Howard Morris

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Howard Morris
Howard Morris.jpg
Morris as Ernest T. Bass, 1960s.
Born Howard Jerome Morris
(1919-09-04)September 4, 1919
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Died May 21, 2005(2005-05-21) (aged 85)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, voice actor, director
Years active 1937–2005 (his death)
Spouse(s) Mary Helen McGowan
(m. 1945; div. 1962)
Dolores A. Wylie
(m. 1962; div. 1977)
Children 4

Howard Jerome Morris (September 4, 1919 – May 21, 2005) was an American actor, voice actor and director who was best known for his role in The Andy Griffith Show as Ernest T. Bass, and as "Uncle Goopy" in one of the most celebrated comedy sketches in history, on Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows (1954).

Life and career[edit]

Morris was born to a Jewish[1] family in The Bronx, New York, the son of Elsie and Hugo Morris, a rubber company executive.[2] During World War II, he was assigned to a United States Army Special Services unit where he was the First Sergeant. Maurice Evans was the company commander and Carl Reiner and Werner Klemperer were soldiers in the unit. Based in Honolulu, the unit entertained American troops throughout the Pacific.[3]

He came to prominence in appearances on Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows (a live sketch comedy series appearing weekly in the United States, from 1950 to 1954). It was in April 1954 that Morris joined Caesar and Carl Reiner in "This Is Your Story," an 11-minute takeoff on Ralph Edwards's This Is Your Life. Morris claimed it was his favorite.[4] As The New Yorker's David Margolick wrote in 2014,

Though the competition is stiff, many feel that this sketch is the funniest that “Your Show of Shows” ever did . . . . That night nearly sixty years ago, the show produced what is probably the longest and loudest burst of laughter—genuine laughter, neither piped in nor prompted—in the history of television.

Never afraid to have talented people around him, Caesar is actually upstaged here by his second second banana (that is, after Reiner): Howard Morris, who plays Duncey’s long-lost Uncle Goopy, who, overcome with emotion, repeatedly clings to and slobbers over his favorite nephew. Shamelessly milking the moment, Morris throws in all sorts of extra embraces, even clinging to his leg as a lumbering Caesar drags him to the couch. It was a dangerous thing to do, but evidently Morris felt he could do it.[5]

[6]This opinion is shared by the New York Times (in Morris's obit),[7] and,[8] among others. Conan O'Brien tweeted in 2014, "Saw this Sid Caesar sketch when I was a kid. It made me want to make people laugh."[9] Billy Crystal later called it a defining early influence: "That's how I used to go to bed. I'd grab my dad's leg, and he'd drag me to bed like Sid Caesar."[4] The sketch can be viewed here, Morris entering at the 4:00 mark.

Morris also appeared twice in 1957 in episodes of the short-lived NBC comedy/variety show The Polly Bergen Show.

Although Morris was a classically trained Shakespearean actor, he is best remembered for playing the wily and over-the-top "mountain man" character Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show. Also, he played George, the TV mechanic in the episode: "Andy and Helen have their Day" on the Andy Griffith show. He had lampooned southern accents while in the army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He starred in one of the more comical early hour-long Twilight Zone episodes, "I Dream of Genie". Other roles included that of Elmer Kelp in The Nutty Professor, a movie studio clerk in the short film Star Spangled Salesman, and an art appraiser in an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show. He also had appeared in several Broadway shows including the highly regarded 1960 revival of Finian's Rainbow as Og the leprechaun opposite Bobby Howes as Finian. He played the role of Schmidlap in Way... Way Out and appeared in the movie, Boys' Night Out (1962) starring Tony Randall, Kim Novak and James Garner.

Voice acting[edit]

Morris was first heard in animated cartoons in the early 1960s. He and Allan Melvin teamed up for a 50-episode King Features Syndicate series, Beetle Bailey, for which he and Melvin also wrote a number of episodes. He also provided the voices for Gene Deitch's Academy Award-winning Munro, about a four-year-old boy who was drafted into the Army.

Beginning in 1962, Morris played a variety of voices in many Hanna-Barbera series including The Jetsons as Jet Screamer who sang the "Eep opp ork ah ah!" song,[10] (said to be Morris' first work for Hanna-Barbera) and The Flintstones. He was the original voice of Atom Ant and provided the voice of Mr. Peebles in the Magilla Gorilla series, teaming up again with Allan Melvin who performed the voice for Magilla. In another series, Morris was heard as the voice of Breezly Bruin which was similar in tone with the Bill Scott vocalization of Bullwinkle. Morris had a disagreement with Joseph Barbera prior to production of the 1966-1967 season of Magilla Gorilla and Atom Ant and all of his voices were recast, mostly using Don Messick. Years later the two men reconciled and Morris was back doing those voices and others. He also lent his voice to Forsythe "Jughead" Jones on Filmation's series The Archies from 1968-1977.

Morris also voiced the characters Professor Icenstein and Luigi La Bounci in the animated series Galaxy High. He vocied Mayor McCheese and later the Hamburglar (Taking over for Larry Storch in 1986) in McDonald's McDonaldland ad campaign, which Morris also directed. He is also remembered by Filmation and Archie Show fans as the voice of Jughead Jones throughout the life of the franchise. Morris provided the voice of Wade Duck in the U.S. Acres segments of Garfield and Friends, and voiced Webbly in Bobby's World and Flem in Cow & Chicken. Morris supplied the voice of the koala in TV commercials for Qantas from 1967 through 1992 (saying the tagline, "I hate Qantas"),[11] and voiced the character of Gopher in the Disney featurettes Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree and Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. Also in 1989 he voiced a French gangster cat named Monte De Zar of Paris, France, (Fat Cat's Cousin) in an episode of Disney's: Chip 'N Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Le Purrfect Crime".


While Morris continued to make himself available for voice and sound effect roles, he also began a new career in voice directing. Among the projects he directed are Police Academy, Richie Rich, Bionic Six, Goin' Coconuts, Pole Position, Galaxy High, The Snorks, The Mighty Orbots, Rose Petal Place, The Dogfather, Dragon's Lair, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Turbo Teen, Cabbage Patch Kids: First Christmas, Little Clowns of Happytown, The Little Wizards, Space Stars and Kidd Video.

Later career[edit]

Morris directed Doris Day in her final film With Six You Get Eggroll (1968). Other films he directed were Don't Drink the Water (1969) and Who's Minding the Mint? (1967).

Mel Brooks occasionally cast Morris in his films. For example, he played Brooks' mentor psychiatrist Dr. Lilloman in the comedy High Anxiety (1977), the emperor's court spokesman ("Here, wash this!") in History of the World, Part I (1981), and played a bum named Sailor living in the streets in Life Stinks (1991).

In 1984, he played Dr. Zidell in Splash, a film directed by Ron Howard (the two had first worked together on The Andy Griffith Show). He worked with his old friend and trouping partner Sid Caesar as nervous Jewish tailors in the 1998 movie of Ray Bradbury's The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit.

In 1986, he reprised his famous role as Ernest T. Bass in the high-rated television movie Return to Mayberry. Morris also directed some episodes of Hogan's Heroes, The Dick Van Dyke Show and the black and white pilot episode of Get Smart.

In 1994, Morris voiced Zinn-a-Zu the Bird, Garfield the Third Fish, the Sneetches and Mr. Fox in Storybook Weaver, and later in 2004, remade as Storybook Weaver Deluxe.

Shortly before his death, he played Flem on Cow and Chicken.


On May 21, 2005, Morris died of congestive heart failure.[12] At his funeral, the "Uncle Goopy" sketch was shown; among the eulogizers were Carl Reiner, who praised Morris's ability to improvise, in this and other TV work.[13] He is entombed in Laurel Gardens Wall crypt at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.



Filmography (as director)[edit]


Complete Movie & Television Appearances:

  • Actor (31 Credits)

Title Role Year This Is Your Story (TV Show)

Uncle Goopy  

Baywatch (TV Show) Memorial Day — 1997 Scorcher — 1996

 1996 - 1997

Boogie Nights (Movie)

Mr. Brown  1997

It Came From Outer Space II (Movie)

Ben Cully  1996

A Flintstones Christmas Carol (Movie)


Tom And Jerry - The Movie (Movie)

Squawk  1993

Dying Young (Movie)

Voice on Jetsons  1991

Life Stinks (Movie)

Sailor  1991

Head of the Class (TV Show) Fillmore vs. Betty Jean's — 1990

Lucas  1990

Transylvania Twist (Movie)

Marinus Orlock  1989

End Of The Line (Movie)

Hobo  1988

The Love Boat (TV Show) Santa, Santa, Santa; Another Dog Gone Christmas; Noel's Christmas Carol — 1984

Billy Banks  1984

Splash (Movie)

Dr. Zidell  1984

History Of The World, Part 1 (Movie)

Court Spokesman  1981

High Anxiety (Movie)

Prof. Lilloman  1977

Love, American Style (TV Show) Love and the Eyewitnesses; The Plumber; The College Professor; The Lady Barber — 1971 Love and the Plumber; Love and the New Size


Mr. Magoo's Holiday Festival (Movie)

Prince  1970

Don't Drink The Water (Movie)

Getaway Pilot  1969

Way...Way Out (Movie)

Schmidlap  1966

The Andy Griffith Show (TV Show) Malcolm at the Crossroads Andy and Helen Have Their Day The Education of Ernest T. Bass See all 6 Episodes Ernest T. Bass The Lucy Show (TV Show) Lucy and the Golden Greek;

Fluffy (Movie)

Sweeney  1965

Make Room for Daddy (TV Show) The Leprechaun

The Dick Van Dyke Show (TV Show) The Masterpiece


The Twilight Zone (TV Show) I Dream of Genie

George P. Hanley  

The Nutty Professor (Movie)

Father Kelp  1963

Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Show) Most Likely to Succeed


Thriller (TV Show) The Lethal Ladies

Boys' Night Out (Movie)

Howard McIlleny  1962

Forty Pounds Of Trouble (Movie)

Julius  1962

Wanted: Dead or Alive (TV Show) Detour


Voice (21 Credits) Title Role Year Garfield and Friends (TV Show) Clown Face; Feline Felon; Banzai — 2018 Helping Hand; Count Lasagna; Mystery Guest — 2018 Party; Odielocks and The Three Cats; Carrot — 2018 See all 224 Episodes Wade Duck/Wart 2018 Sabrina the Teenage Witch (TV Show)

Gerald McBoing-Boing (TV Show) Cheese, Birds, and Cave Kids — 2006 The Dentist, the Sheep and the Two Anniversary Gifts — 2006 Baby Sister, Chalk and King Gerald — 2006 See all 14 Episodes Gerald McBoing-Boing 2006 Cow and Chicken (TV Show) Chachi the Chewing Gum Seal/Black Sheep of the Family/Enemy Camp — 1999 Careful What You Wish For; Lost at Sea; I.R. Do — 1998 Me an' My Dog; Cow's Dream Catcher; Dessert Island — 1998 See all 60 Episodes Earl 1998 - 1999 The Magilla Gorilla Show (TV Show)

Mr. Peebles  

Galaxy High School (TV Show) It Came From Earth — 1986 Martian Mumps — 1986 Founder's Day — 1986 See all 13 Episodes Professor Icenstein/Luigi La Bounci 1986 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (TV Show) Horror-Scope Scoob — 1985 The Ghouliest Show on Earth — 1985 Scooby in Kwackyland — 1985 See all 10 Episodes Bogel 1985 Paw Paws (TV Show)

Trembly Paw  

The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty (TV Show)

Waldo Kitty  

Mission: Magic (TV Show)

Socks/Vinnie/Mr. Samuels  

My Favorite Martians (TV Show)

Tim O'Hara/Off. Brennan/Tiny/Crumbs/Chump  

The Groovie Goolies (TV Show)


Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down? (TV Show)

Mr. Blunderbuss/Rotten Ralph  

The Archie Show (TV Show) Rocket Rock; Par One Kid's Day; Jughead Sampson Jones Hot Rod Drag; Snowbusiness See all 17 Episodes Jughead Jones/Big Moose/Dilton Doiley The Flintstones (TV Show) Surfin' Fred The Hatrocks and the Gruesomes The Gruesomes See all 26 Episodes Al The Andy Griffith Show (TV Show) Barney's Bloodhound

Leonard Blush  

King Features Trilogy (TV Show)

Beetle Bailey/Gen. Halftrack  

The Jetsons (TV Show) A Date With Jet Screamer

Jet Screamer  

Beetle Bailey (TV Show)

Beetle Bailey/Gen. Halftrack/Lt. Fuzz  

Archie's Funhouse (TV Show)


Archie's Funhouse (TV Show) Coke Head/Shadow Boxing Animal Antics/Roller Rink Snowball Skating/Bumsteer's Annual Rodeo See all 12 Episodes Jughead Director (20 Credits) Title Role Year Private Benjamin (TV Show) For Love of Judy — 1981


The Love Boat (TV Show) Vicki and the Gambler; Love With a Skinny Stranger; That Old Gang of Mine — 1981


Goin' Coconuts (Movie)


Laverne & Shirley (TV Show) Frank's Fling — 1977


One Day at a Time (TV Show) Father David — 1976 The College Man — 1976 Julie's Job — 1976 See all 4 Episodes 1976 The Little People (TV Show)

Get Smart (TV Show) The Not So Great Escape To Sire, with Love Mr. Big

Don't Drink The Water (Movie)


With Six You Get Eggroll (Movie)


Hogan's Heroes (TV Show) The Top Secret Top Coat The Flame Grows Higher Cupid Comes to Stalag 13 See all 13 Episodes Who's Minding The Mint? (Movie)


Bewitched (TV Show) Prodigy Junior Executive We're in for a Bad Spell

The Double Life of Henry Phyfe (TV Show) The Reluctant Lover

Laredo (TV Show) That's Noway, Thataway

Please Don't Eat the Daisies (TV Show) How About Two Gorillas?

The Patty Duke Show (TV Show) Patty and the Cut-Rate Casanova

The Dick Van Dyke Show (TV Show) The Case of the Pillow The Return of Edwin Carp Scratch My Car and Die See all 5 Episodes The Andy Griffith Show (TV Show) Otis Sues the County Three Wishes for Opie Andy and Helen Have Their Day See all 8 Episodes Gomer Pyle, USMC (TV Show) Sgt. Carter, Marine Baby-sitter They Shall Not Pass

The Bill Dana Show (TV Show) The Suggestion Box

Performer (2 Credits) Title Role Year Your Show of Shows (TV Show) Wendell Corey — 2017 Margaret Lindsay — 2017


Best of Your Show of Shows (TV Show)

Appearing (1 Credit) Title Role Year Mel Brooks Strikes Back (TV Show)

Television (as director)[edit]

  • The Dick Van Dyke Show - 5 episodes - The Ballad of the Betty Lou/A Nice, Friendly Game of Cards/Scratch My Car and Die/The Return of Edwin Carp/ The Case of the Pillow (1963-1965)
  • The Andy Griffith Show - 5 episodes - Barney's Bloodhound/The Darling Baby/Andy and Helen Have Their Day/Three Wishes for Opie/Otis Sues the County (1964)
  • Get Smart - episode - Mr. Big (1965)
  • The Patty Duke Show- (1965)
  • Bewitched - 3 episodes - We're in for a Bad Spell/Junior Executive/Prodigy (1965-1966)
  • Hogan's Heroes - 14 episodes - (1965-1967)
  • A Secret Agent's Dilemma, or A Clear Case of Mind Over Mata Hari - TV movie (1965)
  • Good Old Days - TV movie (1966)
  • Laredo - episode -That's Noway, Thataway (1966)
  • Laverne & Shirley - episode - Frank's Fling (1977)
  • The Beatrice Arthur Special - TV movie (1980)
  • Trapper John, M.D. - 2 episodes - Billboard Barney & Life, Death and Dr. Christmas (1985-1986)


  1. ^ Greenberg, Martin H. (1979). The Jewish Lists: Physicists and Generals, Actors and Writers, and Hundreds of Other Lists of Accomplished Jews. New York: Schocken Books. p. 198. ISBN 978-0805237115. 
  2. ^ "Howard Morris Biography (1919-)". Film Reference. 
  3. ^ Foster, Barbara (November 1983). "The Many Facets of a One-Time German Colonel, Werner Klemperer". Orange Coast. 
  4. ^ a b Bernstein, Adam (23 May 2005). "Comedian Howie Morris, 85, Dies". Retrieved 5 February 2018 – via 
  5. ^ Margolick, David (14 February 2014). "Sid Caesar's Finest Sketch". Retrieved 5 February 2018 – via 
  6. ^ p.386 H.W. Wilson Company Current Biography Yearbook (1962) H. W. Wilson Co., 1962
  7. ^ Fox, Margalit (25 May 2005). "Howard Morris, an Actor in Television Comedies, Dies at 85". Retrieved 5 February 2018 – via 
  8. ^ Arbeiter, Michael (12 February 2014). "Why Sid Caesar's 'This Is Your Life' Parody Is Considered the Funniest Comedy Sketch Ever". Retrieved 5 February 2018. 
  9. ^ O'Brien, Conan. "Saw this Sid Caesar sketch when I was a kid. It made me want to make people laugh:". Retrieved 5 February 2018.  External link in |title= (help)
  10. ^ Howard Morris Biography[permanent dead link], Hal Erickson, Allmovie
  11. ^ "Qantas Airways Remembers Actor/Director Howard Morris, the Voice of the Qantas Koala" (Press release). Qantas Airways. May 27, 2005. 
  12. ^ Fox, Margalit (May 25, 2005). "Howard Morris, an Actor in Television Comedies, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved September 2, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Goodbye, Uncle Goopy - News From ME". 28 May 2005. Retrieved 5 February 2018. 
  14. ^ IMDb

External links[edit]