David Bowditch Morse (born October 11, 1953) is an American actor, singer, television director, and writer. He first came to national attention as Dr. Jack "Boomer" Morrison in the medical drama series St. Elsewhere (1982–88). He continued his film career with roles in The Negotiator, Contact, The Green Mile, Dancer in the Dark, Disturbia, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Rock and 12 Monkeys.
|Born||October 11, 1953|
Beverly, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Alma mater||William Esper Studio|
|Occupation||Actor, singer, television director, writer|
|Years active||1980 - present|
|Height||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
Susan Wheeler Duff
In 2006, Morse had a recurring role as Detective Michael Tritter on the medical drama series House, for which he received an Emmy Award nomination. He portrayed George Washington in the 2008 HBO miniseries John Adams, which garnered him a second Emmy nomination. He has also received acclaim for his portrayal of Uncle Peck on the Off-Broadway play How I Learned to Drive, earning a Drama Desk Award and Obie Award. He has also had success on Broadway, portraying James "Sharky" Harkin in The Seafarer. From 2010 to 2013, he portrayed Terry Colson, an honest police officer in a corrupt New Orleans police department, on the HBO series Treme. He also appeared in the WGN America series Outsiders (2016–17) and in the Showtime miniseries Escape at Dannemora (2018).
Morse was born October 11, 1953, in Beverly, Massachusetts, the son of Jacquelyn, a school teacher, and Charles Morse, a sales manager. He was raised in Essex, Massachusetts and Hamilton, Massachusetts. His middle name, Bowditch, comes from mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch.
Film and television
After graduating from high school in 1971, Morse studied acting at the William Esper Studio. He began his acting career in the theater as a player for the Boston Repertory Theatre in the early 1970s. In the mid-1970s, Esquire Jauchem, artistic director of the Boston Repertory Theater, adapted and directed a stage musical version of The Point! that starred an 18-year-old Morse as Oblio. The production later toured to the Trinity Square Repertory Company in Providence. He spent some time in New York's theater community in the early 1980s before moving into television and film. During that time, Morse was listed as one of the twelve most "Promising New Actors of 1980" in John A. Willis's Screen World, Vol. 32. Morse's big break came in 1982 when he was cast in the television medical drama St. Elsewhere. He played Dr. Jack "Boomer" Morrison, a young physician who is forced to deal with the death of his wife and the struggles of a single parent professional.
Morse appeared in a number of supporting roles following St. Elsewhere. He is quoted as saying: "I made the decision that I didn't care if there was any money in the role or not. I had to find roles that were different from what I had been doing." His turn in Desperate Hours as antagonist showed a darker Morse. He later starred in The Indian Runner and The Crossing Guard. He has appeared in three adaptations of Stephen King stories: The Langoliers, Hearts in Atlantis, and The Green Mile. He was a guest star on Homicide: Life on the Street, playing a racist cousin of Detective Tim Bayliss.
In 2002, Morse starred as Mike Olshansky, an ex-Philadelphia police officer turned cab driver, in the television film Hack. The film was so well received that a television series with the same name was created. For his role in the 2002 crime-drama film Shuang Tong, Morse was nominated as Best Supporting Actor in the Golden Horse Awards, the first ever nomination for an English-speaking actor. He appeared as questionable neighbor Mr. Turner in the 2007 release Disturbia. Film critic and commentator John Podhoretz wrote that Morse is a "largely unsung character actor who enlivens and deepens every movie fortunate enough to have him in the cast".
In 2006, Morse received a phone call from David Shore, having previously worked with him on the Hack series, who asked him if he would be interested in having a guest role on House. When Morse watched the show, he could not understand why people watched the show, because he believed that "this House guy is a total jerk". When he told some of his friends about the offer, however, their excited reactions convinced him to accept the role. Morse portrayed Michael Tritter, a detective with a vendetta against Dr. House. He earned his first Emmy Award nomination for his work on the series.
In 2008, Morse portrayed George Washington in the HBO miniseries John Adams, for which his nose was made bigger. Morse commented: "The first thing that comes to mind is my nose; it was my big idea to do that nose. We didn't have a lot of time, because they asked me to do this about three weeks before they started shooting, and I just kept looking at these portraits and thinking 'this man's face is so commanding'. And I did not feel that my face was very commanding in the way his was. So I convinced them that we should try the nose, and we tried it on, and everybody went 'wow, that's Washington'." Morse's portrayal earned him his second Emmy Award nomination. He is currently reprising the role of Washington in voice form as part of The Hall of Presidents show in Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom.
Morse has stated that out of all of the films he has done, his favorites are The Green Mile, The Crossing Guard, and The Indian Runner. In 2010, he guest starred in two episodes of the HBO drama series Treme, as Lt. Terry Colson of the New Orleans Police Department. He was promoted to series regular starting with the show's second season, which began in April 2011. Later that year, Morse won the best actor award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for his role in Collaborator. He played an ex-CIA agent in the film World War Z (2013). He played the late NFL player, Mike Webster, in the biographical sports drama Concussion.
In addition to his film and television career, Morse has continued to appear on stage. For his performance in the 1997 Off-Broadway production of Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama How I Learned to Drive, he received an Obie Award, a Drama League Award, a Drama Desk Award, and a Lucille Lortel Award. That same year, he played Father Barry in the play adaptation of On the Waterfront. The play ran for only eight performances. From 2007 to 2008, Morse appeared on Broadway in Conor McPherson's play The Seafarer. He received a Tony Award nomination for his role in the 2018 Broadway revival of The Iceman Cometh.
Morse has three younger siblings. He has been married to actress and author of The Habit, Susan Wheeler Duff Morse, since 1982. They have one daughter, Eliza, and twin sons Benjamin and Samuel. After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Morse and his family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where they currently live.
|1980||Inside Moves||Jerry Maxwell|
|1982||Max Dugan Returns||Shoe Store Cop|
|1991||The Indian Runner||Joe Roberts|
|1993||The Good Son||Jack Evans|
|1994||The Getaway||Jim "Deer" Jackson|
|1994||Magic Kid II||Jack|
|1995||The Taming Power of the Small|
|1995||The Crossing Guard||John Booth||Nominated – Best Supporting Male at the Independent Spirit Awards|
|1995||12 Monkeys||Dr. Peters|
|1996||The Rock||Major Tom Baxter|
|1996||Extreme Measures||FBI Agent Frank Hare|
|1996||The Long Kiss Goodnight||Luke / Daedalus|
|1998||The Legend of Pig Eye|
|1998||The Negotiator||Adam Beck|
|1999||Crazy in Alabama||Dove Bullis|
|1999||The Green Mile||Brutus "Brutal" Howell||Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|2000||Dancer in the Dark||Bill Houston|
|2000||Proof of Life||Peter Bowman|
|2001||Diary of a City Priest||Father John McNamee|
|2001||Hearts in Atlantis||Adult Bobby Garfield|
|2002||The Slaughter Rule||Gideon "Gid" Ferguson|
|2002||Double Vision||Kevin Richter||Nominated – Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Horse Film Festival|
|2005||Down in the Valley||Wade|
|2005||Nearing Grace||Shep Nearing|
|2005||Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story||Everett Palmer|
|2006||A.W.O.L.||Major Cliff Marquette|
|2006||16 Blocks||Det. Frank Nugent|
|2009||The Hurt Locker||Colonel Reed||Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast|
WAFCA Award for Best Ensemble
|2010||Mother and Child||Tom|
|2010||The Pond||Adam 11||Short film|
|2011||Collaborator||Gus Williams||Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Award for Best Actor|
Nominated – Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Canadian Screen Awards
|2012||The Odd Life of Timothy Green||James "Big Jim" Green Sr.|
|2013||McCanick||Eugene "Mack" McCanick||Also producer|
|2013||World War Z||Ex-CIA Agent|
|2013||Winter in the Blood||Airplane Man|
|2015||The Boy||John Henley|
|2017||Thank You for Your Service||Fred Gusman|
|2021||The Virtuoso||The Deputy|
|TBA||The Gettysburg Address||Abraham Lincoln||Voice|
|1981||Nurse||Kevin Mallory||Episode: "Equal Opportunity"|
|1981||Our Family Business||Phil||Television film|
|1982–88||St. Elsewhere||Dr. Jack Morrison||137 episodes|
"A Coupla White Dummies Sitting Around Talking"
|1984||Shattered Vows||Father Tim||Television film|
|1985||When Dreams Come True||Robert Wynton||Television film|
|1987||Place at the Table||Tom Williams||Television film|
|1987||Six Against the Rock||Marvin Hubbard||Television film|
|1987||Downpayment on Murder||Det. Jackson||Television film|
|1989||Brotherhood of the Rose||Chris / Remus||Television film|
|1989||Cross of Fire||Klell Henry||Television film|
|1989||Friday the 13th: The Series||Wrote and directed episode: "A Friend to the End"|
|1989||Midnight Caller||Chandler||Episode: "Wait Until Midnight"|
|1991||Cry in the Wild: The Taking of Peggy Ann||Bicycle Pete||Television film|
|1992||The Hat Squad||Episode: "Frankie Stein"|
|1992||Tales from the Crypt||Tom McMurdo||Episode: "Showdown"|
|1992||Reasonable Doubts||Edward Durrell||Episode: "Moment of Doubt"|
|1992||Dead Ahead: The Exxon Valdez Disaster||Rick Steiner||Television film|
|1993||Miracle on Interstate 880||Dr. Jim Betts||Television film|
|1993||Big Wave Dave's||Dave Bell||6 episodes|
|1993||SeaQuest DSV||Lenny Sutter||Episode: "SeaWest"|
|1995||Homicide: Life on the Street||Jim Bayliss||Episode: "Colors"|
|1995||The New Adventures of Madeline||Pepito||Voice|
|1995||The Langoliers||Captain Brian Engle||Television film|
|1995||Tecumseh: The Last Warrior||Galloway||Television film|
|1997||Murder Live!||Frank McGrath||Television film|
|1998||Stories from My Childhood||Voices||2 episodes|
|2001||Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided||Abraham Lincoln||Voice|
|2002–04||Hack||Mike Olshansky||40 episodes|
Wrote episode: "Gone"
|2006–07||House||Det. Michael Tritter||6 episodes|
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
|2008||John Adams||George Washington||4 episodes|
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated – Monte-Carlo Television Festival for Outstanding Actor in a Mini Series
|2009||Medium||Douglas Lydecker||3 episodes|
|2009||Empire State||James Cochrane||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2010–13||Treme||NOPD Lt. Terry Colson||31 episodes|
|2011||Lights Out||Jerry "The Rainmaker" Raines||1 episode|
|2012||Victory in Defeat||Douglas MacArthur||Japanese series|
|2012||Robot Chicken||Robin Hood|
Episode: "Butchered in Burbank"
|2014||Untitled Wall Street Project||Conklin||CBS pilot|
|2015||True Detective||Eliot Bezzerides||3 episodes|
|2016–17||Outsiders||"Big Foster" Farrell VI||26 episodes|
|2017–20||Blindspot||Hank Crawford||7 episodes|
|2018||Escape at Dannemora||Gene Palmer||6 episodes|
|2019||The Deuce||Matthew Rouse||2 episodes|
|2019||The Morning Show||Mr. Jackson||1 episode|
|2020||The Good Lord Bird||Dutch Henry Sherman||7 episodes|
|1995||On the Waterfront||Father Barry|
|1997–1998||How I Learned to Drive||Uncle Peck||Century Center for the Performing Arts|
Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Actor
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor
Obie Award for Best Performance
Nominated – Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor
|2007–2008||The Seafarer||James "Sharky" Harkin|
|2013||The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin||Tom Durnin||Laura Pels Theatre|
|2018||The Iceman Cometh||Larry Slade||Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre|
Nominated – Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play
- Patricia, Sheridan (June 23, 2008). "Patricia Sheridan's Breakfast With ... David Morse". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 15, 2009.
- "People Search: MORSE, DAVID born 10/11/1953". Veromi. Retrieved October 27, 2009.
- "David Morse Biography (1953–)". Filmreference. Retrieved July 25, 2008.
- "William Esper Studio for Acting". Archived from the original on October 31, 2007. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
- "David Morse Biography". Unofficial David Morse website. Archived from the original on September 17, 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2008.
- Willis, John (1982). Screen World 1981. Screen World. 32. Crown. ISBN 978-0-584-97079-1.
- Thompson, Robert J. "St. Elsewhere". The Museum of Broadcast Communications. Archived from the original on June 25, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
- Byrne, Bridget (November 8, 2006). "David Morse a 'House' Cop With a Problem". Associated Press. Retrieved August 15, 2008.
- Fontana, Tom; Attanasio, Paul; Mark, Bonnie (April 28, 1995). "Colors". Homicide: Life on the Street. Season 3. Episode 19. NBC.
- Podhoretz, John (April 30, 2007). "Hitchcock Lite; Entertaining, yes, but Shia LaBeouf is no James Stewart". review on Disturbia. The Weekly Standard. pp. 46–47.
- Murray, Noel. "Random Roles: David Morse". The A.V. club. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
- "The 59th Primetime Emmy Awards and Creative Arts Emmy Awards Nominees are..." Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved March 2, 2008.
- Amodio, Joseph V. (February 24, 2008). "Fast Chat: David Morse". Actor David Morse of 'The Green Mile' and 'Disturbia' is starring on Broadway in 'The Seafarer'. Newsday. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2008.
- "'Restoration' wins at Karlovy Vary". Variety. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
- "On the Waterfront". The Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
- Latifi, Sadia (June 12, 2007). "We Ask David Morse of 'The Seafarer' Who's Tougher: The Devil or House?". New York Magazine. Retrieved November 28, 2008.
- "The Seafarer". The Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
- David Morse as Steeler Mike Webster in Will Smith movie. Blogs.post-gazette.com (October 10, 2014). Retrieved on October 21, 2015.
- The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin – 2012–2013 Season – Roundabout Theatre Company Archived August 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Roundabouttheatre.org. Retrieved on October 21, 2015.
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