Ron Harper, Actor Known for ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Land of the Lost,’ Dead at 88

Ron Harper

Ron Harper, who had a big presence in the television world in the 1960s and '70s, died on Thursday, March 21, at his home in West Hills. He was 88.

Harper's daughter, Nicole Longeuay, shared the news with The Hollywood Reporter, noting that he passed away of natural causes.

Harper's career in the entertainment industry began at the start of the 1960s after he served in the U.S. Navy. He nabbed the role of understudy for acclaimed actor Paul Newman in the Tennessee Williams play Sweet Bird of Youth on Broadway in 1959 before kickstarting his career in television, although he would return to Broadway years later.

Throughout the 1960s, Harper starred in several compelling TV shows, including the crime drama 87th Precinct, the comedies Wendy and Me and The Jean Arthur Show, and the war drama Garrison's Gorillas. While all the projects were memorable, unfortunately, none of them continued past the first season.

In 1974, he starred as Alan Virdon in Planet of the Apes—the television spinoff to the popular film franchise—but it was also cancelled after one season. Despite this, Harper is often remembered for this role, as well as his performance in the final season of the show Land of the Lost in 1976.

Throughout the rest of his career, Harper spent a lot of time on soap operas like Generations and Another World, while also appearing in many different TV shows for small roles, including hits like Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place and Walker, Texas Ranger. He occasionally worked on films as well, with one of his most notable projects being 2001's Pearl Harbor starring Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale.

Harper is survived by his daughter Nicole, son-in-law Daniel, two grandchildren named Ronnie and Harper, and his ex-wife, Shirley.

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