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‘Planet of the Apes’ star dead aged 91

‘Planet of the Apes’ actor Ron Harper has died aged 91 credit:Bang Showbiz
‘Planet of the Apes’ actor Ron Harper has died aged 91 credit:Bang Showbiz

‘Planet of the Apes’ actor Ron Harper has died aged 91.

The Hollywood veteran – best known for playing astronaut Alan Virdon in the 1970s TV series based on the classic Charlton Heston sci-fi movie of the same name – passed away from natural causes at his home in West Hills, California.

His daughter Nicole told The Hollywood Reporter he died on Thursday (21.03.24), but the news was only confirmed on Monday (25.03.24.)

Ron also worked on TV series ‘Land of the Lost’ in 1976, and appeared in ‘The Tall Man’ and ‘Laramie’.

More recently, Ron worked alongside Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale in 2001’s ‘Pearl Harbor’ film.

His other notable movie appearances include ‘Below Utopia’ in 1997, ‘The Odd Couple II’ and ‘Freedom Strike’, both released in 1998.

His career in film and TV also included soap operas, including ‘Where the Heart Is’ and ‘Love of Life’.

He was offered a fellowship to Harvard Law School after attending Princeton, but turned it down to pursue a dream of acting.

Born in Turtle Creek, Pittsburgh, Ron moved to Hollywood to chase the dream and started his acting career in theatre in 1955.

In 1966 he said about why he decided not to go down the law route despite fears he was throwing away his education by trying to go into showbiz: “I kept saying to myself, ‘Should you waste your good education being an actor?’

“And that little voice within me kept saying things like, ‘What do you want to take that fellowship to Harvard Law for?

“Be an actor. Starving is fun... and like the fool that any actor has to be, I listened to that dumb little voice.”

Along with his daughter, Ron is survived by his son-in-law Daniel, granddaughters Ronnie and Harper and ex-wife Shirley, as well as his first spouse, the 85-year-old actress Sally Stark.