Veteran character actor Howard Morton, who had recurring roles on numerous Norman Lear television series, has died following a stroke. He was 71. Morton died May 11 from complications at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank.For five seasons (1981-86), Morton played bumbling police officer Ralph Simpson on the NBC-TV sitcom “Gimme a Break.” More recently, he co-starred as Grandpa in the syndicated series “The Munsters Today.” But it was on Lear shows, including “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons,” “One Day at a Time” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” that Morton had the most frequent roles. Morton also had stage and movie credits, including legit productions of “Auntie Mame,” “Mornings at Seven” and “Fancy Meeting You Again.” Born May 15, 1925, in New York, Morton moved to Hollywood in the 1960s. He is survived by a sister. A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at the North Hollywood Church of Religious Science.
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