• 4 October 1914
  •  Salem, Massachusetts, USA

John Larch


Instantly recognizable American character actor with bulbous nose and heavily lined face, who could convey integrity or menace to equal effect. He first came to prominence on radio as (Captain) Starr of Space (1953), using ray guns to combat Martians and alien queens. Beginning in 1953, Larch accumulated an impressive resume of TV series credits, spanning almost the entire spectrum of the best western, crime and science-fiction shows the 1950's and 60's had to offer. His authoritarian personality and demeanor generally typecast him as police officers, military men, attorneys and politicians. Quite a few of these turned out to be either corrupt or outright villains. Point in case, his performance as a tough hood in The Phenix City Story (1955), described by Bosley Crowther as "stinging" in "hard malevolence" (New York Times, September 3, 1955). At his best, Larch was the nervous Mr. Fremont, father to the eminently dangerous Anthony (Bill Mumy) in the classic entry into The Twilight Zone (1959), 'It's a Good Life'. In The Invaders (1967) episode 'Genesis', he was again excellent as police officer Greg Lucather, at first skeptical, but subsequently swayed by irrefutable evidence to help in David Vincent's quest. On the big screen, he is perhaps best remembered as Harry Callahan's Chief of Police in the original Dirty Harry (1971).