As a character actor, Townes was a familiar face to television viewers in the 1950s and 1960s. His expanded range led him to fill a variety of roles, and he avoided being typecast. He made five guest appearances on Perry Mason, including the role of title character Newton Bain in the 1964 episode, "The Case of the Woeful Widower." He also made three appearances on Bonanza and seven on Gunsmoke and in The Fugitive. He made single and double appearances on numerous other television series'. Besides appearing in twenty-nine films, he is credited with more than two hundred television roles. He gained a cult following with a younger audience for a guest shot on "The First", a two-part episode of The Incredible Hulk. He played Dell Frye, a man who also had the ability to transform into a Hulk-like creature. "The First" is one of the most popular episodes from the TV series largely because of Townes' performance.
Townes was ordained as an Episcopal priest in St. Paul's Cathedral on March 16, 1974. He served at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Hollywood. He retired from acting in 1989 and returned to his hometown of Huntsville, where he lived the remainder of his life.
Townes died in Huntsville at the age of eighty-six and is interred there at Maple Hill Cemetery.
Kung Fu - episode "An Eye For An Eye" (1973) (interestingly playing the same exact type role he played in the 1969 Bonanza episode, that of an American Civil War Rebel soldier, who, after the war, is still filled with hurt and resentment about the loss to the North)
Emergency! - episode "Rip-Off" (1973) as Barney Olsen