Larry Storch, comic actor in TV sitcom ‘F Troop,’ dies at 99.
Larry Storch, a comic actor best known for his role as a bumbling corporal in the 1960s sitcom “F Troop,” set at the fictional Fort Courage in the Old West, died July 8 at his home in Manhattan. He was 99.
The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said his stepdaughter, June Cross.
Mr. Storch’s career stretched back to the 1930s, when he began working as a comedian and impressionist in burlesque houses, and included stand-up comedy, hundreds of television appearances, film and theater roles, and voice-over parts in animated films.
Yet it was a goofy sitcom that gave him his widest recognition, portraying the likable yet hapless Cpl. Randolph Agarn on “F Troop,” which ran from 1965 to 1967 on ABC and featured the shenanigans of an Army unit at a frontier outpost.
“How do you get to Fort Courage?” Mr. Storch’s character asked in one episode. “That’s easy. You take a right at the rock that looks like a bear, then a left at the bear that looks like a rock.”
Mr. Storch was the sidekick of the wily Sgt. Morgan O’Rourke, played by Forrest Tucker, who was continually hatches harebrained moneymaking schemes, often in cahoots with leaders of a local Indian tribe called the Hekawi. The commanding officer of the fort is an inept dilettante played by Ken Berry.
The show’s humor was often broad, farcical and built on crude cultural stereotypes, but Mr. Storch emerged as the comic star of “F Troop.” With his expressive face and gift for mimicry, he played Agarn as something between a rogue and buffoon, entangled in one misfiring plan after another.
Larry Storch, the rubber-faced comic whose long career in theater, movies and television was capped by his “F Troop” role as zany Cpl. Agarn in the 1960s spoof of Western frontier TV shows, died Friday. Storch was 99.
Storch died of natural causes early Friday in his New York City apartment, according to his manager, Matt Beckoff.
Although “F Troop” lasted only two seasons on ABC, from 1965 to 1967, it became a cult favorite in reruns. Its devoted fans could recite almost all of the adventures of the incredibly incompetent soldiers of Fort Courage and the members of the nearby Native American tribe who only pretended to be at war with them.
As Agarn, Storch was the wild-eyed partner and protege of Forrest Tucker’s wily Sgt. O’Rourke, who often schemed with Frank DeKova’s Chief Wild Eagle to fleece unsuspecting visitors. Ken Berry’s Capt. Parmenter was Fort Courage’s clueless commander.
While “F Troop” brought him lasting fame, Storch appeared in scores of films and TV shows both before and after the show. He also enjoyed a long career in theater and as a comic at resorts in New York State’s Catskill Mountains area.