The New York-born actor passed away Friday at age 99.
We’re playing taps for Larry Storch, the beloved comic actor best known for his two seasons on the endlessly rerun 1966-67 sitcom F Troop. The native New Yorker passed away Friday at his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He was 99.
A western spoof set during the years following the Civil War, F Troop featured Ken Berry as Captain Wilton Parmenter, the gallant but clueless commander of Fort Courage, a frontier outpost where the amiably corrupt Sergeant Morgan O'Rourke (Forrest Tucker) and Corporal Randolph Agarn (Storch) schemed to make as much money as possible through crooked wheeler-dealings with Chief Wild Eagle (Frank de Kova), leader of the (fictional) Hekawis tribe, while paying little or no heed to military protocol. Melody Patterson co-starred as Wrangler Jane, a straight-shooting spitfire who was mighty sweet on Parmenter.
Agarn was not the sharpest knife in the drawer — he often responded to O’Rourke’s latest get-rich-quick scheme with “That makes sense... not to me, but it makes sense!” — and Storch played the character so amusingly that he earned a 1967 Emmy Award nomination. Throughout the run of the series, Storch also periodically appeared as lookalike members of Agarn’s improbably far-flung family, including his French-Canadian cousin Lucky Pierre,] his Russian cousin Dmitri Agarnoff, and his Mexican bandito cousin Pancho Agarnado, a.k.a. “El Diablo.”
“If you tell a joke, if you can do it in dialect, you’re way ahead of the game,” Storch told the New York Times in a 2010 interview. “I had cousins who came from Moscow, Mexico, Montreal.”
Storch honed his talents for dialects and other funny business during his salad days as a stand-up comic, character actor, and vocal talent for animated TV shows. After F Troop, he continued work as vocal talent for animated movies and TV series such as Journey Back to Oz and The Pink Panther Show.
As an actor, Storch remained very active in stage, screen and television productions for decades after the ‘60s sitcom, guesting on TV series (All in the Family, Married… With Children) and appearing in films (Airport 1975, S.O.B., A Fine Mess) and Broadway revivals (Arsenic and Old Lace, Annie Get Your Gun, Sly Fox). In 1975, he and Tucker reunited to play bumbling detectives investigating supernatural phenomena in The Ghost Busters, a live-action Saturday morning children’s show that shared nothing but a title with the later Ghostbusters movies. More recently, he maintained an active Facebook page and posted TikTok videos.
“F Troop allowed me to get my foot in any door,” Storch said in 2010. But, like other actors who enjoyed TV stardom in the 1960s, he did not collect residuals as his signature series was rerun. “The most money I ever made,” he said, “was on a McDonald’s hamburger commercial.”