Westchester’s ‘Uncle Sam,’ 1937 – 2015
Harold W. Fisher Jr., a photographer and actor who played Uncle Sam in Westchester’s annual Fourth of July Parade and appeared in more than 50 years of Kentwood Players productions, died in November from complications with Parkinson’s disease. He was 78.
Fisher, who went by “Hal,” was raised in Westchester and was a longtime resident of Mar Vista. He graduated from Westchester High School in 1956 and attended Santa Monica College. While in college Fisher was drafted into the U.S. Army and trained to be a combat photographer, said brother Robert Fisher. He went on to shoot pictures for the Santa Monica Evening Outlook and Torrance Press-Herald,
later branching out into commercial photography.
In 2011 a Westchester gallery hosted a retrospective exhibit of Fisher’s work, which included photos of presidents, actors, sports stars and slices of local life.
Fisher’s other great passion was acting. In 1958 he joined a new theater group, the Westchester-based Kentwood Players, and remained an active member until his death. But the role that would most likely define Fisher’s acting career, his brother said, is that of Uncle Sam in the Westchester Fourth of July Parade — beginning with the parade’s inception in 2000 and continuing each year through 2014.
“He had a real passion for that role and took it very seriously” to the delight of local kids and families, Robert Fisher said. “He had terrible arthritis in his ankles those whole 14 years, yet he would walk the parade route.”
Fisher is also survived by another brother, Charles Fisher, and was buried on Dec. 1 with a military funeral service at Riverside National Cemetery.
— Joe Piasecki