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October 4, 1914
Salem, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||October 16, 2005 (aged 91)|
|Resting place||Mount Sinai Memorial Park|
|Other names||Harry Larch|
(m. 1955 - 1988, her death)
Early life and military service
John Larch was born Harold Aronin to Jewish parents in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1914. Nicknamed "Harry" in childhood, Larch was the younger of two children of Mitchell Aronin and Rose (née Larch) Aronin, both of whom immigrated to the United States from Russian-occupied areas of Poland prior to 1908. According to Massachusetts birth registries and federal census records, Mitchell supported his family as a "cutter" in shoe factories. By 1920, the Aronins had moved to New York City, where Mitchell continued to work as a shoe cutter.
Larch served four years in the United States Army during World War II, an experience that left him troubled for years after his discharge. In a 1965 interview with The Berkshire Eagle, a newspaper in his home state, he shared his views on how military service had affected him personally, especially his difficulties in readjusting to civilian life:
What was my hangup then? Just about everything. I was looking for the four years I had lost in service. I was also looking for a rhyme or reason to the mass murders that took place. I was looking for the ideals I had once had. I was disgusted with the world — a world in which civilians acted as though there hadn't been a worldwide holocaust.
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After his lead role in the radio serial Captain Starr of Space during the broadcast season of 1953–1954, he began to perform increasingly in films. He was usually cast on the "big screen" in Westerns (How The West Was Won, 1962) and in other action films outside that genre, including Miracle of the White Stallions as General George S. Patton Jr. (1963), the television film Collision Course: Truman vs. MacArthur as General Omar Bradley (1976), and replacing James Gregory as Mac in the Matt Helm movie The Wrecking Crew (1969) starring Dean Martin, Sharon Tate, and Elke Sommer. Larch also appears in two 1971 Clint Eastwood films, Dirty Harry and Play Misty for Me.
Larch had the role of Captain Ben Foster on the NBC series Convoy (1965-1966). He guest-starred in Jefferson Drum, Johnny Ringo, Riverboat, Naked City (three episodes), Stoney Burke, Route 66 (three episodes), The Fugitive (two episodes), The Invaders, The Restless Gun (four episodes), Gunsmoke (seven episodes), The Virginian (four episodes, one of which was in 1970 as the Sheriff on "The Men From Shiloh" which was the rebranded name that year for The Virginian), Bonanza, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Hawaii Five-0, Mission Impossible (two episodes), The Troubleshooters, Bus Stop, The Law and Mr. Jones, Bat Masterson (5/27/59,S1 Ep30), The Rifleman, The Feather and Father Gang, The Millionaire, three episodes of Twilight Zone: "It's a Good Life", "Perchance to Dream",DYNASTY (7 episodes), DALLAS (7 episodes) and "Dust".; and in Rawhide, "Incident At Sugar Creek" (1962) as Sam Garrett. He appeared in Vegas$ season three, in the episode "Deadly Blessing".
Personal life and death
Larch was married only once, to actress Vivi Janiss, the former wife of actor Bob Cummings. Larch and Janiss married in Los Angeles in March 1955 and remained together for over 30 years, until Vivi's death in 1988. The couple had no children. John continued to reside in Los Angeles, in Woodland Hills, until his death in 2005 at age 91. He is interred in a wall crypt at Mount Sinai Memorial Park in nearby Hollywood Hills.
Joint acting appearances with Janiss
During their long acting careers, Larch and his wife Vivi performed together periodically on television. Larch, for example, appears with her in the 1968 episode "Yesterday Died and Tomorrow Won't Be Born" on the CBS weekly crime drama Hawaii Five-O starring Jack Lord. On earlier television series, they appear in the roles of Johnny and Elsie in the 1959 episode "End of an Era" on NBC's Western series Tales of Wells Fargo; as Isaiah and Rebecca Macabee in the 1960 episode "The Proud Earth" on the NBC anthology series Goodyear Theatre; as another married couple, Ben and Sarah Harness, in the 1960 episode "The Cathy Eckhart Story" on NBC's Wagon Train; and as John and Mary Clark in "No Fat Cops", the 1961 premiere episode of The New Breed starring Leslie Nielsen.
- Bitter Creek (1954) - Hired Gunman
- This Is My Love (1954) - Police Detective (uncredited)
- Tight Spot (1955) - First Detective (uncredited)
- Seven Angry Men (1955) - Truce Flag-Bearing Sergeant (uncredited)
- 5 Against the House (1955) - Police Detective (uncredited)
- The Phenix City Story (1955) - Clem Wilson
- Gunsmoke (1955) - Clay
- The Naked Street (1955) - Police Desk Sergeant (uncredited)
- The McConnell Story (1955) - Cy (uncredited)
- Illegal (1955) - District Attorney's Man (uncredited)
- The Killer Is Loose (1956) - Otto Flanders
- Behind the High Wall (1956) - William Kiley
- Seven Men from Now (1956) - Payte Bodeen
- Written on the Wind (1956) - Roy Carter
- Man from Del Rio (1956) - Bill Dawson
- Gun for a Coward (1957) - Stringer
- The Careless Years (1957) - Sam Vernon
- Quantez (1957) - Heller
- Man in the Shadow (1957) - Ed Yates
- From Hell to Texas (1958) - Hal Carmody
- The Saga of Hemp Brown (1958) - Jed Givens
- The Walter Winchell File (1958, "Portrait of A Cop") - LT. Janiss
- Hell to Eternity (1960) - Capt. Schwabe
- Gunsmoke (1961) - Shanks
- How the West Was Won (1962) - Grimes (uncredited)
- Miracle of the White Stallions (1963) - Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.
- The Wrecking Crew (1969) - MacDonald
- The Great Bank Robbery (1969) - Sheriff of Friendly
- Hail, Hero! (1969) - Mr. Conklin
- Move (1970) - Mounted Patrolman
- Cannon for Cordoba (1970) - Warner
- Play Misty for Me (1971) - Sgt. McCallum
- Dirty Harry (1971) - Chief
- Women in Chains (1972) - Barney
- Santee (1973) - Banner
- Winter Kill (1974, TV Movie) - Dr. Bill Hammond
- Bad Ronald (1974, TV Movie) - Sgt. Lynch
- Framed (1975) - Bundy
- The Amityville Horror (1979) - Father Nuncio
- Airplane II: The Sequel (1982) - Prosecuting Attorney
- "California County Marriages", marriage license and certificate of Harold Aronin to Vivi Janiss, March 26, 1955, Los Angeles, California; Bureau of Vital Statistics, California State Board of Health, Sacramento; digital image of original document, archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (CJCLDS), Salt Lake City, Utah.
- "John Larch", Notable Names Database (NNDB), 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
- "Massachusetts Births, 1841-1915", Harold Aronin, October 4, 1914, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts; Massachusetts Archives, Boston.
- "Fourteenth Census of the United States: 1920", family of Mitchell Aronin, "Fourth Assembly District", New York City, January 2, 1920; digital image of original enumeration page; CJCLDS Archives.
- "John Larch Finds Success At End of the 'Road Back'". The Berkshire Eagle. Massachusetts, Pittsfield. September 18, 1965. p. 28. Retrieved April 9, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Dionne, Jerome M. Curley, Dorothy V. Malcolm, and Nelson L. (2013). Legendary Locals of Salem. Arcadia Publishing. p. 103. ISBN 9781467100809. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
- Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
- "John Larch", his crypt and memorial plaque pictured at Mount Sinai Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California. Find a Grave. Retrieved October 11, 2020.