Larry Storch, zany Cpl. Agarn on TV’s ‘F Troop,’ dies at 99

LA (Associated Press) – Larry Storch, the cartoonish comedian best known for his outrageous portrayal of Cpl. Agarn in the 1960s parody of Western frontier TV shows, died on Friday. Storch had a lengthy career in theatre, film, and television. Age 99 was Storch.

According to Storch’s manager, Matt Beckoff, the musician passed away peacefully early on Friday in his apartment in New York City.

Even though “F Troop” only ran on ABC for two seasons, from 1965 to 1967, it developed a cult following in reruns. Nearly every incident involving the exceedingly inept troops of Fort Courage and the local Native Americans who merely appeared to be at war with them could be recalled by its ardent followers.

Storch, playing the role of Agarn, was the wild-eyed sidekick and protégé of Forrest Tucker’s cunning Sgt. O’Rourke, who frequently plotted with Frank DeKova’s Chief Wild Eagle to defraud unwary tourists. Capt. Parmenter, played by Ken Berry, was the naive commander of Fort Courage.

Storch made numerous appearances in movies and TV shows both before and after “F Troop,” which gave him long-lasting stardom. He also had a long career in theatre and worked as a humorist at resorts in the Catskill Mountains of New York State.

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According to his management, he never regretted becoming best recognised for the series.

“He accepted it. He enjoyed working with his co-stars and adored playing Agarn, according to Beckoff. He described Storch as the “sweetest, kindest person,” who always made time for autograph seekers and was courteous to those in need.

“Funny Valentine,” “Sweet 16,” “Sex and the Single Girl,” “S.O.B.,” “Airport,” “Treasure Island,” and “Oliver Twist” were among the films that Storch worked on. He had appearances as a guest star on a number of television programmes, including “Married… with Children,” “Archie Bunker’s Place,” “Trapper John, M.D.,” “Fantasy Island,” “ChiPS,” “The Love Boat,” “Get Smart,” “Love American Style,” “Gilligan’s Island,” and “Car 54 Where Are You?”

His numerous stage roles ranged from Chief Sitting Bull in the 2000 revival of “Annie Get Your Gun” starring Reba McEntire to a ruthless detective in a 1983 Broadway production of “Porgy and Bess.”

Given that it was commonly known that Storch served in the Navy during World War II, he claimed in a 1998 interview that he was shocked to be given consideration for an Army comedy like “F Troop.” He chuckled, “All I knew about horses was that they can bite from both ends and provide milk.

In actuality, his career had been considerably helped by his time in the Navy. He had met Bernie Schwartz, a radio operator, during the battle in the Marshall Islands, and he had promised him, “I’m going to be a movie star.” Storch, an established comedian on the resort circuit, had made an effort to dissuade him by cautioning him that the industry may be challenging.

After the war, they crossed paths once more, and Schwartz, who had by this point adopted the name Tony Curtis, remembered the witty man from the islands. Storch continued to act in eight of Curtis’ films, including “The Great Race,” “Who Was That Lady?” and “Captain Newman.”

At DeWitt Clinton High School, Laurence Samuel Storch, who was born there and proudly recounted that he “was invited not to come back,” became the class clown.

Before moving on to the Catskills, the renowned training ground for comedians of his day, he honed his comedic skills in Harlem theatres for $2 per night.

Early in the 1950s, “The Cavalcade of Stars,” starring Jackie Gleason, gave him his major TV debut. The result was “The Larry Storch Show,” a summer 1953 television series. Then came regular TV and film work.

Norma Greve and Storch were wed from 1961 until her passing in 2003.

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