Garrett Morris is an American actor, singer, and comedian. He is one of those African–American actors who have been able to overcome the racial barriers in the entertainment industry to carve a niche for themselves. He is best known for his regular appearances in the sketch-comedy program ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Morris was raised by his grandfather, who was a minister in church. As he was passionate about music in his childhood, his grandfather allowed Morris to sing in the church choir. In the early days of his career, Morris performed with the vocal singing group ‘The Belafonte Folk Singers.’ Later, he developed an interest in acting and moved to theater productions and TV sitcoms. Morris was an integral part of the show ‘Saturday Night Live’ for 5 years. Though he played several comic characters, Morris felt that he was being typecast. He appeared in several movies such as ‘Cooley High,’ ‘Car Wash,’ and ‘The Stuff.’ When he was at the peak of his career, Morris was shot by a thief. He was badly injured, and his career was affected. After recuperating from his injuries, Morris returned to the industry. The role of ‘Uncle Junior King,’ which he performed in the sitcom ‘The Jamie Foxx Show,’ became quite popular. Morris is active in the industry even at the age of 82.
Childhood & Early Life
Garrett Isaac Morris was born on February 1, 1937, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was raised by his grandfather, who was a Southern Baptist minister. As a young boy, Morris was passionate about music. His grandfather discovered his talent and encouraged him to participate in church choirs.
Morris received formal training in music, from the ‘Juilliard School of Music.’ In 1956, he received a scholarship to attend a music workshop at ‘Tanglewood.’ Soon, he won the ‘Tanglewood Conductors Award.’ In 1958, Morris graduated from the ‘Dillard University.’
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Morris started his career as a singer. He was part of the vocal music group ‘The Belafonte Folk Singers.’ Morris performed in several ‘Broadway’ musicals, such as ‘Hallelujah, Baby!’ and ‘Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death.’ He worked at the ‘Black Arts Repertory Theatre’ for a short span of time.
In 1970, Morris made his debut in movies, with the black comedy movie ‘Where’s Poppa?’ He performed as the character ‘Garrett.’ In the 1970s, Morris appeared in a few more movies, such as ‘Cooley High,’ ‘The Anderson Tapes,’ and ‘Car Wash.’
In 1975, Garrett Morris bagged the first prominent role of his career, when he was chosen to be part of the TV show ‘Saturday Night Live,’ aired on the ‘NBC’ network. It was a late-night sketch-comedy show, and Morris appeared as various recurring characters. One of his best-known characters on the show was that of the Dominican baseball player ‘Chico Escuela.’ He appeared as ‘Cliff,’ ‘Hodo,’ and ‘Merkon,’ too. Although Morris remained on the show from 1975 to 1980, he was unhappy because he was being typecast. He was always cast in stereotypical African–American roles.
In 1984, Morris performed in the black comedy ‘The Census Taker.’ The movie featured him as the title character, ‘Harvey,’ who was an annoying census-taker. In 1985, he starred in the science-fiction horror movie ‘The Stuff.’ The movie featured him as junk-food manufacturer ‘Charles W Hobbs,’ or “Chocolate Chip Charlie.”
In 1986, Morris was chosen to perform in the crime-drama series ‘Hunter.’ It was aired on the ‘NBC’ network. He portrayed the character ‘Arnold “Sporty” James.’ Morris remained a part of the series from 1986 to 1989. In 1987, he appeared as ‘Dummont’ in the comedy movie ‘The Underachievers.’
In the early 1990s, Morris performed in movies such as ‘Children of the Night,’ ‘Motorama,’ and ‘Severed Ties.’ He was also seen in TV series such as ‘Earth Angel,’ ‘Roc,’ and ‘Maid for Each Other.’ In 1994, Morris was shot by a mugger in what appeared to be an attempt to commit a theft. Morris was seriously injured in the incident. The bullet ripped through his abdomen, and he had to be hospitalized for over a month. This incident affected his career.
In 1994, at the time of the attack, Morris was shooting for the TV series ‘Martin.’ It was one of the most popular sitcoms aired on the ‘Fox’ network. Morris portrayed ‘Stan Winters,’ who was the boss of the protagonist, ‘Martin.’ ‘Winters’ was an untrustworthy man who dressed outrageously. When Morris was shot, his character suffered a setback. Morris returned to the series after recuperating from his injuries but only appeared in a few more episodes.
In 1996, Garrett bagged a role that was another milestone in his career. He was chosen to portray ‘Uncle Junior King’ on ‘The Jamie Foxx Show,’ aired on ‘The WB.’ His character was pivotal to the show, and he remained on the show till 2001.
In the 2000s, Morris performed in TV series such as ‘Justice League,’ ‘’All of Us,’ and ‘Family Guy.’ He was also seen in movies such as ‘Frank,’ ‘Who’s Your Caddy?,’ and ‘Ant-Man.’
From 2011 to 2017, Morris performed as ‘Earl’ in the TV series ‘2 Broke Girls,’ which was aired on the ‘CBS’ network. In 2018, he was seen in the series ‘This Is Us’ and ‘Scandal.’
Family & Personal Life
In 1996, Morris married Freda. The couple is rumored to be heading toward a divorce. Not much is known about their children.
Morris is actively pursuing his career even at the age of 82. He owns a comedy club named ‘The Downtown Comedy Club.’