Robert Morse

Robert Morse
Morse at The Paley Center For Media's PaleyFest 2014 Honoring Mad Men
Born (1931-05-18) May 18, 1931
Newton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Occupation Actor, singer
Years active 1953–present
Spouse(s)
  • Carol Ann D'Andreá
    (m. 1961; div. 1981)
  • Elizabeth Roberts
    (m. 1989)

Robert Alan Morse (born May 18, 1931) is an American actor and singer, best known as the star of both the 1961 original Broadway production and 1967 film adaptation of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and as Bertram Cooper, from 2007 to 2015, in the AMC dramatic series Mad Men.[1][2][3][4]

Early life

Morse was born on May 18, 1931 in Newton, Massachusetts, the second child of Charles Morse and Mary Silver. He attended a number of different schools until finding his inspiration in Henry Lasker, a drama teacher at Newton High School. "He knew what I had burning in me and wanted to express." Upon graduation, he left home for New York City to fulfill his ambition of becoming an actor, joining his elder brother Richard who was already studying acting at the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse. Then, in quick succession, he received a role in The Proud and Profane (1956), a film starring William Holden and Deborah Kerr (although uncredited, he did manage to work for five to six weeks on the film at the lofty sum of $500 a week). Soon thereafter, he was cast as Barnaby Tucker in the original Broadway production of Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, launching his career.

Career

Morse has earned multiple nominations and wins for Tony, Drama Desk and Emmy awards over a period of five decades. He is well known for his appearances in musicals and plays on Broadway, as well as roles in movies and television shows. Perhaps best known for his role as young 1960s New York City businessman J. Pierrepont Finch in the 1961 Broadway production and 1967 film version of the Frank Loesser and Abe Burrows musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Morse gained new prominence in the late 2000s for his recurring role of elder 1960s New York City businessman Bertram Cooper on the AMC television show Mad Men.[5]

Having already played Barnaby on Broadway, Morse reprised the role in the 1958 film adaptation of The Matchmaker, this time opposite Shirley Booth. That same year, he won the Theatre World Award and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for Say, Darling. What was considered the final step toward full stardom was his performance as J. Pierrepont Finch in the Pulitzer Prize-winning How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. It won him the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical in 1962.[6] He also starred in the 1967 movie version.

In 1964, Morse co-starred in the comedy film Quick, Before It Melts. In 1965, Morse appeared in the black comedy film The Loved One, a movie based on the Evelyn Waugh novel of the same name which satirized the funeral business in Los Angeles, in particular the Forest Lawn Cemetery. In 1967, he co-starred in A Guide for the Married Man, opposite Walter Matthau. In 1968, he appeared in the comedy Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? opposite Doris Day. In the same year, he appeared in the 1968 television series That's Life, which attempted to blend the musical genre with a situation comedy centered on newlyweds "Robert" and "Gloria" (played by E. J. Peaker).[7] In 1968, he guest-starred on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. In 1987, Morse also appeared in the movie The Emperor's New Clothes, which starred Sid Caesar and was part of the Cannon Movie Tales series. Morse was in the original Broadway cast of Sugar, a 1972 musical stage adaptation of Some Like It Hot, for which he was nominated for another Tony. He won a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show for his portrayal of Truman Capote in Tru (1989).[8] In 1992, he recreated his performance for the PBS series American Playhouse and won the Emmy Award as Best Actor in a Miniseries or Special. In 1999, Morse was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame for his long career as a stage actor.[9] In 2002, Morse was cast in the role of the Wizard of Oz in the San Francisco run of the musical Wicked, but quit the show before it opened on Broadway. He was replaced by Joel Grey.[10]

Morse joined other performers, including Marlo Thomas, in creating the 1972 Free to Be... You and Me children's album.

He also provided the voice for the cartoon character Howler in Hanna Barbera's Pound Puppies.

Another famous role he played was Jack in the 1979 animated Rankin/Bass special Jack Frost. In The First Easter Rabbit, also by Rankin/Bass, he was the voice of the main character, Stuffy.

Morse has appeared in dozens of TV shows going back to the live days of television with the Kraft Theatre and General Electric Theatre. He appeared as Boss Hogg's devious nephew, Dewey Hogg, in The Dukes of Hazzard sixth-season episode "How to Succeed in Hazzard" (1984). He had featured roles in the 1993 miniseries Wild Palms and the 2000 medical drama City of Angels. He also appeared in five episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater from 1974 to 1976.

Beginning in 2007, Morse took on a recurring role in the AMC dramatic series Mad Men as Bertram Cooper, a founding partner in the advertising agency Sterling Cooper, for which role he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014.

Morse was in the Broadway revival of The Front Page at the Broadhurst Theatre starting on September 20, 2016.[11]

Personal life

Morse has been married twice[8] and has five children.

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1956The Proud and ProfaneCasualtyUncredited
1958The MatchmakerBarnaby Tucker
1963The CardinalBobby
1964Honeymoon HotelJay Menlow
1964Quick, Before It MeltsOliver Cromwell Cannon
1965The Loved OneDennis Barlow
1967Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So SadJonathan
1967How to Succeed in Business Without Really TryingJ. Pierpont Finch
1967A Guide for the Married ManEdward L. Stander
1968Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?Waldo Zirrer
1970The BoatniksEnsign Garland
1987HunkGarrison Gaylord
1987The Emperor's New ClothesThe Tailor
2002It's All About YouDr. Flowers
2012The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente FernandezBurt
2016Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The MovieWalter Hoving

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1954The Secret StormJerry Ames #1Unknown episodes
1955Goodyear Television PlayhouseN/AEpisode: "Man on Spikes"
1956The Alcoa HourJiyaEpisode: "The Big Wave"
1956Matinee TheatreLarryEpisode: "Eye of the Storm"
1957Matinee TheatreFrank WilsonEpisode: "Rain in the Morning"
1959Alfred Hitchcock PresentsPhilEpisode: "Touché"
1959Play of the WeekGustaveEpisode: "Thieves Carnival"
1960Alfred Hitchcock PresentsLenEpisode: "Hitch Hike"
1960Play of the WeekProfessor PearsonEpisode: "The Velvet Glove"
1961Shirley Temple's StorybookDrum CarpenterEpisode: "Rebel Gun"
1961Naked CityRichy WilkinEpisode: "Sweet Prince of Delancey Street"
1968–1969That's LifeRobert Dickson26 episodes
1971Alias Smith and JonesFred PhilpottsEpisode: "The Day They Hanged Kid Curry"
1971Night GalleryRoger BlackerEpisode: "Marmalade Wine"
1971Love, American StyleEpisode: "Love and the Ledge"
1974Love, American StyleEverettEpisode: "Love and the Forever Tree"
1976The First Easter RabbitYoung Stuffy (voice)Television movie
1978The Stingiest Man in TownYoung Scrooge (voice)Television movie
1978Fantasy IslandBarney ShoreEpisode: "The Island of Lost Women"
1979Jack FrostJack Frost (voice)Television movie
1982All My ChildrenHarry the BookieEpisode: "20 July 1982"
1982The Good BookHost / Narrator / Saloon IndianTelevision pilot
1983MonchhichisMoncho (voice)13 episodes
1983One Day at a TimeFrank SampsonEpisode: "Worried Heart"
1983MasqueradeN/AEpisode: "Pilot"
1984Calendar Girl MurdersNat CourayTelevision movie
1984The Fall GuySky KellyEpisode: "Rabbit's Feet"
1984The Dukes of HazzardDewey HoggEpisode: "How to Succeed in Hazzard"
1984Tales of the UnexpectedStephen ShawEpisode: "Sauce for the Goose"
1985Murder, She WroteMarc FaberEpisode: "Broadway Malady"
1985Trapper John, M.D.Honest Wayne McIntyreEpisode: "A False Start"
1985The Twilight ZoneCupidEpisode: "Ye Gods"
1986You Again?Officer MortonEpisode: "The Lush Life"
1986–1987Pound PuppiesHowler (voice)25 episodes
1990MasqueradeN/ATelevision movie
1991ProStarsAdditional VoicesUnknown episodes
1992Tiny Toon AdventuresGoopy Geer (voice)Episode: "Two-Tone Town"
1992American PlayhouseTruman CapoteEpisode: "Tru"
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1993Wild PalmsChap Starfall3 episodes
1995Aaahh!!! Real MonstersDootch (voice)Episode: "Where Have All the Monsters Gone?"
1995Here Come the MunstersGrandpaTelevision movie
1997RugratsMr. Koch (voice)Episode: "Faire Play"
1997SupermanDesaad (voice)Episode: "Father's Day"
1997Union SquareSanta ClausEpisode: "Jack Gets a Hot Tip"
1998Suddenly SusanUncle BertEpisode: "The Thanksgiving Episode"
1999The Wild ThornberrysJake (voice)Episode: "Two's Company"
2000City of AngelsEdwin O'Malley14 episodes
2006I Did Not Know ThatNick RabinowitzTelevision movie
2007–2015Mad MenBertram Cooper58 episodes
Satellite Award for Best Cast – Television Series
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (2008, 2010–11, 2013–14)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2008, 2011, 2013)
2007Jeff Ltd.RonEpisode: "Too Many Hens in the Foxhouse"
2014Sofia the FirstMarshak / Gnuckles (voice)2 episodes
2014The Legend of KorraGovernor (voice)Episode: "After All These Years"
2015–2017Teen Titans Go!Santa Claus (voice)6 episodes
2016American Crime StoryDominick Dunne6 episodes
2016Animals.Old Phil (voice)Episode: "Flies."

References

  1. Fear, David. "Mad Men's Robert Morse on Dancing Into the Sunset". Rolling Stone. ISSN 0035-791X.
  2. Simonson, Robert. ""Mad Men" and In Your Arms Star Robert Morse on Making Jon Hamm Cry". www.playbill.com. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  3. "Robert Morse". Ibdb.com. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  4. "Bertram Cooper". Amctv.com.
  5. Itzkoff, Dave (May 27, 2014). "Robert Morse on His Big 'Mad Men' Number". New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
  6. "TonyAwards.com – The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards – Official Website by IBM". IBM Corp., Tony Award Productions. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  7. TV.com entry for That's Life
  8. 1 2 Hutchings, David (January 15, 1990). "His Boyishness a Casualty of Age and Experience, Robert Morse Is Reborn as Truman Capote". People.
  9. "On Stage: New class of theater hall of famers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  10. David Cote (2005). Wicked: The Grimmerie: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Hit Broadway Musical. Hyperion. ISBN 1-4013-0820-1.
  11. "Extra, Extra: Full Cast and Theatre Announced for Broadway Front Page | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2016-08-21.
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