US Actor Dies at 91

US Actor Dies at 91

( – American actor Ron Harper has died at the age of 91. His daughter Nicole Longeuay announced his death, saying he died peacefully at home on March 21 from natural causes. Harper enjoyed a long acting career, appearing on the cop show “87th Precinct” from 1961 to 1962 and on “Wendy and Me,” from 1964 to 1965. He went on to win roles on “The Jean Arthur Show” and “Garrison Gorillas” before landing the part of Alan Virdon on the “Planet of the Apes” TV series.

The “Planet of the Apes” show followed the smash hit franchise that stemmed from the 1968 classic starring Charlton Heston as an astronaut who crashes on a faraway planet inhabited by intelligent apes. He would later discover the planet was, in fact, Earth more than a thousand years in the future. However, the follow-up television series was not as successful and was pulled after just 14 episodes.

Ron Harper was born in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, in 1933. An accomplished straight-A student, he graduated from Princeton University and won a scholarship to Harvard but turned it down to focus on acting. Having served in the US Navy, primarily based in Panama, he returned to New York City and worked as Paul Newman’s understudy in “Sweet Bird of Youth” on Broadway.

In the 1950s, he moved to Los Angeles, and his TV career took off in 1960 with a role in NBC’s “Tales of Wells Fargo,” before “Wagon Train,” Shotgun Slade,” and his performance as Detective Bert Kling in “87th Precinct.”

Many of his movie credits came in later life and include “The Wild Season” in 1971, “Below Utopia” in 1997, “The Odd Couple II” in 1998, “Freedom Strike” the same year, “Pearl Harbor” in 2001, “Glass Trap” in 2005, and “The Poughkeepsie Tapes” in 2007.

The actor married twice and is survived by ex-wives Shirley Harper and Sally Stark, as well as his daughter, son-in-law Daniel, and two granddaughters Ronnie and Harper.

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