Getty Images | YouTube/MeTV
Source: Getty Images | YouTube/MeTV

‘M*A*S*H’s Harry Morgan Lost 1st Wife of 44 Years & Had to Control His Anger in 2nd Marriage

Oyin Balogun
Jan 16, 2022
07:30 A.M.
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"M*A*S*H" star Harry Morgan lost his first wife after decades-long marriage when he was 44. However, the actor remarried but faced other struggles, including controlling his anger. 


American actor Harry Morgan created a rare legacy with his mastery in the entertainment industry. Since attaining fame, the actor remained top of the game throughout his TV and film career, spanning six decades. 

As an actor, Morgan featured in some of the most remarkable productions in Hollywood's history. However, while his career dabbled successfully on TV, the actor endured many tumultuous years in his personal affairs.

Actor Harry Morgan on "M*A*S*H" [left] Harry Morgan and wife Eileen Morgan attend 33rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 13, 1981 [right] | Photo: Getty Images



Morgan, a prolific character actor, starred in more than 100 films before the end of his long-standing career. Although famous to a younger generation of fans as Colonel Sherman T. Potter on the long-running army comedy, "M*A*S*H," the actor's career dated as far back as the 1940s.

Taking to Hollywood after initially working as a salesman, it wasn't long before Morgan's success arrived. Some of Morgan's '40s movies include 1942's "The Omaha Trail," "The Ox-Bow Incident," and "Wing and a Prayer" in 1944.

However, while Morgan was basking as a movie star, he also enjoyed wedding bliss off the camera. Morgan was married twice throughout his lifetime. His first was to Eileen Detchon.


Harry Morgan as Colonel Sherman Potter on the television show "MASH," late 1970s. | Photo: Getty Images

Sadly the couple's relationship was cut off when Eileen died in 1985 after being married for 45 years. Before her death, Morgan and his first wife had one son Daniel, who died in 1989.


Aside from Daniel, the movie icon was also father to three other sons. Morgan loved his first wife and cherished her memory even after her death.

In the episode "Change of Command" on "M*A*SH," Potter kept a portrait of Mildred on his desk and made loving comments on the image throughout the series. This photo, however, wasn't Mildred but Morgan's late wife, Eileen Detchon.

Portrait of American actors, from left, Alan Alda, as Captain Benjamin Hawkeye Pierce, Mike Farrell, as Captain B.J. Hunnicut, and Harry Morgan, as Colonel Sherman T. Potter, on the television show, California, circa 1981. | Photo: Getty Images



Morgan walked down the aisle for the second time with Barbara Quine, a marriage that often made headlines for various scandals. In 1996 the couple reportedly got mixed up in an argument, which resulted in Morgan beating up his wife. 

After Morgan got arrested, police reports revealed Quine had a red, swollen left foot, a one-quarter-inch cut near her right eye, and a bruised right arm. Morgan was charged to court, but the charges were eventually dropped when he agreed to attend anger management classes.

The movie legend was charged with spousal battery, which could have led to one year in prison and a fine of $6,000 if he was convicted. Reports showed that the Los Angeles police who received Quine's 911 call heard yelling and screaming inside the house, and the officers who arrived at the scene saw Quine limping.


Harry Morgan, who plays next-door neighbor Peter Porter on the comedy series "December Bride," as he poses with his arms crossed, on February 14, 1955. | Photo: Getty Images

Morgan was eventually released, and he didn't make headlines for another domestic mishap. However, his lawyer Harland Braun said the actor never hit his wife but only grabbed her as she destroyed their furniture during the dispute.



The "Support Your Local Sheriff" actor died after a long-standing career at age 96. The movie star died at his Los Angeles home. According to his daughter-in-law Beth's report, Morgan passed away after suffering from pneumonia. Reflecting on the deceased actor's personality, Beth said:

"He was side-splittingly funny, a very gentle and loving father-in-law. He was very humble about having such a successful career."

John Dennis as Tony, Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday, Harry Morgan as Officer Bill Gannon on "Dragnet" circa 1970 | Photo: Getty Images


Morgan's "M*A*S*H" co-star Mike Farrell also talked about the actor's character, which he described as being ''an imp" in an interview. Remembering how Morgan was, Farrell said:

"He was full of fun, and he was smart as a whip."


Although Morgan starred in a couple of renowned movies, his time playing Colonel Sherman T. Potter led to more fame. The entertainment icon also once admitted Colonel Potter was the best role he "ever had."

Harry Morgan as Colonel Sherman Potter on the television show 'MASH' as he appears on a cast reunion show, 1991. | Photo: Getty Images


"M*A*S*H" sure made Morgan a household name, and the star said he loved being an excellent officer with a great sense of humor. In 1980 Morgan won an Emmy Award for best in U.S. TV for his work on the CBS series. 

However, Morgan wasn't an original cast member on the hit CBS series. "M*A*S*H'' premiered in 1972, and Morgan made his first appearance (a guest appearance) on the show during its third episode.

He became a full-time cast member in 1975 after actor McLean Stevenson, who had played commanding officer, left the show.

Harry Morgan (1915 - 2011) as Officer Bill Gannon in the TV movie 'Dragnet,' circa 1966. | Photo: Getty Images


Morgan was in tears in 1983 during a news conference where he reflected on his time on "M*A*S*H." Remembering his time on the show, Morgan said his character made him a "better human being."

However, Morgan, who appeared on the anti-war comedy series from 1975 to 1983, notably starred in many hit projects, which earned him awards. In 1967, the actor starred as officer Bill Gannon on the television crime series "Dragnet."

Morgan's ability to effortlessly assume a dozen characters placed him on high demands even during the early days of his career. The late movie star started acting alongside big TV stars in the 1940s. 


Portrait of American actor Harry Morgan in costume as Colonel Sherman T. Potter on the television series 'MASH,' circa 1977. | Photo: Getty Images

In 1943 he appeared alongside Henry Fonda in "The Ox-Bow Incident;" He acted in "High Noon" with Gary Cooper in 1952, and he was in "The Glenn Miller Story" in 1954 with Jimmy Stewart. He also starred in "Inherit the Wind" in 1960 with Spencer Tracy.


Morgan maintained his acting career for many years, acting way into his 70s. At 70, he made appearances in two short-lived TV series, "Blacke's Magic" in 1986 and 1987's "You Can't Take It With You."

The "The Cat From Outer Space" star is survived by three sons and eight grandchildren. Morgan's son, producer Christopher Morgan, confirmed the actor's death in an email to Reuters.

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