Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good as Gould

Following the demise this last weekend of actor Kevin McCarthy, I was hoping not to have to announce the passing of any more familiar entertainers for a while. No such luck. The latest victim of life’s inherent briefness: Harold Gould, who died on Saturday at age 86.

As The New York Times explained in its obituary:
Mr. Gould was probably best known for two television roles in which he played dignified, self-possessed and understanding men trying to look out for the women in their lives. In the 1970s, on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and later on its spinoff, “Rhoda,” he played Martin Morgenstern, the father of Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper), the best friend of Mary Richards (Ms. Moore). It was a role for a charmer; Martin was the patient and consoling parent, a foil for his brassy wife, Ida (Nancy Walker).

A decade and a half or so later, he was a regular guest star on “The Golden Girls” as a sweetly dashing widower who courts, more or less successfully, the sweetly ditzy Rose Nylund (Betty White).
All true enough. But since I’ve never been much of a sitcom watcher, my strongest memories of Gould--who held a Ph.D. in dramatic speech and literature from Cornell University (who knew?)--are of his playing con man Kid Twist in The Sting, and his casting as yet another charming confidence artist, Harry Denton, in the short-lived, 1976-1977 ABC-TV series The Feather and Father Gang. In that latter production, he played opposite Stefanie Powers. She was a lawyer and he was her ever-conniving father, who she’d hired as her principal investigator “to keep him out of trouble.” Gould also guest-starred in a number of other small-screen dramas, including The Rockford Files, Hawaii Five-O, Petrocelli, The Streets of San Francisco, Mannix, Ironside, and Cold Case. In addition, he appeared in Brown’s Requiem, the 1998 film adaptation of James Ellroy’s 1981 novel of the same name.

The Times reports that Gould died of prostate cancer.

READ MORE:The Late, Great Harold Gould,” by Mercurie (A Shroud
of Thoughts).

1 comment:

Naomi Johnson said...

I will always see him first as Kid Twist: a small role, but Gould gave it such polish and panache.

But I can't take any more sadness today.