Don Harron, Canadian Stage Actor and "Hee Haw" Star, Dies

News   Don Harron, Canadian Stage Actor and "Hee Haw" Star, Dies
 
Don Harron, a Canadian stage and television actor who was perhaps best known as a cast member of the long-running rural comedy sketch show “Hee Haw,” died Jan. 17 at his home in Toronto. He was 90.

Mr. Harron wore many hats over the course of his life, including composer, author, playwright and director. The variety of employment that would mark his career was evident early on. After appearing in a number of plays in Toronto in the early ‘50s, he made his television debut on the just-born CBC network. Both television and stage would play a big role on his resume from there on in.

He spent two years in London, performing in the West End production of A Streetcar Named Desire, acting in the film “The Red Shoes,” and writing and acting for the BBC. Back in Canada, he took part in the inaugural season of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, acting in All’s Well That End’s Well and Richard III. The 1950s also took him down to New York, where he played on Broadway in Home Is the Hero, The Dark Is Light Enough, Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables, The Broken Jug and Paddy Chayefsky’s The Tenth Man, directed by Tyrone Guthrie. In 1962 he played Edmond in a Central Park production of King Lear.

As a writer, Mr. Harron was a writer on “Sunshine Sketches,” the first English-language dramatic series on Canadian television. He co-wrote and directed the script for a 1956 TV musical of the novel “Anne of Green Gables,” and, a decade later, adapted his script for the stage—a show that is still performed every year at the Charlottetown Festival.

Elsewhere on TV, he acted in episodes of “The Outer Limits,” “Dr. Kildare,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “The Fugitive,” “Burke’s Law,” “Mission: Impossible,” “The F.B.I.” and “The Invaders.” But none of these gave him the exposure he got as Charlie Farquharson, the hayseed, rural news anchor on station KORN that he played for years on “Hee Haw.” Mr. Harron, who had created the character of Farquharson back in 1952 for a Canadian show called “The Big Revue,” wrote the material he spoke on the program. He later turned the role into a cottage industry, publishing several best-selling books in Canada using his Charlie Farquharson persona. These included "Charlie Farquharson's Histry of Canada" and "Charlie Farquharson's Jogfree of Canada, the Whirld and Other Places.”

Harron also hosted “The Don Harron Show” on the CTV network from 1983 to 1985. He received the Order of Canada in 1980. Mr. Harron was married four times. His fourth wife, Claudette Gareau, survives him, as does film director Mary Harron, his daughter with past wife Gloria Fisher, and two other daughters, Kelley and Martha.

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