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Garrett Morris

Garrett Morris

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: February 1, 1937 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Profession: actor, singer, musical arranger, playwright, x-ray technician

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As a founding member of "The Not Ready for Primetime Players" on the ground-breaking sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), Garrett Morris enjoyed mainstream notoriety even as he struggled with frustrations over his limited role on the program. After 10 years of training as a singer, musician and actor on the stages of New York, Morris came to "SNL" as an outsider, being the oldest and only African-American performer in the troupe. Although many of his contributions came in the form of broad stereotypes, he did manage to craft several memorable recurring characters, among them the President of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing, and ex-Mets baseball player, Chico Escuela. Overshadowed by the likes of John Belushi and Bill Murray, Morris left the show in 1980 along with the remaining original cast members. After a period of self-imposed exile, during which he overcame a serious drug addiction, Morris gradually returned with appearances on series such as "The Jeffersons" (CBS, 1975-1985) and in films like the horror satire "The Stuff" (1985). Later work found him regularly appearing on African-American-targeted sitcoms like "The Jamie Foxx Show" (The WB, 1996-2001). Despite...

As a founding member of "The Not Ready for Primetime Players" on the ground-breaking sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), Garrett Morris enjoyed mainstream notoriety even as he struggled with frustrations over his limited role on the program. After 10 years of training as a singer, musician and actor on the stages of New York, Morris came to "SNL" as an outsider, being the oldest and only African-American performer in the troupe. Although many of his contributions came in the form of broad stereotypes, he did manage to craft several memorable recurring characters, among them the President of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing, and ex-Mets baseball player, Chico Escuela. Overshadowed by the likes of John Belushi and Bill Murray, Morris left the show in 1980 along with the remaining original cast members. After a period of self-imposed exile, during which he overcame a serious drug addiction, Morris gradually returned with appearances on series such as "The Jeffersons" (CBS, 1975-1985) and in films like the horror satire "The Stuff" (1985). Later work found him regularly appearing on African-American-targeted sitcoms like "The Jamie Foxx Show" (The WB, 1996-2001). Despite his difficult and frequently unfulfilling tenure on "Saturday Night Live," Morris outlasted his detractors and was eventually abided a sort of fond reverence by later generations of performers and audiences who had grown up giddily quoting the childlike Escuela's famous catchphrase, "Base-a-boll been berry, berry good to me."

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Longshots, The (2008)
2.
 Frank (2008)
3.
 Dog Gone (2007)
4.
 Salon, The (2005)
5.
6.
 Jackpot (2001) Lester Irving
7.
 How High (2001) Pcc Agent
8.
 Little Richard (2000) Carl
9.
 Twin Falls, Idaho (1999) Jesus
10.
 Palmer's Pick-Up (1999) Tom
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in New Orleans by his Baptist minister grandfather
1942:
Began singing at age five (date approximate)
:
Sang with the church choir
1958:
Entered a music competition with the National Association of Negro Musicians; while traveling with the group back to New Orleans, got off the bus in NYC; found housing at the Harlem YMCA; became involved in the Harlem YMCA Drama Club where Cicely Tyson, Clarence Williams III, Isabel Sanford, Godfrey Cambridge and Diana Sands were also participants
:
Became a soloist with Harry Belafonte; remained with the Harry Belafonte Singers for ten years
1960:
Made his stage debut as Leroy in "The Bible Salesman" at the Broadway Congregational Church in NYC
1961:
Drafted into the U.S. Army; served 18 months as an X-ray technician before securing a special leave (date approximate)
1961:
Reprised the role of Leroy in "The Bible Salesman" at the Martinique Theater in NYC
1964:
Played Peter in "Porgy and Bess" with the City Center Light Opera Company
:
Made his Broadway debut in "I'm Solomon"
1966:
Played second barker in "Show Boat" at the Music Theater of Lincoln Center; later appeared in U.S. touring company
1967:
Appeared in the City Center Light Opera Company production of "Finian's Rainbow"
1970:
Made his feature acting debut, "Where's Poppa?/Going Ape," directed by Carl Reiner
1972:
Produced his first play "The Secret Place" at NYC's Playwrights Horizons
1973:
Made his TV series debut with a regular role on "Roll Out," a short-lived military sitcom on CBS
1974:
Made first collaboration with director Michael Schultz with an appearance on "Change at 125th Street," a busted CBS sitcom pilot
1975:
Played Mr. Mason in the well-received Michael Schultz-directed comedy "Cooley High"
1975:
Auditioned with Lorne Michaels to become a writer for "Saturday Night Live;" hired as a performer on the strength of his performance in "Cooley High"
1975:
Gained fame as an ensemble member on the landmark late night comedy-variety series "Saturday Night live"
1976:
Played a supporting role in the Schultz-directed comedy feature "Car Wash"
1978:
Made his first TV special appearance with the other "SNL" regulars in the TV-movie "Things We Did Last Summer" (NBC)
1982:
Produced second play "Daddy Picou and Marie Le Veau"
1984:
Played the recurring role of Principal Dwight Ellis on the NBC youth sitcom "It's Your Move"
1986:
Joined the cast of the NBC cop drama "Hunter" in the supporting role of Sporty James
1990:
Appeared as Wiz, a regular on the Fox sitcom "Roc"
1992:
Appeared as a regular on the first two seasons of the Fox sitcom "Martin" as Martin Lawrence's boss and radio station owner Stan Winters
1995:
Appeared as himself on the premiere of The WB sitcom "The Wayans Brothers"; returned two months later playing Uncle Leon
1995:
Reprised the role of Stan Winters for a guest shot on Fox's "Martin"
1995:
Cast as a regular on The WB sitcom "Cleghorne!" as the protagonist's overbearing postal worker-father Sidney
1996:
Cast as Junior King, a regular on The WB sitcom "The Jamie Foxx Show"
1998:
Landed a pivotal role in the independent "Twin Falls Idaho," written by and starring the Polish brothers
2001:
Reteamed with the Polish brothers for "Jackpot," playing the road manager of a country singer
2005:
Guest-starred on the Logo series "Noah's Arc"
2007:
Acted in the comedy feature "Who's Your Caddy?"
2008:
Cast opposite Ice Cube in the family comedy "The Longshots"
2011:
Co-starred with Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs on the CBS sitcom "2 Broke Girls"
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Education

Dillard University: New Orleans , Louisiana -
Tanglewood Workshop: Lennox , Massachusetts -
The Juilliard School: New York , New York -
Manhattan School of Music: New York , New York -

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Freda Morris. Hotel manager.

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