Harold Gould

Harold Vernon Gould (December 10, 1923 – September 11, 2010) was an American character actor. He appeared as Martin Morgenstern on the sitcom Rhoda (1974–78) and Miles Webber on the sitcom The Golden Girls (1989–92). A five-time Emmy Award nominee, 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. He was known for playing elegant, well-dressed men (as in The Sting), and he regularly played Jewish characters and grandfather-type figures on television and in film.[1]

Harold Gould
Gould in 2010
Harold Vernon Goldstein

(1923-12-10)December 10, 1923
DiedSeptember 11, 2010(2010-09-11) (aged 86)
Years active1961–2010
Lea (Shampanier) Vernon (m. 1950)

Early life

Gould was born to a Jewish family in Schenectady, New York. He was the son of Louis Goldstein, 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 battalion.[1] He developed trench foot, and was sent to England to recover. After convalescence, Gould served in a rail transport unit in France.[2]

After the war, Gould returned to Albany Teachers College to study drama, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1947.[3] 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.[2] He made his professional theatre debut in 1955 as Thomas Jefferson in The Common Glory in Williamsburg.[4]

In 1956, Gould was offered a professorship in the drama department at the University of California, Riverside,[3] which he accepted. He taught there until 1960, when he decided to try professional acting himself.[2] 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.[1]

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). In 1962 he appeared as Prosecutor Tom Finney on the TV western The Virginian in the episode titled "The Accomplice." 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, I Dream Of Jeannie, 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 & 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).[5]

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.[6]

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 (1973); he appeared in Woody Allen's Love and Death (1975); as the villainous head of a conglomerate in Silent Movie (1976, directed by Mel Brooks), and made guest appearances on television shows such as Hawaii Five-O (multiple appearances as Honore Vashon, one of the series' most memorable villains), Petrocelli, The Love Boat and Soap, where he played the hospital roommate of Jody Dallas (Billy Crystal) who has suicidal feelings while deciding whether or not to undergo a sex change.

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. Gould appeared in the short-lived 1977 series The Feather and Father Gang, starring as Harry Danton, a smooth-talking ex-con man, with Stefanie Powers as Toni "Feather" Danton, his daughter and a hard-working, successful lawyer. The show was canceled after 13 episodes, and Gould returned to Rhoda for the remainder of its run.

Gould 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.[4] 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 another of Rose's boyfriends, 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, The 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.[1] Gould was an early and longtime (48 years) member of Theatre West, the oldest membership theatre company in Los Angeles.[7] He played Mr. Green in Jeff Baron's Visiting Mr. Green" at the Pasadena Playhouse.


Gould died from prostate cancer on September 11, 2010.[6] He had two sons, Joshua and Lowell, and a daughter, Deborah. He and Lea were married for 60 years.



Year Title Role Notes
1951 The Man from Planet X Frightened Villager Uncredited
1962 The Couch Hollingsworth Uncredited
Two for the Seesaw Bit Uncredited
1963 The Yellow Canary Ponelli
1964 Marnie Mr. Garrett - Manager of Farm Uncredited
1965 The Satan Bug Dr. Ostrer Uncredited
The Spy with My Face Doctor
Inside Daisy Clover Cop on Pier
1966 Harper Sheriff
An American Dream Ganucci's Attorney
1968 Project X Col. Holt
1969 The Arrangement Dr. Leibman
1970 The Lawyer Eric P. Scott
1971 Mrs. Pollifax-Spy Nexdhet
1972 Where Does It Hurt? Dr. Zerny
1973 The Sting Kid Twist
1974 The Front Page The Mayor
1975 The Strongest Man in the World Regent Dietz
Love and Death Anton
1976 Silent Movie Engulf
The Big Bus Professor Baxter
Gus Charles Gwynn
1978 The One and Only Hector Moses
1980 Seems Like Old Times Judge John Channing
1984 The Dream Chasers Telford Stampley
1986 Playing for Keeps Rockefeller
1989 Romero Francisco Galedo
1991 Birch Street Gym Jack Short
1995 Whisper of the Heart Shiro Nishi English version, Voice
Killer: A Journal of Murder Old Henry Lesser
Lover's Knot Alan Smithee
Flesh Suitcase
1998 My Giant Milt Kaminski
1998 Beloved Barber Shop Man #4 Uncredited
1998 Patch Adams Arthur Mendelson
1998 Brown's Requiem Solly K
1999 Stuart Little Grandpa Spencer
2001 Dying on the Edge Arthur
2002 The Master of Disguise Grandfather Disguisey
2003 Freaky Friday Grandpa
Brother Bear Old Denahi Voice
Nobody's Perfect Short
2005 English as a Second Language Wayne


Year Title Role Notes
1961–1963 Dennis the Menace Mr. Sparks / Tramp 2 episodes
1961–1965 Dr. Kildare Earl McCloskey / Dr. Peter Duey / Frank the Cop 3 episodes
1962 National Velvet Episode: "The Rumor"
1962 The Donna Reed Show Cal Winslow Episode: "Rebel with a Cause"
1962–1963 The Eleventh Hour Judge / Eric Stanger / Paul Brauner 3 episodes
1962–1965 Hazel Judge Winston / Mr. Wheeler / TV Announcer / Mr. Prior 4 episodes
1962–1965 The Virginian Lacey / John Marshall Harrison / John Anderson / Adam Pendleton / Prosecutor Black / Prosecutor Tom Finney 6 episodes
1963 Empire Judge Will Episode: "Stopover on the Way to the Moon"
1963 The Twilight Zone General Larrabee Episode: "Probe 7, Over and Out"
1963 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour District Attorney Episode: "How to Get Rid of Your Wife"
1964 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Doctor Episode: "The Double Affair"
1964 Perry Mason Lawrence West Episode: "The Case of the Latent Lover"
1964–1965 The Jack Benny Show Director / Mr. Hunter, First IRS Man / DMV Clerk - Corrects Exam 5 episodes
1964–1967 The Fugitive Tom Crailer / Dr. Willis / Eller - Interviewer 3 episodes
1964–1974 Gunsmoke Lucius Shindrow / Hadley Boake 3 episodes
1965 That Girl Lew Marie Episode: "What's in a Name?"
1965 Mister Ed Psychiatrist Episode: "Ed the Pilot"
1965–1972 The F.B.I. George Hale / Vincent Millard / Israel Jacobs / Martin Eldon / Doctor / Arnold Bruzzi / Dave Rice / Hans Hunter 7 episodes
1966 The Green Hornet Calvin Ryland Episode: "May the Best Man Lose"
1966–1970 Hogan's Heroes General von Schlomm / General von Scheider / General Von Lintzer 4 episodes
1967 The Invaders Allen Slater / Dr. Paul Mailer 2 episodes
1967–1968 The Flying Nun Rabbi Mendez / Father Sweeney 2 episodes
1967–1968 The Wild Wild West John Taney / Victor Freemantle 2 episodes
1967–1969 The Big Valley Captain Crawford / Harry Davis / Judge William Daggett / Major Wilson 3 episodes
1967–1980 Insight God (Old Man) / Beggar / God / Jonathan / Morris Gertz / Eddie 7 episodes
1969 The Debbie Reynolds Show Whitaker Episode: "That's Debbie"
1969 Mission: Impossible Vincente Bravo Episode: "The Code"
1969 I Dream of Jeannie General Whetherby / Mr. Winkler 2 episodes
1971 Columbo Agent Carlson Episode: "Ransom for a Dead Man"
1971 The Mod Squad Lester Chennery Episode: "Real Loser"
1971 A Death of Innocence Alexander Weisberg TV movie
1971–1975 Cannon Colonel Mirza / Robert L. Jardine / Nicholas Troas 3 episodes
1972–1973 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Martin Morgenstern 2 episodes
1972–1974 The Streets of San Francisco Joseph Francis / Arthur Lavery 2 episodes
1972–1975 Hawaii Five-O Honore Vashon 4 episodes
1973 The Partridge Family Walter Yost Episode: "Beethoven, Brahms and Partridge"
1973 Ironside Martin Geller Episode: "The Armageddon Gang"
1973 Needles and Pins Joe Episode: "Union Trouble"
1974–1976 Petrocelli Haskell Fox 3 episodes
1974–1977 Police Story Emmett Parnell / Sam Grossman / Andrea Basic 3 episodes
1974–1978 Rhoda Martin Morgenstern 17 episodes
1976–1977 The Feather and Father Gang TV Series (co-starring Stefanie Powers) as Harry Danton 14 episodes
1977 Soap Barney Gerber 4 episodes
1979 The Rockford Files Mr. Brockelman 2 episodes
1979 11th Victim Benny Benito TV movie
1979 The Man in the Santa Claus Suit Dickie Dayton TV movie
1980 Kenny Rogers as The Gambler Stowbridge TV movie
1980 The Scarlett O'Hara War Louis B. Mayer TV movie
1980 King Crab Mr. Campana
1984 St. Elsewhere Melvin Millstein 2 episodes
1985–1992 The Golden Girls Miles Webber / Arnie Peterson 13 episodes
1986 Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry Dr. Marvin Elias TV movie
1986 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Andrei Zernov Episode: "One Bear Dances, One Bear Doesn't"
1986 L.A. Law Harry Finneman Episode: "Simian Chanted Evening"
1986 Night Court Walter Wise Episode: "New Year's Leave"
1989 Empty Nest Dr. Stanfield Weston Episode: "Man of the Year"
1989 Midnight Caller Charlie Drexol Episode: "Blues for Mr. Charlie"
1989–1992 The Ray Bradbury Theater Colonel Stonesteel / Old Man 2 episodes
1990 Dallas Dr. Wexler 2 episodes
1990 Singer & Sons Nathan Singer 4 episodes
1992–1993 The Golden Palace Miles, Rose's boyfriend 2 episodes
1994–1995 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Edwin Griffin 2 episodes
1996 The Outer Limits Gerry Episode: "Paradise"
1996 For Hope David 'Dave' Altman TV movie
1996–2001 Touched by an Angel Albert Einstein / Sam Moskowitz 2 episodes
1997 The Love Bug Dr. Gustav Stumpfel TV movie
1998 Felicity Dr. William Garibay Episode: "Hot Objects"
1999 Pacific Blue Episode: "Hostile Witness"
2000 The King of Queens Irv Glassman Episode: "Surprise Artie"
2003 Judging Amy Arthur Episode: "Maxine Interrupted"
2010 Nip/Tuck Walter Krieger Episode: "Walter and Edith Krieger"
(final appearance)



  1. "Harold Gould". New York State Writers Institute. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  2. Harold Gould, What A Character!. Retrieved on 2006-08-13. Archived June 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. "Harold Gould". Filmbug. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  4. "Harold Gould". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  5. Weber, Bruce (September 13, 2010). "Harold Gould, Character Actor, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-06-20.
  6. McLellan, Dennis (14 September 2010). "Harold Gould dies at 86; veteran character actor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
  7. "History". Theatre West. Archived from the original on 2014-11-27. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
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