Harry Rhett Townes
was an American television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...
and movie actor.
Townes was born in Huntsville
Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the central part of the far northern region of the U.S. state of Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 Census....
, the seat of Madison County
Madison County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama, and is a major part of the Huntsville Metropolitan Area.It is also included in the merged Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. The county is named in honor of James Madison, fourth President of the United States of America, and the...
in northern Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...
. He graduated from the University of Alabama
The University of Alabama is a public coeducational university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States....
Tuscaloosa is a city in and the seat of Tuscaloosa County in west central Alabama . Located on the Black Warrior River, it is the fifth-largest city in Alabama, with a population of 90,468 in 2010...
, developing his acting skills in the university's drama club.
He performed in several New York and Broadway
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...
stage productions, including summer stock
For the article about the theatre genre, see Summer stock theatre.Summer Stock is a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical made in 1950. The film was directed by Charles Walters and stars Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Eddie Bracken, Gloria DeHaven, Marjorie Main, and Phil Silvers...
. During World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
he left the stage to enlist in the Army Air Corps. Discharged in 1946, he returned to the stage before moving on to perform in Hollywood.
As a character actor
A character actor is one who predominantly plays unusual or eccentric characters. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a character actor as "an actor who specializes in character parts", defining character part in turn as "an acting role displaying pronounced or unusual characteristics or...
, Townes was a familiar face to TV viewers in the 1950s and '60s. His expanded range led him to fill a variety of roles, and he avoided being typecast
In TV, film, and theatre, typecasting is the process by which a particular actor becomes strongly identified with a specific character; one or more particular roles; or, characters having the same traits or coming from the same social or ethnic groups...
. Besides appearing in 29 movies, he is credited with more than 200 television roles. He gained a cult following
A cult following is a group of fans who are highly dedicated to a specific area of pop culture. A film, book, band, or video game, among other things, will be said to have a cult following when it has a small but very passionate fan base...
with a younger audience for a guest shot on "The First", a two-part episode of The Incredible Hulk
. He played Dell Frye, a man who also had the ability to transform into a Hulk-like creature. "The First" is one of the most popular episodes from the TV series largely due to Townes' performance.
Townes was ordained as an Episcopal
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...
priest in St. Paul's Cathedral on March 16, 1974. He served at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Hollywood, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...
. He retired from acting in 1989 and returned to his hometown of Huntsville where he lived the remainder of his life.
At age 86, he died in Huntsville and was laid to rest in Maple Hill Cemetery.
Selected film and television appearances
- Westinghouse Studio One - "Success Story" (1952)
- Operation Manhunt (1954)
Justice is an NBC half-hour drama television series about attorneys of the Legal Aid Society of New York, which aired from April 8, 1954 to March 25, 1956. In the 1954-1955 season, Justice starred Dane Clark as Richard Adams and Gary Merrill as Jason Tyler. In the 1955-1956 season, William Prince...
Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman MacDonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West....
- 7 episodes, 1956–1971
- "Spring Term" as Bill Lee (15 December 1956)
- "Monopoly" as Ivy (4 October 1958)
- "Tail to the Wind" as Pezzy Neller (17 October 1959)
- "Tobe" as Tobe Hostader (19 October 1963)
- "Two Tall Men" as Abihu Howell (8 May 1965)
- "Malachi" as Malachi Harper (13 November 1965)
- "Lijah" as Hale Parker (8 November 1971)
- The Mountain
The Mountain refers in the context of the history of the French Revolution to a political group, whose members, called Montagnards, sat on the highest benches in the Assembly...
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the premiere of the show on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for over three decades...
- episodes "The Creeper" (June 17, 1956) and "My Brother Richard" (January 20, 1957)
- The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880...
- Have Gun Will Travel - episode "The Bostonian" as Henry Prince: Season 1, Episode 21 (1958)
- Perry Mason
Perry Mason is an American legal drama produced by Paisano Productions that ran from September 1957 to May 1966 on CBS. The title character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, is a fictional Los Angeles defense attorney who originally appeared in detective fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner...
(5 episodes, 1958–1966)
- The Troubleshooters
The Troubleshooters is a 26-segment half-hour adventure series starring Keenan Wynn as Kodiak and Bob Mathias as Frank Dugan, which aired new episodes on NBC Television from September 11, 1959, to April 10, 1960. Based on unusual events at international construction sites, the program was...
- episode "Moment of Terror" as Verne Lewis (1959)
- The DuPont Show with June Allyson
The DuPont Show with June Allyson is an American anthology drama series which aired on CBS from September 21, 1959 to April 3, 1961 with rebroadcasts continuing until June 12, 1961...
- episode "The Opening" as Falk (1959) and episode "The Visitor" as Rudolph Miller (1960)
Rawhide is an American Western series that aired for eight seasons on the CBS network on Friday nights, from January 9, 1959 to September 3, 1965, before moving to Tuesday nights from September 14, 1965 until January 4, 1966, with a total of 217 black-and-white episodes...
(4 episodes, 1959–1964)
Bonanza is an American western television series that both ran on and was a production of NBC from September 12, 1959 to January 16, 1973. Lasting 14 seasons and 430 episodes, it ranks as the second longest running western series and still continues to air in syndication. It centers on the...
- "The Mill" (1960)
- One Step Beyond
-Television:* Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond, an American anthology television series 1959-1961, hosted by John Newland* One Step Beyond , a program broadcast by Discovery Channel...
- Volume #4 - (1960)
- Thriller - "The Cheaters" (1960), "Dark Legacy" (1961)
- The Law and Mr. Jones
The Law and Mr. Jones is a 45-episode half-hour television crime drama starring James Whitmore. The series aired on ABC in two nonconsecutive seasons from October 7, 1960, to September 22, 1961, and again from April 19 to July 5, 1962...
- two episodes as Fowler (1961)
- Target: The Corruptors!
Target: The Corruptors! is a 35-episode crime drama starring Stephen McNally as newspaper reporter Paul Marino, which aired on ABC from September 29, 1961 to June 8, 1962. The character Jack Flood, Marino's undercover agent, was portrayed by Robert Harland...
- episode "The Fix" (1961)
- The Investigators (1961)
- The Outlaws
Outlaws is an NBC Western television series, starring Barton MacLane as U.S. marshal Frank Caine, who operated in a lawless section of Oklahoma Territory about Stillwater. The program aired 50 one-hour episodes from September 29, 1960, to May 10, 1962. The first season was shot in black-and-white,...
- three episodes as Frank Wagner (1960–1962)
- The Littlest Hobo
The Littlest Hobo is a Canadian television series based upon a 1958 American film of the same name directed by Charles R. Rondeau. The series first aired from 1963 to 1965 in syndication, and was revived for a popular second run on CTV from October 11, 1979 to March 7, 1985.All three productions...
- The Eleventh Hour
The Eleventh Hour is an American medical drama about psychiatry starring Wendell Corey, Jack Ging, and Ralph Bellamy, which aired sixty-two new episodes plus selected rebroadcasts on NBC from October 3, 1962, to September 9, 1964.-Series premise:...
as Mr. Lauderback in the episode "The Wings of the Morning" (1963)
- Kentucky Jones
Kentucky Jones is a half-hour comedy/drama starring Dennis Weaver as Kenneth Yarborough "K.Y. or Kentucky" Jones, D.V.M., a recently widowed former horse trainer and active rancher, who becomes the guardian of Dwight Eisenhower "Ike" "Wong, a 10-year-old Chinese orphan, played by Ricky Der...
(1965) as Charles Caldwell in "The Big Shot"
- The Wild Wild West
The Wild Wild West is an American television series that ran on CBS for four seasons from September 17, 1965 to April 4, 1969....
(2 episodes, 1965–1967)
- The Fugitive
The Fugitive is an American drama series produced by QM Productions and United Artists Television that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1967. David Janssen stars as Richard Kimble, a doctor from the fictional town of Stafford, Indiana, who is falsely convicted of his wife's murder and given the death...
- episodes "Fear in a Desert City" (1963), "Tug of War" (1964), "Scapegoat" (1965), "When the Wind Blows" (1965), and "Joshua's Kingdom (1966)
- Dr. Kildare
Dr. James Kildare is a fictional character, the primary character in a series of American theatrical films in the late 1930s and early 1940s, an early 1950s radio series, a 1960s television series of the same name and a comic book based on the TV show, and a short-lived 1970s television series...
(2 episodes, 1965–1966)
- The Monroes
The Monroes is a 26-segment Western television series which ran on ABC during the 1966-1967 season – the story of five orphans trying to survive as a family on the frontier in the area about what is now Grand Teton National Park near Jackson in northwestern Wyoming.Michael Anderson, Jr., then 24,...
- episode "The Friendly Enemy" as Joe Smith (1966)
Fitzwilly is a 1967 film by Delbert Mann, based on Poyntz Tyler's novel, A Garden of Cucumbers, adapted for the screen by Isobel Lennart...
- Disneyland - 2 episodes as Mr. Barlowe (1967)
- Star Trek - episode "The Return of the Archons" (1967)
- The Mod Squad
The Mod Squad is a television series that ran on ABC from September 24, 1968, until August 23, 1973. This series starred Michael Cole, Peggy Lipton, Clarence Williams III, and Tige Andrews...
- Episode "A Time To Love - A Time To Cry" (1968)
Emergency! is an American television series that combines the medical drama and action-adventure genres. It was produced by Mark VII Limited and distributed by Universal Studios...
- episode "Rip-Off" (1973) as Barney Olsen
- Ark II
Ark II is an American live-action science fiction series aimed at children that aired on CBS beginning in 1976 as part of its Saturday morning line-up...
(episode "Omega") - (1976) (a story and role very similar to those of his Star Trek appearance)
- The Incredible Hulk - episode "The First" as Dell Frye (1981)
- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century - episode "The Guardians" as The Guardian (1981)
- Angel of H.E.A.T. - (1982)
Voyagers! is an American science fiction time travel-based television series that aired on NBC during the 1982–1983 season. The series stars Jon-Erik Hexum and Meeno Peluce.-Plot:...
- episode "The Trial of Phineas Bogg" as Professor Garth (1983)
- The Warrior and the Sorceress
The Warrior and the Sorceress is an 81-minute motion picture directed by John C. Broderick and starring David Carradine, released in 1984 by New Horizons...
- Obituary in The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...