Harry Bartell (Harry Bartell)

Harry Bartell

Radio and Television Actor, Announcer. He was one of the most prominent West Coast character actors from the early 1940s until the final end of network radio drama in the 1960s. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, he grew up in Houston, Texas where he graduated from high school and from Rice University in 1933. He got his first start doing radio performances at radio station KRPC in Houston. After attending the Harvard Business School, he moved to Los Angeles, California and worked in retail. He then decided to pursue a career in the radio entertainment business, working at radio station KFWB, and became a favorite of producer/director Norman MacDonnell, performing frequently on “Escape” (notably as Ronald Dawson in ‘The Second Class Passenger’ and Peyton Farquar in Ambrose Bierce’s ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’), and was a leading member of the “Gunsmoke” repertory company. He was with the “Gunsmoke” series from the first broadcast on April 26, 1952 until the last show on June 18, 1961; his roles ranged from friendly townspeople to victims to heavies, from the occasional role of Dodge City printer ‘Mr. Hightower’ to famed gunslinger Doc Holliday in a 1952 episode. With fellow actor Vic Perrin, he also co-wrote two episodes near the end of the radio run, and appeared many times on the TV version of Gunsmoke, sometimes reprising his radio roles. He also worked on other radio Westerns such as “The Six Shooter,” “Frontier Gentleman,” “Have Gun Will Travel,” and “Fort Laramie” (a regular, as Lieutenant Seiberts). Other recurring radio parts included a stint as one of several actors to play Archie Goodwin in “The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe,” Tommy Brooks on the situation comedy “The Charlotte Greenwood Show,” and as Officer Ed Miller on “Rogers of the Gazette.” As an announcer, he performed on “The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” for several years, interviewing the character Doctor Watson and segueing into commercials for Petri Wine. He also announced on Silver Theater in the 1940s and on the radio version of “Dear Abby” from 1960 until 1972. Other radio acting jobs included multiple roles in Norman Corwin’s “VE Day” special ‘On a Note of Triumph,’ frequent appearances on Jack Webb’s shows “Dragnet” and “Pete Kelly’s Blues,” and episodic parts on “The Modern Adventures of Casanova” (starring Errol Flynn), “My Favorite Husband,” “The Saint,” “Suspense,” and “Lux Radio Theater.” In films and television, his youthful voice was revealed to come from a silver-haired figure. His TV appearances included guest roles on “Get Smart,” “I Love Lucy,” “Wild Wild West,” and “The Twilight Zone”. He was also an active photographer, with many of his photos of the “Gunsmoke” cast appearing in the 1990 book on the series “Gunsmoke: A Complete History.” In 1975 he retired from acting and moved to Oregon. His final radio appearance was on Seattle radio producer Jim French’s series “The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” where he guest starred as a blustery American publisher in an August 2003 episode. He died of natural causes at his home in Ashland, Oregon at the age of 90. (bio by: William Bjornstad)


  • November, 29, 1913


  • February, 02, 2004
  • USA


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