Star of stage and screen
7th Annual BURIAN LECTURE
May 6, 2003
Born Harold V. Goldstein to postal worker Louis Goldstein and homemaker Lillian Goldstein, Gould has made a long career playing dapper and elegant gentlemen. A straight A student, he participated in the drama club at Roessleville High School and graduated as valedictorian of his class. Gould enrolled at Albany State Teachers College with the intention of becoming an English or Social Studies teacher.
When World War Two interrupted his studies, Gould spent two years in the Army, serving first in a mortar platoon that saw combat in France. After recovering from trench foot in an English infirmary, he was reassigned to a railroad transportation unit in France. Upon completion of his service, he returned to Albany Teachers College. After graduation he enrolled in the graduate program in drama at Cornell where he met his wife, actress Lea Vernon. Gould received his Ph.D. in Dramatic Speech and Literature in 1953.
After teaching at a variety of colleges and universities, Gould attempted to make a career in Hollywood. He struggled to support his family as a part-time instructor at UCLA and as a security guard on studio sets, before landing a number of small roles. Early roles included a part on the Desilu TV series Guestward Ho! about a New York City couple that moves to New Mexico to open a dude ranch, and an uncredited part in The Couch (1962), a film about a serial killer in therapy. Other parts followed in such films as Yellow Canary (1964), a Rod Serling film with Pat Boone, Jack Lugman and Barbara Eden, and Harper (1966), starring Paul Newman.
His big television break arrived in the 1970s with the role of Martin Morganstern, father of Rhoda on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and later on the spin-off series Rhoda. At the same time, his film career began to really take off with his role as Kid Twist in the hit film The Sting (1973), starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
Gould received an Emmy nomination in 1978 for his Rhoda role and another for his part as Katharine Hepburn's aging Jewish lover in the TV movie, Mrs. Delafield Wants to Marry (1986). Fans of The Golden Girls will also recognize him as Rose's steady boyfriend Miles Webber (Gould also played Rose's boyfriend Arnie during the show's first season). Trivia fans will be interested to know that Gould starred as Ron Howard's father in the 1972 episode of Love American Style that ultimately launched the hit TV series Happy Days (Tom Bosley replaced him in the role).
Gould's Broadway credits include Jules Feiffer's Grown Ups, Neil Simon's Fools, Tom Stoppard's Artist Descending a Staircase, and Richard Baer's Mixed Emotions. Gould received an Obie Award in 1969 for his New York City stage debut in Vaclav Havel's The Increased Difficulty of Concentration and reprised the role in a 1988 PBS version of the play. Gould also played the irascible patriarch in a 1986 Berkshire Theatre Festival production of I Never Sang for My Father. The show went on the play for three weeks at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. before going on national tour.
"Gould is stupendous in the role--meddlesome, crotchety, dictatorial." - The Washington Post
In recent years Gould has been awarded a fair number of grandfatherly roles, including Grandfather Disguisey in Master of Disguise (2002), starring Dana Carvey, and Grandfather Spencer Little in the children's film, Stuart Little (1999) starring Michael J. Fox, Geena Davis and Nathan Lane. Most recently, Gould played the role of Grandpa in Freaky Friday (2003), a remake of the 1976 Disney classic, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan.