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‘F Troop,’ ‘Mayberry R.F.D.’ star, Army vet Ken Berry dies at 85

Ken Berry

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/TNS

By RACHEL DESANTIS | New York Daily News | Published: December 2, 2018

(Tribune News Service) — Ken Berry, who starred in TV shows like “F Troop” and “Mayberry R.F.D.” in the late ’60s and early ’70s, died Saturday in California. He was 85.

The actor’s death was confirmed by his ex-wife, actress Jackie Joseph-Lawrence, who shared news of his passing on Facebook on Saturday.

“With very deep sorrow, I must inform friends of Ken Berry that he died a short time ago,” she wrote. “I’m feeling so much love and gratitude for the affection and kindness express by Ken’s friends admirers.”

She also gave a shout-out to Susie Walsh, Berry’s partner for the past 26 years, for “bringing him laughter and devotion and care.”

Berry was best known for starring in the Wild West-set sitcom “F Troop” as Captain Wilton Parmenter for two seasons from 1965-67.

“I have never been that happy in my life,” he once said of the role. “I walked on air for a long time. It never let me down. I felt like that every day I went to work. I knew how lucky I was at the time.”

Larry Storch, who played Corporal Randolph Agarn on the show, remembered his former co-star with a touching Facebook message.

“Ken, we hope you know how much you were loved. Goodnight captain. We miss you already,” he wrote.

Berry was featured on a slew of other popular series, including “Rawhide,” “The Brady Bunch,” “The Love Boat,” “CHiPs,’ “Little House on the Prairie” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”

His four episodes on “Andy Griffith” as widowed farmer Sam Jones transitioned him into a starring role on the sitcom’s spin-off/continuation, “Mayberry R.F.D.”

The series — which picked up where “The Andy Griffith Show” left off following Griffith’s departure — ran for three seasons, from 1968-71.

The actor also starred opposite Vicki Lawrence, Dorothy Lyman and Rue McClanahan as Vinton Harper in 130 episodes of “Mama’s Family,” a spin-off of a sketch from “The Carol Burnett Show.”

He was a native of Illinois, and served in the Army special services under Sgt. Leonard Nimoy, a stint that helped parlay his entertaining the troops into a career in showbiz.

He is survived by his partner, his ex-wife, and their daughter, Jennifer, as well as nieces Bonnie and Candy, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

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