Ron Harper: Land of the Lost and Planet of the Apes actor dies at 91

Film and television star Ron Harper, who starred in Planet of the Apes, Land of the Lost, and more, has died at 91.

Last Updated on March 26, 2024

Ron Harper, Planet of the Apes, Land of the Lost, death, dies

Ron Harper, who starred in iconic science-fiction series like Planet of the Apes and Land of the Lost, has died at 91. His daughter, Nicole Longeuay, says her father died of natural causes at his home in West Hills on Thursday.

Ron Harper, with his golden hair, piercing eyes, and suave demeanor, was an understudy for Paul Newman on Broadway before playing notable roles like Alan Virdon in the Planet of the Apes series, Uncle Jack in Land of the Lost, and Peter Whitmore in the TV series Generations. Before striking it rich with roles that would increase his star power, Harper appeared in four series that never got a second season, including 87th PrecinctWendy and MeThe Jean Arthur Show, and Garrison’s Gorillas.

Thankfully, Planet of the Apes helped put Harper on executive’s watch lists. While Planet of the Apes didn’t last long on the air, Harper made enough of an impact that he began landing other gigs, such as the 1976 science-fiction series Land of the Lost. Harper played Uncle Jack for 13 episodes. However, Land of the Lost became a television staple, with Harper’s episodes airing multiple times, adding to his visibility.

“The stories were very good,” Harper said during an interview in 2005. “Each generation of children as they come up and are exposed to it like those stories and remember them, pass them right on. I have about three tapes, and I’ve been showing them to my daughter since she was 5. And she still, of all my series, loves Land of the Lost best.”

As a man of many talents, Ron Harper dabbled in stage and screen throughout his career. On television, he appeared on shows like Tales of Wells FargoThe Blue KnightLove of LifeLovingCapitol, and the teen-centric dramas Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place.

While contributing to the silver screen, Harper appeared in films like Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor, John Erick Dowdle’s The Poughkeepsie Tapes, Fred Olsen Ray’s Venomous, David S. Cass Sr.’s romantic drama Uncorked, Emily Moss Wilson’s sci-fi short Drink, and his final role, a TV movie titled Kidnapped: The Hannah Anderson Story.

We here at JoBlo would like to extend our sincere condolences to Mr. Harper’s family, friends, and fans. May he have safe passage to the Great Hereafter and rest knowing he entertained millions and more.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.