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Joe Morton

Joe Morton

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Also Known As: Joseph Morton Died:
Born: October 18, 1947 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: actor, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A handsome, dignified African-American actor who has excelled on stage, screen and TV, Morton made his movie breakthrough as the mute extraterrestrial in John Sayles' "The Brother From Another Planet" (1984). A virtuoso performance that recalled some of the silent triumphs of Chaplin and Keaton, Morton's richly expressive turn was the emotional linchpin of a film that earned acclaim largely for its ensemble playing. Most audiences know the actor, though, for his pivotal supporting role in the blockbuster sequel "Terminator 2" (1991), as the scientist who is persuaded by Arnold Schwarzenegger and friends to destroy the cyborg components he has been researching. That same year, Morton was more impressive playing an idealistic politician in a worthy if less publicized Sayles film, "City of Hope."Though he has amassed many classical stage credits, Morton initially established himself in Broadway musicals. After debuting in 1968 in "Hair," he went on to star in the musical version of "Two Gentlemen of Verona." He earned a Tony nomination for his starring role in "Raisin," the surprisingly effective musical version of Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun." A regular on several TV series, his...

A handsome, dignified African-American actor who has excelled on stage, screen and TV, Morton made his movie breakthrough as the mute extraterrestrial in John Sayles' "The Brother From Another Planet" (1984). A virtuoso performance that recalled some of the silent triumphs of Chaplin and Keaton, Morton's richly expressive turn was the emotional linchpin of a film that earned acclaim largely for its ensemble playing. Most audiences know the actor, though, for his pivotal supporting role in the blockbuster sequel "Terminator 2" (1991), as the scientist who is persuaded by Arnold Schwarzenegger and friends to destroy the cyborg components he has been researching. That same year, Morton was more impressive playing an idealistic politician in a worthy if less publicized Sayles film, "City of Hope."

Though he has amassed many classical stage credits, Morton initially established himself in Broadway musicals. After debuting in 1968 in "Hair," he went on to star in the musical version of "Two Gentlemen of Verona." He earned a Tony nomination for his starring role in "Raisin," the surprisingly effective musical version of Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun." A regular on several TV series, his small-screen movie credits include the docudrama "Challenger" (1990), as astronaut Dr. Ronald McNair; and "Howard Beach: Making the Case for Murder" (1989), as Cedric Sandiford. Morton's intelligent, serious demeanor often led to roles as professionals--doctors, lawyers scientists, and elected officials. He starred as a lawyer on the ensemble dramatic series "Equal Justice" (ABC, 1990-91) and proved convincing as a suave senatorial candidate who got romantically involved with Jasmine Guy on several episodes of "A Different World" (NBC, 1992). He also played the recurring role of a policeman in Robert De Niro's first (and fleeting) TV project, "Tribeca" (1993).

Morton's recent feature credits include supporting roles in "Of Mice and Men" (1992) and "Speed" (1994). He starred in Matty Rich's "The Inkwell" (also 1994) as the still militant, former Black Panther father of the youthful protagonist. Since the mid-90s, the actor has attempted to find steady work in series TV, with little success. "Under One Roof" (CBS, 1994) was a gentle ensemble family drama that couldn't find its audience. "New York News" (CBS, 1995) cast Morton as the managing editor of a tabloid newspaper and even with the presence of Mary Tyler Moore in the cast, it proved short-lived. Of even less duration was "Prince Street" (NBC, 1997), an intriguing police drama that lasted only two episodes. Morton once again braved the airwaves in "Mercy Point" (UPN, 1998), described as an "ER" in outer space but that too died a quick death. He rebounded by returning to the stage, appearing with Judd Hirsch and George Wendt in the award-winning Broadway play "Art."

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Sunday on the Rocks (2004) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
3.
 Lifelines (2009)
4.
 Wherever You Are (2007)
5.
 Badland (2007)
6.
7.
8.
 Stealth (2005) Cast
9.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Okinawa, Japan and Europe
1958:
Moved with family to Dachau, Germany (date approximate)
:
Remained in Germany until father's death
:
Moved with mother and family to New York
:
Decided to become an actor on his first day at Hofstra University
:
First professional acting job in off-Broadway production of "A Month of Sundays", a modern version of the Noah story
1968:
Broadway debut at age 20 in the trendsetting musical, "Hair"
1972:
Starred in the musical version of "Two Gentlemen of Verona"
1973:
Starred as Walter Lee Younger in "Raisin", the Broadway musical version of Lorraine Hansberry's drama "A Raisin in the Sun"
:
Cast as a regular in the TV soap "Search for Tomorrow"
1975:
Appeared as Hal Marshall, a regular character on the NBC sitcom "Grady", a short-lived NBC spinoff of "Sanford and Son"
1977:
Played first notable role in a feature, as Ahmed in Joan Micklin Silver's "Between the Lines", a character study of the counterculture
:
Had regular role of Dr. Abel Marsh in the TV soap "Another World"
1984:
Played first lead in a major feature, as the title character in John Sayles' "The Brother From Another Planet"; first collaboration with writer-director Sayles
:
Appeared as a major member of the ensemble cast of "Equal Justice", an ABC-TV legal series
1991:
Starred in Sayles' "City of Hope"
:
Appeared as a recurring character on "A Different World"
1993:
Appeared as Carleton, one of two recurring characters on the Fox-TV anthology drama, "Tribeca"
1993:
TV directorial debut with "The Loft" episode of "Tribeca"
1993:
Narrated the well-received PBS documentary series, "The Great Depression"
1994:
Narrated PBS documentary series, "Against the Odds: The Artists of the Harlem Renaissance"
1994:
Appeared in ensemble drama "Under One Roof" (CBS)
1995:
Cast as a regular in CBS drama series "New York News"
1997:
Co-starred in short-lived NBC drama "Prince Street"
1997:
Appeared in the award-winning HBO movie "Miss Evers Boys" as one of the doctors treating black men with syphillis
1998:
Starred in the short-lived UPN sci-fi medical series "Mercy Point"
1998:
Acted in the Broadway play "Art"; also performed in the London production alongside Judd Hirsch
1999:
Had supporting role in "The Astronaut's Wife"
2001:
Cast as the Duke in the New York Shakespeare Festival Central Park staging of "Measure for Measure"
2001:
Rejoined the London production of "Art", featured with Judd Hirsch and Richard Thomas
2001:
Appeared in the Off-Broadway play "Brutal Imagination"
2002:
Portrayed Dr. Zeke McMillan on "All My Children"
2003:
Cast in the film by director John Woo "Paycheck"
2005:
Starred as Capt. Dick Marshfield in the big budget "Stealth," with Jamie Foxx
2006:
Cast in an adaptation of Armistead Maupin's novel "The Night Listener"
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Education

Andrew Jackson High School: Cambria Heights , New York -
Hofstra University: Hempstead , New York -
Mount St Joseph's Semi-Military Academy: Newburgh , New York -

Notes

Morton's PR material states that among the advantages of his upbringing as an "army brat" was that "by the time he was ten years old, he had lived in Europe and Okinawa and spoke two languages in addition to English."

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Nora Chavooshian. Production designer; sculptor. Second wife; married in October 1984.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Joseph T Morton. Captain in Army. Died under mysterious circumstances in Germany while helping integrate overseas Army bases in the 1950s.
mother:
Evelyn Morton.
daughter:
Hopi Morton. Born c. 1971; married and has son Moses (born c. 1998).
son:
Ara Morton. Born c. 1989; mother, Nora Chavooshian.
daughter:
Seta Morton. Born c. 1993; mother, Nora Chavooshian.
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