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

LOS ANGELES, California — Larry Storch, the rubber-faced comedian whose long career in theater, film and television was crowned by his “F-Troop” role as the mad Cpl. Agarn died on Friday while parodying western frontier TV shows in the 1960s. Stork was 99.

Storch died of natural causes at his New York City home early Friday, according to his manager Matt Beckoff.

Although “F Troop” only lasted two seasons on ABC, from 1965 to 1967, it became a cult favorite in reruns. His devoted fans could recite almost all the adventures of Fort Courage’s incredibly incompetent soldiers and 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 protégé of Forrest Tucker’s wily Sgt. O’Rourke, who often schemed with Frank DeKova’s Chief Wild Eagle to outwit unsuspecting visitors. Ken Berry’s Captain Parmenter was the unsuspecting commander of Fort Courage.

While “F Troop” brought him enduring fame, Storch appeared in numerous films and television shows both before and after the show. He also enjoyed a long career in theater and comedy in resort towns in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.

He has never regretted being best known for the series, his manager said.

“He embraced it. He loved being Agarn” and enjoyed working with his co-stars, Beckoff said. Stork is the “loveliest, sweetest person” who always has time for people looking for autographs and is generous to people in need, he said.

Storch’s credits included “Funny Valentine”, “Sweet 16”, “Sex and the Single Girl”, “SOB”, “Airport”, “Treasure Island” and “Oliver Twist”. On television, he has made guest appearances on such shows as Married…With Children, Archie Bunker’s Place, Trapper John, MD, Fantasy Island, CHiPS, The Love Boat, Get Smart. ,” “Love American Style,” “Gilligan’s Island,” and “Car 54 Where Are You?”

His many theatrical credits have ranged from a brutal detective in a 1983 Broadway revival of Porgy and Bess to playing Chief Sitting Bull in the 2000 reboot of Annie Get Your Gun, starring Reba McEntire.

Storch said in a 1998 interview that he was surprised to be considered for an Army comedy like “F Troop” given that he was known to have served in the Navy during World War II. “All I knew about horses was that they can milk and bite from either end,” he quipped.

In fact, it was his naval service that had greatly advanced his career. During the war he had met a radio operator in the Marshall Islands named Bernie Schwartz who had told him, “I’m going to be a movie star.” Storch, already a veteran comedian on the resort circuit, had tried to talk him out of it by warning him that business might be difficult.

They met again after the war, and Schwartz, who had since changed his name to Tony Curtis, remembered the funny fellow from the islands. Storch later appeared in eight of Curtis’ films, including Captain Newman, Who Was That Lady?. and “The Great Race”.

Laurence Samuel Storch was born in New York City, where he proudly recalled later becoming a class clown at DeWitt Clinton High School and “getting invited not to come back.”

He practiced his comedy in Harlem’s $2-a-night theaters before graduating from the famous comedian training ground of the day, the Catskills.

He had his first big break on television in the early 1950s with Jackie Gleason’s The Cavalcade of Stars. This led to The Larry Storch Show, a 1953 summer series. Regular film and television work followed.

Storch was married to Norma Greve from 1961 until her death in 2003.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Larry Storch, zany Cpl. Agarn on TV’s ‘F Troop,’ dies at 99

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