Larry Storch, the stand-up comic turned ubiquitous television actor who made an indelible impression as the bumbling Corporal Randolph Agarn on the 1960s sitcom F Troop, has died. He was 99.
His death was announced on his Facebook page. “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share with you the news our beloved Larry passed away in his sleep overnight. We are shocked and at a loss for words at the moment. Please remember he loved each and every one of you and would n’t want you to cry over his passing. He is reunited with his wife Norma and his beloved F Troop cast and so many friends and family. ”
Born in New York City – his Bronx accent would be used to enduring effect in his comic portrayals – Storch began his show business career as a stand-up comic and parlayed his popularity to a prolific and long-lasting television career, beginning in earnest on The Phil Silvers Show in 1958.
Soon Storch was making regular appearances on programs of the era, including The Ed Sullivan Show, and lending his distinctive voice to numerous cartoons including Koko the Clown and, most famously, as Mr. Whoopee in the popular mid-1960s animated series Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales.
Storch became a familiar presence on television, making appearances on Car 54, Where Are You?, Get Smart, Sergeant Bilko, That Girl, The Flying Nun, I Dream of Jeannie, The Doris Day Show, Gilligan’s Island, Gomer Pyle, USMC and, a bit later, even all in the family, in which he played a youth-seeking old pal of Archie Bunker.
But it was his performance as the dim-witted Agarn on the 1965-67 Wild West sitcom F Troop that provided his most enduring fame. Paired with Forrest Tucker’s scheming Sgt. Morgan O’Rourke at the ironically named Fort Courage military outpost, Storch brought a broad, vaudeville comic style to the show, doing for the Old West what Tim Conway was doing for World War II on McHale’s Navy.
Storch and Tucker made for a memorable comic team, making repeated use of the show’s signature catchphrase: After Agarn would have a surprisingly keen observation or idea, O’Rourke would offer, “Agarn, I don’t know why everybody says you’re so dumb.” Jumping to another scene, Agarn would respond with a very delayed and angry, “Who says I’m dumb?”
Though he would continue to make on-camera appearances in many TV series throughout his career – The Love Boat, Married…with Children, Knight Riderto name just a few, Storch found even greater success as a voice actor, creating hundreds of characters for such series as The Pink Panther Show, Groovie Goolies, The Brady Kids and Garfield and Friends.
Storch appeared often on stage as well, with Broadway credits including Porgy and Bess (1983), Arsenic and Old Lace (1986), Annie Get Your Gun (1999) and, in 2004, Sly Fox with Richard Dreyfuss and Irwin Corey.
Information on survivors was not immediately available.