Possibly in defiance of the old adage "those that can't do, teach," American actor Harold Gould gave up a comfortable professorship in the drama department of the University of California to become a performer himself. Building up stage and TV credits from the late '50s onward, Gould made his first film, Two for the Seesaw, in 1962. He divided his time between stage and screen for the rest of the '60s, winning an Obie Award for the off-Broadway production Difficulty of Concentration. Gould was prominently cast in such slick '70s products as The Sting (1973), Woody Allen's Love and Death (1975), and Mel Brooks' Silent Movie (1976) (as a classically gesticulating villain). Often nattily attired and usually comporting himself like a wealthy self-made businessman, Gould was generously employed on TV for three decades. He co-starred with Daniel J. Travanti in the 1988 American Playhouse production of I Never Sang for My Father, played WASP-ish Katharine Hepburn's aging Jewish lover in the TV movie Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry (1986), and had regular stints on such series as The Long Hot Summer (1965), He and She (1967), Rhoda (1974) (as Rhoda's father), The Feather and Father Gang (1977), Washington: Behind Closed Doors (1977), Park Place (1981) Foot in the Door (1983), Spencer (1984) and Singer and Sons (1990). However, when the time came in 1974 to make a series out of the pilot film for Happy Days, an unavailable Harold Gould was replaced by Tom Bosley.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Served two years as a mortar gunner in the U.S. Army during World War II.
- Met and married his wife of 60 years while they were both attending Cornell University.
- Taught acting for several years at the collegiate level prior to embarking on a career as a performer.
- Won an Obie Award in 1970 for his portrayal of Dr. Eduard Huml in famed playwright Vaclav Havel's off-Broadway production The Increased Difficulty of Concentration.
- Played the role of Howard Cunningham, patriarch of the Cunningham family, in the 1972 pilot episode for the hit ABC television series Happy Days.
- Returned to his Cornell University roots in the fall of 1997 when he and his wife, Lea Vernon, costarred as Willy and Linda Loman in the university's production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman.