Character actor Harold Gould, a familiar face with more than 300 television shows and 20 films to his credit, died over the weekend at the age of 86. An actor who got his start late in the game after spending many years teaching drama, Gould was perhaps best known for playing Martin Morgenstern, father to Rhoda, on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its Valerie Harper-starring spinoff, a role that earned him one of five career Emmy nominations in 1978.
Here's Gould on Rhoda. (He enters around 2:40)
He also made an indelible impression playing con man Kid Twist in The Sting, opposite Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
Here's Gould in The Sting. (He enters around 2:50)
But of course, these are mere drops in the bucket of Gould’s expansive résumé, which stretched over 50 years and included everything from Hawaii Five-O to The Golden Girls (where he played Betty White’s boyfriend) to Gunsmoke to Dallas (and on and on and on), with Gould most often playing dapper, dignified men who have a soothing way with the ladies—and most of whom had Gould’s signature mustache.
On the big screen, Gould worked with comic greats like Mel Brooks (Silent Movie) and Woody Allen (Love And Death), and later slipped comfortably into grandfather roles in films like Stuart Little and 2003’s Freaky Friday. He had a close brush with TV immortality playing the father to Ron Howard’s character in the Love, American Style episode that spawned Happy Days: Gould passed on the series in order to play Karl Marx in a musical, later saying that he didn’t regret the decision because “I probably would have shot myself after two years. I need variety in my work.”
Gould definitely found that variety in his impressive bulk of screen credits—which are far too extensive to list here, so we’ll simply refer you to his sprawling IMDB profile—as well as many, many theater productions. Seemingly always working, his last appearance was in an episode of Nip/Tuck from earlier this year.