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Ron Harper, Land of the Lost and Daytime-TV Vet, Dead at 91

Ron Harper, an actor best known for short-lived TV series like Land of the Lost and Planet of the Apes, has died. He was 91.

Harper died Thursday of natural causes at his home. His daughter, Nicole Longeuay, confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter.

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The actor joined Sid and Marty Krofft’s Land of the Lost in its third (and what would be final) season, when — in one of TV’s most clumsy “switcheroos” — original cast member Spencer Milligan parted ways with the series due to compensation disputes, and kids Will and Holly’s dad, Rick, was abruptly replaced in the mysterious realm with their uncle, Jack.

Ron Harper
Ron Harper

Before that, however, he landed the role of astronaut Alan Virdon in CBS’ Planet of the Apes in 1974. The series was ushered in on the heels of the five Apes movies and starred Roddy McDowall, who played Cornelius and Caesar in four of the films. But due to the series’ high production costs and low ratings, it was cancelled after just 14 episodes.

Harper also appeared in installments Tales of Wells FargoThrillerWagon Train and The Tall Man, in addition to 87th Precinct, a police drama co-starring Robert Lansing and Norman Fell.

From 1990-1991, he played Peter Whitmore in the NBC soap opera Generations for 62 episodes. Later that decade, he held a number of additional TV guest spots on series like Beverly Hills, 90210Melrose PlaceWalker, Texas RangerThe West Wing, FBI: The Untold Stories and Cold Case.

On the film side of things, he starred in The Wild SeasonThe Odd Couple II and Pearl Harbor.

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