Larry Hovis 1936-2003 (Age 67) – Actor in Hogan’s Heroes – Biography
Larry Hovis was an Americal Singer who was best known for playing Sergeant Carter in Hogan’s Heroes, a ‘60s television sitcom. He was born in Wapato, Washington and later moved to Houston with his family when he was young. He made the first appearance as a singer on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. Larry Hovis attended the University of Houston and sand in the nightclubs with groups such as the Mascots.
He started writing songs and got signed under Capitol Records. His biggest song was “We could have lots of fun” which was a part of an album. He also joined the Houston-based Bill Gannon Trio that appeared on the 1959 Carlton album, Sweet Singing Swing.
Hovis also started appearing in local theatre productions and learnt acting alongside his music. After the success in Houston, he decided to move to New York City in 1959. His first appearance in New York was in 1960 Broadway Revue from A to Z where he showcased his singing and comedy talents.
In 1963, Hovis decided to move to California in 1963 and joined a comedy show for his first break into television. In 1964, he was spotted by Andy Griffith’s manager and got his role in the TV series Gomer Pyle, USMC. He played Pvt. Larry Gotschalk. Later he also appeared on The Andy Griffith Show.
Hogan’s Heroes was a 60’s popular television show. In 1964, Hovis got the opportunity to play “Sgt. Andrew Carter” when another actor backed out of the show. He was a POW in a German prison camp who was an expert on explosives. In his pilot episode, Carter was a lieutenant and was supposed to appear in just that one episode. The character became Sgt. Carter replacing a character played by Leonid Kinskey in the pilot. Kinskey did not want to continue as he did not like the role where he had to pretend to be Nazi.
The character Carter was of Sioux ancestry, and Hovis himself was part of Yakama Indian ancestry. Later he also played an American Indian Police in the episode of Alice, a comedy show. In that episode, he arrests a fake American Indian Conman.
Playing a regular character in Hogan’s Heroes, he also did several other things in the industry, including writing the screenplay for 1966 spy-spoof Out of Sight. He also co-wrote the specials for the televisions how Mitzi Gaynor in 1968 and 1969 and comedy bits for Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in.
After Hogan’s Heroes was cancelled in 1971, Hovis made appearances on the game show Match Game alongside his Hogan’s Heroes castmate Richard Dawson. Later in the decade, he became a regular panellist on the game show Liar’s Club.