Character actor Harold Gould, who played Kid Twist in “The Sting,” died Sept. 11 in Woodland Hills, Calif. of prostate cancer. He was 86.
In nearly 200 roles, Gould played the fake tipster in the 1973 George Roy Hill pic. On TV the thesp played Betty White’s b.f. in “Golden Girls” and Valerie Harper’s father in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and later on “Rhoda.”
Gould, who held a doctorate in theater, taught speech and drama at Cornell U. after serving in the army during World War II. He decided to get real world legit experience and turned pro in the 1960s appearing Off Broadway. He won an Obie for his work in “Increased Difficulty of Concentration.” On Broadway he appeared in Neil Simon’s “Fools,” Jules Pfeiffer’s “Grown Ups,” and Tom Stoppard’s “Artist Descending a Staircase,” among other plays.
Transferring to the Left Coast, Gould worked in TV through the 1960s and ’70s. Besides “Rhoda” and “Mary Tyler Moore” he had recurring roles in series such as “The Rockford Files,” “Hogan’s Heroes” and “The Fugitive.” Gould famously appeared in the pilot for “Happy Days” a part that later went to Tom Bosley and again lost out the role of Marlo Thomas’ father in “That Girl,” after the pilot to Lew Parker.
Still he didn’t lack for work, and after his role in “Sting,” he appeared in Woody Allen’s “Love and Death,” and Mel Brooks’ “Silent Movie,” among others. He also was featured in the mini “Washington: Behind Closed Doors,” and “Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry,” for which he earned an Emmy nom. Gould also earned Emmy nominations for his work on “Police Story,” “Rhoda,” NBC’s “Movieola,” and “The Ray Bradbury Theater.”
Gould’s last outing was in FX’s “Nip/Tuck.”
Survivors include his wife, Lea; two sons; and a daughter.