R.I.P. Ron Harper, actor in TV's ''Planet of the Apes'' and ''Land of the Lost''

His career spanned Broadway, sci-fi classics, and soap operas. The actor was 91.

The Everett Collection

Ron Harper, classic TV actor best known for his work in Seventies television, has passed away.

His break in show business came as Paul Newman's understudy in the Broadway play Sweet Bird of Youth. After a string of guest appearances on Westerns, he landed a main role on the one-season police drama, 87th Precinct. 

He continued to land starring roles in television series, though none of them lasted more than one season: 1964's comedy Wendy and Me, 1966's sitcom The Jean Arthur Show, and 1967's war drama Garrison's Gorillas.

In 1974, he landed a role as one of the human astronauts in the television series Planet of the Apes, based off the 1968 film of the same name. Unfortunately, the sci-fi show, which brought back Roddy McDowall from the original film and also starred Mark Lenard of Star Trek fame, had poor ratings that didn't justify the high cost of production, and was canceled after half a season.

In 1976, Harper joined another sci-fi classic, Land of the Lost. Spencer Milligan, who played Rick Marshall, left the cast after the second season due to financial disputes. Harper stepped in for the third and final season as his brother, Jack Marshall.

Though Harper was only on thirteen episodes of Land of the Lost, he remembered his time on the Krofft brothers series fondly. "I have about three tapes, and I’ve been showing them to my daughter since she was 5," the actor said in 2005. "And she still, of all my series, loves Land of the Lost best.” 

Later he became a mainstay on soap operas, doing work on Another World, Generations, Loving, and Capitol.

The actor was 91 years old.

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

10 Comments

PDCougar 16 days ago
It's been close to -- wow -- 50 years, and I'm surprised that no comic book company has yet done a continuation of the "Planet of the Apes" TV series.
Jameswest22 17 days ago
Planet of the Apes TV series opening titles / thorgak
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHWYuv36Mto
Crisco 21 days ago
I sure remember this man.never knew his real name until now.RIP
MeFanFromSavan 22 days ago
I remember watching the Planet of the Apes tv series, also starred the older Naughton brother.
Ajax 22 days ago
Pittsburgh born and raised. Turtle Creek High School.
JimmyAngel 22 days ago
I watched both Land of the Lost and Planet of the Apes, I enjoyed both of them
Runeshaper 23 days ago
R.I.P. Ron Harper. Land of the Lost and Planet of the Apes were both GREAT!
McGillahooala 23 days ago
Loved him on both Land of the Lost and Planet of the Apes.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?