Harry Townes

Harry Rhett Townes (September 18, 1914 May 23, 2001)[1] was an American actor who later became an Episcopalian priest.

Harry Townes
Townes performing on the television
series Thriller in "The Cheaters", 1960
Harry Rhett Townes

(1914-09-18)September 18, 1914
DiedMay 23, 2001(2001-05-23) (aged 86)
Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.
Resting placeMaple Hill Cemetery
Alma materUniversity of Alabama
Columbia University
OccupationActor, Episcopal priest
Years active1949-1988

Early life

Harry Townes was born in Huntsville, Alabama. While attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Townes began landing acting roles. Upon graduation, he moved to New York City to study acting at Columbia University.[2]


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 in Star Trek: The Original Series. Besides appearing in 29 films, he is credited with more than 200 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, in which he portrays Dell Frye, a man with the ability to transform as well into a Hulk-like creature. "The First" is one of the more popular episodes from the television series largely because of Townes' performance[4]

Later years and death

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.

On May 23, 2001, 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 filmography


  1. allmovie Bio
  2. "Harry Townes; Actor in Film and TV". Los Angeles Times. May 28, 2001. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  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
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