Mr. Morgan — billed as Henry Morgan for much of his early career — was slight and balding and had a gravelly voice that could convey menace, irritation or wryness. Such versatility kept him in near-constant demand as a performer, and he became an instantly recognizable screen personality.
He had appeared in more than 100 films since the 1940s and was particularly effective as a witness to a lynching of alleged cattle rustlers in “The Ox-Bow Incident” (1943); a shadowy villain in “The Big Clock” (1948); a businessman who fears outlaws in “High Noon” (1952); and a small-town judge in “Inherit the Wind” (1960), based on the Scopes Monkey Trial.
Starting in the early 1950s, Mr. Morgan was a frequent movie sidekick to James Stewart in westerns (“Bend of the River,” “The Far Country”) and military dramas (“The Mountain Road,” “Strategic Air Command”). He also played pianist Chummy MacGregor in the 1953 musical biography of Glenn Miller, the swing bandleader portrayed by Stewart.
On television, Mr. Morgan had been a near-constant presence since the 1950s. He received an Emmy nomination for his role as the sardonic neighbor of Spring Byington in “December Bride,” which aired on CBS from 1954 to 1959. His work led to a CBS spinoff, “Pete and Gladys,” which ran from 1960 to 1962 and featured Cara Williams as Mr. Morgan’s scatterbrained wife.
He appeared in several films with actor Jack Webb, who became a TV star and producer of the police drama “Dragnet.” In the late 1960s, Mr. Morgan replaced Ben Alexander as sidekick to Webb’s Sgt. Joe Friday on “Dragnet” and acted in several other short-lived TV dramas created by Webb’s production company.
On the small screen, Mr. Morgan was best remembered for “M*A*S*H,” a long-running sitcom set during the Korean War, and for which he won an Emmy in 1980 as Col. Potter, a crusty cavalry veteran.
In the part, he took a seen-it-all approach to his aide, Cpl. Maxwell Q. Klinger, who wore women’s clothes in his quest for a discharge for psychological unfitness. “Soldiers, I’ve seen every dodge in the book,” Potter tells Klinger in one episode. “We had a man who pretended he was a mare — carried a colt around in his arms. Another thought he was a daisy and insisted on being watered every day. Get out of that frou-frou and back into uniform, soldier.”
Mr. Morgan joined the cast of “M*A*S*H” in 1975, three years into its run, after McLean Stevenson left the show. Mr. Morgan later told Parade magazine: “I don’t know just why they called me, to be perfectly frank. In the third year, I played a sort of crazy general in one episode, and they liked me.”
The last episode of “M*A*S*H,” in 1983, drew what was widely reported at the time to be the largest audience to watch a single TV program.