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Phil Morris

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: April 4, 1959 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Iowa City, Iowa, USA Profession: actor, production assistant

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Most children of performers either do whatever they can to distance themselves from show business or they wholeheartedly embrace it and attempt to carve out their own niche. As the son of Greg Morris who for seven seasons played electronics expert Barney Collier on "Mission: Impossible", Phil Morris struggled with this dilemma before opting to pursue a career as an actor. As the middle child and only son, he began to entertain as a child, often reciting routines from comedy albums for his family. Following his graduation from high school, the tall, slender and handsome Morris worked as a production assistant on a never released film ("COM-TAC 303") that featured his father. ("I got paid, and I was meeting chicks. I had the whole Hollywood experience in six weeks", he told PEOPLE in April 1999.) Shortly thereafter he embarked on the rounds of auditions and bit roles.Morris caught a break in 1984 when he signed to play a law student on the CBS daytime drama "The Young and the Restless". During his two year stint on the soap, his character was involved in one of the strangest plotlines in the history of the genre: Tyrone was to infiltrate the mob--as a white man. Morris endured the nearly three-hour...

Most children of performers either do whatever they can to distance themselves from show business or they wholeheartedly embrace it and attempt to carve out their own niche. As the son of Greg Morris who for seven seasons played electronics expert Barney Collier on "Mission: Impossible", Phil Morris struggled with this dilemma before opting to pursue a career as an actor. As the middle child and only son, he began to entertain as a child, often reciting routines from comedy albums for his family. Following his graduation from high school, the tall, slender and handsome Morris worked as a production assistant on a never released film ("COM-TAC 303") that featured his father. ("I got paid, and I was meeting chicks. I had the whole Hollywood experience in six weeks", he told PEOPLE in April 1999.) Shortly thereafter he embarked on the rounds of auditions and bit roles.

Morris caught a break in 1984 when he signed to play a law student on the CBS daytime drama "The Young and the Restless". During his two year stint on the soap, his character was involved in one of the strangest plotlines in the history of the genre: Tyrone was to infiltrate the mob--as a white man. Morris endured the nearly three-hour daily makeup sessions but the psychological toll proved too much, despite the mostly positive notices he earned. In 1988, he was cast as the son of his father's character in the short-lived ABC remake of "Mission: Impossible". Other roles followed like the ruthlessly ambitious TV reporter in "WIOU" (CBS, 1990), the title character, the first black American bicycle racer in The Disney Channel biopic "Tracks of Glory: The Major Taylor Story" (1992), Steven Dimes in both "Jackie Collins' 'Lucky/Chances'" (NBC, 1990) and its sequel "Jackie Collins' 'Lady Boss'" (NBC, 1992) and the ship's purser in "The Love Boat: The Next Wave" (UPN, 1998-99) as well as numerous guest shots in sitcoms and dramas. Morris also began to make inroads in features, appearing as a trainee in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" (1984), a pilot in "Wag the Dog" (1997) and a deadpan FBI agent in "Clay Pigeons" (1998).

But it was a 1995 guest role on the NBC sitcom "Seinfeld" as unctuous attorney Jackie Chiles (who bore more than a passing resemblance to celebrity lawyer Johnnie Cochran) that put Morris on the map. Over the next three years, the actor made occasional appearances as the bombastic legal beagle, including one in the series' much-touted finale. Morris was allowed to reprise the character in TV commercials for Honda in 1999 and eventually won Jerry Seinfeld's approval for a spin-off sitcom, "The Jackie Chiles Show".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Black Dynamite (2009)
2.
3.
4.
 Underdog (2007)
5.
 Bottoms Up (2006)
6.
 Abominable (2006)
7.
 Atlantis: Milo's Return (2003) Voice Of Sweet
8.
 Atlantis: the Lost Empire (2001) Voice Of Doctor Joshua Sweet
9.
 Devil in the Flesh (1998) Detective Joe Rosales
10.
 Clay Pigeons (1998) Agent Reynard
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1966:
Moved to L.A. with family
:
First job in show business, was production assistant on "COM-TAC 303", a never released feature starring his father
1979:
Primetime acting debut in a guest part on the NBC drama series "Harris and Company"
1981:
Played recurring role on the CBS comedy "Mr. Merlin"
1984:
Feature film debut in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock"
:
Had featured role as undercover cop Tyrone Jackson on the CBS daytime drama "The Young and the Restless"; one six-month storyline had his character pose as a white man to infiltrate the mob, requiring he play the role in "whiteface"
1988:
Cast as Grant Collier, the son of Barney Collier (the role played by his real-life father in the original series), in the remake of "Mission: Impossible" (ABC)
1990:
Played an unscrupulously ambitious reporter in the short-lived CBS drama "WIOU"
1990:
Cast as Steven Dimes in the TV adaptation of "Jackie Collins' 'Lucky/Chances'" (NBC)
1992:
Reprised role of Steven Dimes in the NBC sequel "Jackie Collins' 'Lady Boss'"
1992:
Portrayed title character, the first black bicycle racer, in "Tracks of Glory: The Major Taylor Story" (DIsney Channel)
1995:
Introduced recurring character of slick lawyer Jackie Chiles in an episode of "Seinfeld"
1998:
Cast as a deadpan FBI agent in "Clay Pigeons"
:
Played ship's purser Will Sanders in the UPN remake "The Love Boat: The Next Wave"
1999:
Reprised the character of Jackie Chiles in commercials for Honda
1999:
Hosted the summer game show "You Asked For It!" (NBC)
:
Signed to appear in the spin-off "The Jackie Chiles Show" (NBC)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Beverly Hills High School: Beverly Hills , California - 1976

Notes

"I never thought I would do this [acting]. I though I'd be an athlete, an animator, and artist. I'm pretty adept at that stuff. And when you're a kid and your father is in the No. 1 show in the nation seven years in a row, everybody asks you, are you going to follow in your father's footsteps?" --Phil Morris to LOS ANGELES TIMES, June 23, 1998

"I wanted to be the next Sidney Poitier or Denzel Washington rather than the Richard Pryor or Bill Cosby. I wasn't into being funny. Then Jackie Chiles came along, and I said, 'It's okay to be a fool.'" --Morris to PEOPLE, April 19, 1999

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Carla Morris. Interior designer. Born c. 1958.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Greg Morris. Actor. Born on September 27, 1934; died of cancer on August 27, 1996; had divorced wife after 38 years of marriage in 1995.
mother:
Lee Morris. Composer, lyricist. Divorced from Greg Morris after 38 years of marriage in 1995.
sister:
Iona Morris. Actor. Born c. 1956.
sister:
Linda Morris. Younger.
son:
Jordan Morris. Born c. 1985.
daughter:
Rachel Morris. Born c. 1989.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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