Stand-up comic and character actor Larry Storch is well known for his role in the 1960s TV comedy ‘F Troop.’ He also appeared in over 25 films and provided voices for characters in cartoons such as ‘Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales,’ ‘Underdog,’ and ‘Scooby Doo, Where Are You!’
Larry Storch was born January 8, 1923 in New York City. He appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in the late 1940s. He acted as emcee on Cavalcade of Stars in the early 1950s. Also around this time, he made his film debut in The Prince Who Was a Thief. In 1953, he starred in The Larry Storch Show, his own TV variety program. In the 1960s, he played Corporal Randolph Agarn on the popular television show F Troop and went on to appear in over 25 films. In addition to his film and television work, Storch provided voices for characters in the cartoons including Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales (1963), Underdog (1964), The Pink Panther Show (1969) and Scooby Doo, Where Are You! (1969).
Veteran stand-up comic and character actor Larry Storch was born on January 8, 1923, in New York City. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School with Don Adams who, like Storch, found television fame in the sitcom Get Smart. A natural born mimic, Storch dropped out of school to pursue a comedy career at the age of 16. He served in the United States Navy. along with actor Tony Curtis, during World War II.
Over the years, Storch developed a popular comedy act and then a successful television career. One of his first appearances on television was on The Ed Sullivan Show in the late 1940s. Storch later filled in for Jackie Gleason as the emcee of Cavalcade of Stars, a popular variety show, in the early 1950s. Around this time, he also made his film debut in The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951) with his off-screen friend Tony Curtis. In 1953, he starred in The Larry Storch Show, his own variety show which appeared as a summer replacement for The Jackie Gleason Show. Storch entertained viewers with characters from his stand-up act, such as television cowboy Smilie Higgins, as a part of the show.
In the later part of the decade, Storch worked in television, films, and on the stage. He impressed audiences with his comedic talents on such programs as The Steve Allen Show. On Broadway, Storch appeared in the comedy Who Was That Lady I Saw You With? in 1958. (He later reprised his role for the 1960 film adaptation, which starred Tony Curtis, Dean Martin, and Janet Leigh.) The following year, he had a role in the war drama The Last Blitzkrieg (1959) with Van Johnson and Dick York.
In the early 1960s, Storch had a recurring role in the police comedy series, Car 54, Where Are You? This was soon followed by his leading role as goofy Corporal Randolph Agarn in F Troop. Premiering in the fall of 1965, the show followed the exploits of a dysfunctional military unit at Fort Courage in the West. Agarn was in cahoots with Sergeant Morgan O'Rourke (Forrest Tucker) and the pair were involved in a number of schemes under the nose of their commander, Captain Wilton Parmenter (Ken Berry). The soldiers also had interesting encounters with Native Americans in the region, usually Chief Wild Eagle (Frank DeKova) and Crazy Cat (Don Diamond). In addition to the series regulars, the show featured a number of guest stars, including Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, and Milton Berle. Storch received an Emmy Award nomination for his work on the series. While the show only lasted for two seasons, it developed quite a following and ran for years in syndication.
Storch's next television venture would not be as memorable. On the air for only five months in 1969, The Queen and I centered on the crew of an old cruise ship. Storch starred as Charles Duffy, the ship's scheming purser, who tries to save the fading vessel from the scrap yard.
In addition to acting on screen, Storch had a successful career lending his voice to animated projects. He began as the voice of Koko the Clown in the early 1960s and later could be heard on episodes of Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, Underdog, The Pink Panther Show, Scooby Doo, Where Are You! and The Brady Kids.
Success on Broadway
In the 1980s, Storch returned to the stage, appearing in a 1983 Broadway revival of the musical Porgy and Bess. Storch then joined the cast of the 1986 staging of the classic comedy Arsenic and Old Lace with Polly Holliday, Tony Roberts, Jean Stapleton, and Abe Vigoda. In 2001, Storch appeared in Annie Get Your Gun with Reba McEntire in the lead role as the famous female sharpshooter. While playing Chief Sitting Bull in a touring production of the show, he told Entertainment Weekly how his TV past sometimes caught up with him. "Even when I would come out under feathers, you'd hear people yelling from the balcony, 'Aaaaa-garn, where's F Troop?" It's embarrassing, but it's flattering."
Storch played the chief of police in the revival of the comedy Sly Fox in 2004. He also appeared in two films around this time, Bittersweet Place (2005) and Funny Valentine (2005) with Anthony Michael Hall.
Storch was married to Norma Greve from 1961 until her death from cancer in 2003. The couple had one daughter, Candace, before they were married in 1947. They gave Candace up for adoption, but reunited with her when she was an adult. Storch also has a stepson, Lary May, Norma's son with her first husband, surfer Jack May; and a stepdaughter June Cross, Norma's daughter with Jimmy Cross, the African-American vaudeville performer who was part of the song-and-dance act Stump and Stumpy. June Cross produced Secret Daughter (1996), an award-winning documentary for Frontline about her childhood and how her mother asked an African-American family to raise her when her skin became "too dark to pass for white." June spent her childhood living with her African-American family and visiting the Storches on her summer vacations.