Garrett Morris

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Garrett Morris
Garrett Morris in Los Angeles 2013 (2).jpg
Garrett Morris in 2013
Born Garrett Isaac Morris
(1937-02-01) February 1, 1937 (age 81)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Dillard University
Juilliard School of Music
Occupation Actor, comedian, singer
Years active 1963–present
Known for Saturday Night Live
The Jamie Foxx Show
Spouse(s)
Freda Morris (m. 1996)

Garrett Morris (born February 1, 1937) is an American comedian, actor, and singer.[1] He was part of the original cast of the sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live, appearing from 1975 to 1980. Morris also had a role as Junior "Uncle Junior" King on the sitcom The Jamie Foxx Show, which aired from 1996–2001. Morris had a starring role as Earl Washington on the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, from 2011–2017. He was also known for his role in the sitcom Martin as Stan Winters, from 1992–1995, and the movie “Cooleyhigh”.

Early life and career[edit]

Morris was born on February 1, 1937 in New Orleans, Louisiana. A church-choir singer from his youth, he trained at the Juilliard School of Music and graduated from Dillard University in 1958. Early in his career, he performed with The Belafonte Folk Singers. He performed in a number of Broadway musicals, including Hallelujah, Baby! and Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death. In 1965, he worked alongside Amiri Baraka, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler and Sonia Sanchez at the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School in Harlem; during this period, the theater was frequently raided and surveilled by the New York City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[2][3] He had a small role as a police sergeant in The Anderson Tapes (1971) and was a cast member in the short lived CBS sitcom, Roll Out. He also appeared as a high school teacher in the 1975 film Cooley High.

Morris also lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he worked as a postal carrier.[citation needed]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Morris has appeared in numerous television shows and movies since the early 1970s, but is best known as one of the original cast members of NBC's Saturday Night Live. Periodically on SNL he sang classical music: once a Mozart aria when guest-host Walter Matthau designated him as a "musical guest...in place of the usual crap", and once a Schubert lied while the titles on the screen purported to express his colleagues' displeasure at having to accommodate a misguided request by him. In February 1977, he sang Tchaikovsky's Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt barefoot in colorful Caribbean dress while subtitles explained he had just returned from Jamaica where he had picked up a girl by claiming to be Harry Belafonte.

One of Morris's best known characters on SNL was the Dominican baseball player Chico Escuela. Chico spoke only limited and halting English, so the joke centered on his responding to almost any question with his catch phrase: "Baseball... been berra berra good... to me." Another recurring bit, used in the newscast segment "Weekend Update", involved Morris being presented as "President of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing" and assisting the newscaster by shouting the main headlines, in a parody of the then-common practice of providing sign language interpretation in an inset on the screen as an aid to the deaf viewer. According to the book Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, Morris was frequently unhappy during his tenure on SNL from 1975–1980, and expressed the opinion that he was usually typecast in stereotypical roles.[4]

African-American performers who have followed Morris on Saturday Night Live have at times been publicly concerned with experiencing the same fate Morris did. Eddie Murphy, for example, told TV Guide in the early 1980s that SNL producer Jean Doumanian "had tried to Garrett Morris me." [4]

Recurring characters on Saturday Night Live[edit]

  • Chico Escuela, a Dominican baseball player for the New York Mets
  • Cliff, the streetwise friend to the Festrunk Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin)
  • Grant Robinson, Jr., one of The Nerds
  • Hodo, one of Miles Cowperthwaite's cronies
  • Merkon, the leader of the Coneheads
  • Weekend Update's "News for the Hard of Hearing" translator, who simply repeated each line while speaking very loudly.

Celebrity impressions on Saturday Night Live[edit]

Later life and career[edit]

In 1976, Morris appeared in the movie Car Wash, playing the role of Slide the bookmaker. In 1983 and 1984, Morris appeared in five episodes of The Jeffersons, playing a character named Jimmy. He starred in the 1984 film The Census Taker, a 1984 black comedy directed by Bruce R. Cook.[5][6]

In 1985, he appeared in Larry Cohen's science fiction horror film The Stuff, playing cookie magnate "Chocolate Chip Charlie", a parody of Famous Amos. That year he also guested on Murder, She Wrote as "Lafayette Duquesne". In 1986, Morris began playing a regular occasional character, "Arnold 'Sporty' James," on the NBC cop drama Hunter, starring Fred Dryer and Stepfanie Kramer. Morris appeared in Married... with Children as Russ, one of Al's poker Buddies, in "The Poker Game", in a 1987 season 1 episode and again in 3rd Season episode "Requiem for a Dead Barber". Garrett Morris continually appeared as "Sporty" on "Hunter" through 1989. He also appeared in the 1992 horror comedy Severed Ties starring Oliver Reed.

In 1994, he was "shot by a would-be mugger," whom he "attempted to fight off," but has made a recovery, as he discussed on the January 14, 2016 episode of Marc Maron's podcast, WTF. In a radio interview, he mentioned that the robber who shot him was eventually convicted and incarcerated. In prison, inmates who happened to be fans of Morris teamed up and beat up the robber, in revenge.[7] At the time of the shooting, Morris was starring on Martin as Martin's first boss, Stan Winters. Morris' shooting rendered him temporarily unable to continue in the role; he was written out of the show by having the character become a national fugitive. The scene where he is about to undergo plastic surgery was shot on the hospital bed Morris occupied while recuperating from the 1994 assault. He made a final appearance as Stan during the show's third season, walking with a cane due to Morris' real injuries, but Stan's reason was that he had crashed his car during a police chase.[citation needed]

Morris also had regular roles on Diff'rent Strokes, The Jeffersons, Hill Street Blues, 227, and Roc. He also appeared in an episode of Who's the Boss, "Sam's Car" (1989), playing the role of Officer Audette. He was a regular cast member on The Jamie Foxx Show, playing Jamie's uncle, Junior King, for the show's entire run.[citation needed]

In 1998, Morris appeared as himself in the fourth episode of the fifth season of the TV series, Space Ghost Coast to Coast. In 2002, Morris made a cameo appearance on an episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Brittany Murphy. In 2006, Morris reprised his role as "Headmaster of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing" in a cameo on the TV series Family Guy, in the episode "Barely Legal". As of 2006, he continues to perform regularly in films. He also operates and is the host of his own comedy club, The Downtown Comedy Club in downtown Los Angeles. On February 9, 2007, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa honored Garrett Morris for his work and contributions to the black community. He declared February 9, 2007 Garrett Morris Day and named The Downtown Comedy Club the official club of Los Angeles. In August 2008, Morris played the role of Reverend Pratt in the family comedy drama film, The Longshots, starring Ice Cube and Keke Palmer.

In 2009, Morris appeared in two TV commercials for the Nintendo DS—one featuring Mario Kart DS, and the other featuring Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!. In 2010, Morris appeared in a television commercial for Miller Lite. The national commercial, titled "PopPop," features Morris alongside actors Stacey Dash and Jason Weaver.[8] The commercial takes a light-hearted look at a family relationship with Morris playing the grandfather, PopPop, and Weaver as his grandson. Since summer 2010, Morris has appeared in an ad for Orbit gum in the United States.[citation needed] In 2011, Morris had a cameo role as a Catholic priest on the episode "Three Boys" on the Showtime series Shameless. He was cast as Earl in the CBS comedy 2 Broke Girls,[9] which premiered on September 19, 2011. Although during the second season he faced a lawsuit from the Global Agency accusing him of not paying 10% of his income from the show as agreed. However, a rep from the show clearly stated that he has not actually failed to do so.[10]

In 2015, Morris appeared in a cameo in Ant-Man, referencing an old SNL sketch where he played the character.[11] On September 11, 2016, Morris and his family appeared on the ABC's game show Celebrity Family Feud, playing against Alfonso Ribeiro and Ribeiro's friends.[citation needed] In 2018, Morris appeared in the NBC show This Is Us.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1970 Where's Poppa? Garrett
1971 The Anderson Tapes Sergeant Everson
1975 Cooley High Mr. Mason
1976 Car Wash Slide
1980 How to Beat the High Cost of Living Power & Light Man
1984 The Census Taker Harvey
1985 The Stuff 'Chocolate Chip' Charlie W. Hobbs
1987 Critical Condition Helicopter Junkie
1987 The Underachievers Dummont
1991 Children of the Night Matty
1991 Motorama Andy
1992 Severed Ties Stripes
1993 Coneheads Captain Orecruiser
1995 Black Scorpion Argyle
1996 Black Rose of Harlem Wisdom
1996 Santa with Muscles Clayton
1996 Black Scorpion II Argyle
1996 Almost Blue Charles
1999 Palmer's Pick-Up Tom Bolza
1999 Twin Falls Idaho Jesus
2001 Jackpot Lester Irving
2001 How High PCC Agent
2003 Connecting Dots Henry
2005 The Salon Percy
2007 Frank Billy Hamilton
2007 Who's Your Caddy? The Reverend
2008 Dog Gone Police Chief
2008 The Longshots Reverend Pratt
2009 Sonny Dreamweaver God
2010 Pickin' & Grinnin' Richard A. Trophey
2011 Valley of the Sun Joe
2011 Let Go Donuts
2012 Pawn Shop Rey
2012 Freeloaders Mr. Abaeze
2015 Ant-Man Cab Driver

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1963 General Hospital Mouth
1973 Roll Out Wheels 9 episodes
1975–1980 Saturday Night Live Various 97 episodes
1978 ABC Weekend Special Frank Episode: "The Seven Wishes of Joanna Peabody"
1980 Easter Fever Jack Television film
1982 Diff'rent Strokes Santa Claus / Mr. Jones Episode: "Santa's Helper"
1983–1984 The Jeffersons Jimmy 5 episodes
1983 The Invisible Woman Lieutenant Greg Larkin Television film
1984 Masquerade Froog Episode: "The French Correction"
1984–1985 It's Your Move Principal Dwight Ellis 4 episodes
1985 Murder, She Wrote Lafayette Duquesne Episode: "Murder to a Jazz Beat"
1985 Hill Street Blues Derelict 3 episodes
1985 The Pound Puppies Chief Williams Television film
1985 The Twilight Zone Jake Episode: "Dealer's Choice"
1985 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Asam Ali Shamba Episode: "The Wrong Way Home"
1986 The Love Boat Gary Samuels Episode: "The Will/Deja Vu/The Prediction"
1986–1989 Hunter Sporty James 28 episodes
1987 227 Bob Winslow Episode: "The Working Game"
1987–1989 Married... with Children Russ 2 episodes
1988 Who's the Boss? Officer Audette Episode: "Sam's Car"
1991 Earth Angel Joey Television film
1991–1992 Roc Wiz 12 episodes
1992 Maid for Each Other Harold Brown Television film
1992–1995 Martin Stan Winters 55 episodes
1993 Daddy Dearest Stan Episode: "American We"
1994 ER Edgar Luck Episode: "ER Confidential"
1995 The Wayans Bros. Uncle Leon / Himself 2 episodes
1995 Minor Adjustments Willie Episode: "The Ex-Files"
1995 Cleghorne! Sidney Carlson 12 episodes
1996–2001 The Jamie Foxx Show Uncle Junior King 100 episodes
1997 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child Buzzard Episode: "Pinocchio"
1997 Boston Common Sammy Sutherland Episode: "I.D. Endow"
1998 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Himself Episode: "Cahill"
1999 G vs E Kentucky McQuaid Episode: "Sunday Night Evil"
2000 City of Angels Dr. Frank Hollister Episode: "Prototype"
2000 Little Richard Carl Rainey Television film
2000 Static Shock Preacher Episode: "Child's Play"
2001 Justice League Al McGee Episode: "In Blackest Night"
2001 According to Jim Lewis Episode: "The Turkey Bowl"
2001 The Hughleys Father Roberts Episode: "I'm Dreaming of a Slight Christmas"
2003 Maniac Magee Mr. Cobble Television film
2005 Noah's Arc Rev. Allen 2 episodes
2006 All of Us Uncle Cyrus Episode: "Neesee's Grave Plot"
2006 Family Guy Himself Episode: "Barely Legal"
2007 Halfway Home Jimmy the Mailman Episode: "Halfway Impotent"
2011 Shameless Old Priest Episode: "Three Boys"
2011–2017 2 Broke Girls Earl 138 episodes
2013 Psych Clizby Episode: "100 Clues"
2018 MacGyver Willy Episode: "Mardi Gras Beads + Chair"
2018 This Is Us Lloyd 2 episodes
2018 Scandal Hector Episode: "Army of One"
2018 Knight Squad TBA Episode: "Working on the Knight Moves"

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Garrett Morris". Discogs. Retrieved 2018-01-25. 
  2. ^ Patches, Matt (21 August 2014). "My 'SNL': Testimonials From Cast Members Who Lived It". Grantland.com. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  3. ^ "Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School · F.B. Eyes Digital Archive: FBI Files on African American Authors and Literary Institutions Obtained Through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) · WUSTL Digital Gateway Image Collections & Exhibitions". Omeka.wustl.edu. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  4. ^ a b Hill and Weingrad, Hill, Doug, and Jeff Weingrad. (1986). Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. New York, NY: Beech Tree Books. ISBN 0-688-05099-9
  5. ^ "The Census Taker (1984)". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Bob Michals (January 3, 1985). "Things Are Beginning To Look 'Berry Good' For Garrett Morris". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Comedian Garrett Morris shot in Los Angeles holdup attempt". Articles.baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  8. ^ "New Miller Lite Beer Commercial Starring Garrett Morris, Jason Weaver...and Stacey Dash!". Wpgc.cbslocal.com. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2018. 
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 16, 2011). "Scott Porter To Star In CW's 'Hart Of Dixie', More Actors Board Pilots". Deadline.com. Mail.com Media Corp. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  10. ^ Seidman, Robert (June 29, 2011). "CBS Announces Fall 2011 Premiere Dates". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved July 1, 2011. 
  11. ^ Russ Burlingame. "Ant-Man's Most Overlooked Cameo: Ant-Man Himself". Comicbook.com. 

External links[edit]