Harry Townes

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Harry Rhett Townes
Actor Harry Townes on Thriller 1960.jpg
Townes performing on the NBC television series Thriller in the 1960 episode "The Cheaters".
Born (1914-09-18)September 18, 1914
Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama, U.S.
Died May 23, 2001(2001-05-23) (aged 86)
Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.
Resting place Maple Hill Cemetery (Huntsville, Alabama)
Alma mater University of Alabama or
Columbia University[1]
Occupation Actor
Episcopal priest
Years active 1949-1988

Harry Rhett Townes (September 18, 1914 – May 23, 2001)[2] was an American television and film actor who later in life became an Episcopalian priest.

Early life[edit]

Harry Townes was born in Huntsville, the seat of Madison County in northern Alabama. He graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, having developed his acting skills through the university drama club.[citation needed] (Townes' obituary in the Los Angeles Times says, "Townes attended the University of Alabama, but moved to New York in his early 20s to study acting. He graduated from Columbia University after finding acting roles in his undergraduate days.")[1]


Townes performed in several New York and Broadway stage productions, including summer stock. His Broadway credits include In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer (1968), Gramercy Ghost (1950), Twelfth Night (1949), Mr. Sycamore (1942), and Tobacco Road (1942).[3]

During World War II, he left the stage to enlist in the United States Army Air Corps. Discharged in 1946, he returned to the stage and then relocated to perform in Hollywood.

As a character actor, Townes was a familiar face to television viewers in the 1950s and 1960s. His expanded range led him to fill a variety of roles, and he avoided being typecast. He made five guest appearances on Perry Mason, including the role of title character Newton Bain in the 1964 episode, "The Case of the Woeful Widower." He also made three appearances on Bonanza and seven on Gunsmoke and in The Fugitive. He made single and double appearances on numerous other television series, including Star Trek: The Original Series. Besides appearing in twenty-nine films, he is credited with more than two hundred television roles. He gained a cult following with a younger audience for a guest shot on "The First", a two-part episode of The Incredible Hulk. He played Dell Frye, a man who also had the ability to transform into a Hulk-like creature. "The First" is one of the most popular episodes from the television series largely because of Townes' performance[4]

Personal life[edit]

Townes was ordained as an Episcopal priest in St. Paul's Cathedral on March 16, 1974. He served at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Hollywood. He retired from acting in 1989 and returned to his hometown of Huntsville, where he lived the remainder of his life.


Townes died at his home in Huntsville at the age of 86,[5] and his body was interred at Maple Hill Cemetery, also in Huntsville.

Selected film and television appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Harry Townes; Actor in Film and TV". Los Angeles Times. May 28, 2001. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  2. ^ allmovie Bio
  3. ^ "("Harry Townes" search results)". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  4. ^ “Harry Townes: Biography”, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), Turner Broadcasting System, a subsidiary of Time Warner, New York, N.Y. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  5. ^ "Deaths". The Living Church. Morehouse-Gorham Company. 5 August 2001. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  6. ^ TV appearances for Townes at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ Biography at Movies.com

External links[edit]