Newman.
Gould worked steadily in television in the 1960s and early 1970s, including roles in Dennis the Menace, Dr. Kildare, Hazel, The Twilight Zone, The Donna Reed Show, Get Smart, Hogan's Heroes, The F.B.I., The Big Valley, Cannon and Mission: Impossible. Gould originated the role of Marlo Thomas's father Lou in the 1965 pilot for That Girl, but the series role went to Lew Parker. He appeared in The Long, Hot Summer and He and She, two short-lived television series. Gould also acted in a pilot, later broadcast as a 1972 episode of Love, American Style titled "Love and the Happy Days" as Howard Cunningham, the frustrated father of a young man named Richie Cunningham (played by Ron Howard).
When ABC turned that episode into a series called Happy Days, Gould was tabbed to reprise the Howard Cunningham role. However when production was delayed, he went abroad to perform in a play. Midway through the play's run, after learning Happy Days was ready to begin shooting, he decided to honor his commitment to the stage production and passed on the part, which led to Tom Bosley being cast as the family patriarch. Gould would later state that a requirement to shave his beard was also a factor in his declining the role.
Gould had worked in television and film for almost fifteen years before his career really took off with his portrayal of Kid Twist in The Sting. He appeared in the Woody Allen movie Love and Death, as a villain in Silent Movie (directed by Mel Brooks), and made guest appearances on television shows such as Hawaii Five-O, Petrocelli, Soap, and The Love Boat. On Soap, Gould played the hospital roommate of Jody Dallas (Billy Crystal) who has suicidal feelings while deciding whether or not to undergo a sex change. Gould's character sometimes refers to Jody as a 'fagela', which is Yiddish for a homosexual man.
In 1972, Gould was cast as Martin Morgenstern, the father of Mary's best friend Rhoda, in an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He reprised the role the following year and was hired as a regular when Rhoda became a spin-off in 1974. After Rhoda ended, Gould appeared in the short-lived series 1977 series The Feather and Father Gang, where he starred as Harry Danton, a smooth-talking ex-con man, with Stefanie Powers as Toni "Feather" Danton, his daughter and a hard-working, successful lawyer. It ran for 13 episodes.
He also appeared in the miniseries Washington: Behind Closed Doors. In the 1980 NBC miniseries The Scarlett O'Hara War, he portrayed Louis B. Mayer and gained an Emmy nomination. He appeared as Chad Lowe's grandfather in Spencer, and played a Jewish widower wooing the Christian Katharine Hepburn in Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry. Other roles included a married man having an affair with another member of his Yiddish-speaking club in an episode of the PBS series The Sunset Years, and as the owner of a deli grooming two African-American men to inherit his business in Singer & Sons. Gould received Emmy nominations for his roles in Rhoda, Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry and Moviola.
Gould played Miles Webber, the steadfast suitor of Rose Nylund (Betty White) on the NBC series The Golden Girls (he also played a different boyfriend of Rose's named Arnie in the show's first season). He portrayed the father of a villain called The Prankster on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and made guest appearances on television series such as Felicity, The King of Queens, Touched by an Angel, and Judging Amy. Gould's film roles in the 1990s and 2000s include appearances in Stuart Little, Patch Adams, Master of Disguise, the 2003 remake of Freaky Friday, Nobody's Perfect, and Whisper of the Heart.
His stage credits include Broadway theatre plays such as Jules Feiffer's Grown Ups, Neil Simon's Fools, Richard Baer's Mixed Emotions, and Tom Stoppard's Artist Descending a Staircase. Gould won an Obie Award in 1969 for his work in The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, written by Václav Havel, and reprised the role for a 1988 PBS version of the play. Gould was an early and longtime (48 years) member of Theatre West, the oldest membership theatre company in Los Angeles. He played Mr. Green in Jeff Baron's Visiting Mr. Green" at the Pasadena Playhouse.
- National Velvet
- The Eleventh Hour
- The Donna Reed Show
- Empire as Judge Will in "Stopover on the Way to the Moon" (1963)
- Judging Amy
- Touched by an Angel
- The King of Queens
- Pacific Blue
- The Outer Limits
- Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
- The Golden Palace- Miles (Rose's boyfriend)
- The Golden Girls - Miles (recurring as Rose's boyfriend)
- The Rockford Files
- The Ray Bradbury Theater
- Empty Nest
- Night Court
- L.A. Law
- Scarecrow and Mrs. King
- St. Elsewhere
- Police Story
- Hawaii Five-O
- Rhoda - recurring
- Needles and Pins (1973) (Episode: "Union Trouble")
- The Streets of San Francisco
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show
- The Partridge Family
- The F.B.I.
- The Mod Squad
- Hogan's Heroes
- I Dream of Jeannie
- Mission: Impossible
- The Debbie Reynolds Show
- The Big Valley
- The Wild Wild West
- The Flying Nun
- The Fugitive
- The Green Hornet
- Get Smart
- That Girl - pilot only
- The Virginian
- The Jack Benny Show
- Dr. Kildare
- Mister Ed
- Perry Mason
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
- The Twilight Zone
- The Alfred Hitchcock Hour
- Dennis the Menace
- The Invaders
- The Feather and Father Gang (1976-1977 TV Series co-starring Stefanie Powers)
- Old Wicked Songs (2002) - Professor Josef Mashkan - Rubicon Theatre Company
- Tuesdays With Morrie (2005) - Morrie Schwartz - Rubicon Theatre Company
- Visiting Mr. Green (1999) - Mr. Green - Pasadena Playhouse
- The Skin of Our Teeth (1983) - Mr. Antrobus - Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, CA
- The House of Blue Leaves (1970) - Artie Shaughnessy - Truck and Warehouse Theatre, New York City, NY
- "Harold Gould". New York State Writers Institute. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- Harold Gould, What A Character!. Retrieved on 2006-08-13.[dead link]
- "Harold Gould". Filmbug. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "Harold Gould". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- Weber, Bruce (September 13, 2010). "Harold Gould, Character Actor, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
- McLellan, Dennis (14 September 2010). "Harold Gould dies at 86; veteran character actor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "History". Theatre West. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- Harold Gould at the Internet Movie Database
- Harold Gould at the Internet Broadway Database
- Harold Gould at Find a Grave
- Harold Gould at TV.com
- Harold Gould biography at Lycos Movies