Tommy Morgan, Legendary Harmonica Player on ‘Dances With Wolves,’ ‘Cool Hand Luke,’ Dead at 89

by Joe Rutland

Professional harmonica player Tommy Morgan, who provided his talent for movies like Dances with Wolves and Cool Hand Luke, has died. Morgan, according to Deadline, was 89 years old. His work also would branch out into the world of TV. You probably heard his work on TV themes for shows The Waltons and The Dukes of Hazzard. Morgan would initially find work with the legendary Andrews Sisters back in 1950.

But his work just dotted many movie and TV soundtracks. Another movie featuring Morgan’s work was the Billy Crystal and Jack Palance comedy City Slickers. Morgan actually recorded music for more than 500 film soundtracks in his career. It’s reported that he died on June 23. No cause of death has been released. Survivors do include wife Lois; sons Matthew and Daniel; and a granddaughter, Addie Rae.

Tommy Morgan Also Spent Time Working As A Session Musician

Besides that movie and TV work, you could find Morgan working as a session musician. He reportedly had a part in more than 7,000 recording sessions throughout his lengthy career. Who did he work with in the studio? Among others, they included Neil Diamond, The Beach Boys, and The Carpenters. Morgan’s career came to an end in 2013 after he suffered a stroke. But Morgan would also write a book titled You Made How Much For Doing What? Reportedly, it’s available on Amazon. Here’s Morgan playing his harp in concert. Reportedly, he also had some memorable classic TV work on themes like The Rockford Files and Sanford & Son.

His website gives quite a rundown of his TV and movie work. He did work on the James Garner private investigator series as well as the NBC sitcom with Redd Foxx. But wait, there’s a lot more. Other TV stops in his career would include China Beach, Petticoat Junction, Room 222, Maverick, Perfect Strangers, Gunsmoke, and M*A*S*H. If you listen real close to the Mike Post-arranged Rockford theme, then you can definitely hear Morgan’s work on the harmonica. It’s one of the most memorable pieces from his TV time.

According to his biography, Morgan played in more than 30 countries. He reportedly gave four command performances in his career. Morgan held a Master of Arts degree in Music (Composition) from UCLA. Want more about him? Heck, he even arranged music for people like Johnny Cash and poet Rod McKuen. That’s not bad company for him to be included with in a long tenure in the world of music. Morgan’s traits also included an incredible keen ability to improvise while playing both jazz and blues. What an amazing, incredible career of a man who made a living out of playing his harmonica and doing it splendidly.