Birthday: September 4, 1919
Died At Age: 85
Sun Sign: Virgo
Also Known As: Howard Jerome Morris
Born Country: United States
Born in: The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Famous as: Actor, Director
Spouse/Ex-: Dolores A. Wylie (m. 1962; div. 1977), Mary Helen McGowan (m. 1945; div. 1962)
father: Hugo Morris
Died on: May 21, 2005
place of death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
City: New York City
U.S. State: New Yorkers
Howard Morris was an American actor, voice actor, and director. He possessed excellent comic skills. Morris is best known for his characters, ‘Uncle Goopy’ in the variety show ‘Your Show of Shows’ and ‘Ernest T. Bass’ in the sitcom ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ Born in a Jewish family, Morris found humor in the problems of day-to-day life. He served in the ‘U.S. Army’ during the World War II. During this period, Morris formed a comedy group, along with comedian Carl Reiner, to entertain the troops. This friendship later landed him a part in ‘Your Show of Shows.’ Morris was part of several TV shows, such as ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show,’ ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents,’ and ‘Make Room for Daddy.’ Morris was more successful as a voice actor; he lent his voice to well-known characters in several animation series. His powerful voice was heard in many shows, such as ‘The Flintstones,’ ‘The Jetsons,’ and ‘The Magilla Gorilla Show.’ Morris acted in comic films, such as ‘The Nutty Professor,’ and ‘Return to Mayberry.’ He directed ‘With Six You Get Eggroll’ and ‘Who’s Minding the Mint?’
Childhood & Early Life
Howard Jerome Morris was born on September 4, 1919, in The Bronx, New York. His family had Jewish ancestry. His father, Hugo Morris, worked as an executive in a rubber company. His mother, Elsie, worked as a cinema organist.
Morris’ father lost his job during ‘The Depression’ and died of a heart failure a little later. Even as a youngster, Morris had the talent to find humor even in the most depressing moments of life. Commenting about his father’s death, Howard said saying that he had died of unemployment.
Morris won a scholarship to study at ‘New York University,’ but he had to abandon his studies, because he was called for duty during the World War II. During the war, he was designated as a first sergeant in the ‘United States Army Special Services’ unit. The famous British actor Maurice Evans was his commander. Noted comedian Carl Reiner was also his colleague. Morris and Reiner were part of an entertainment group, which was set up to entertain the soldiers. This paved the way for his entry into the field of comedy and acting.
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After leaving the army, Morris starred in several ‘Broadway’ plays, including ‘Call Me Mister.’ In 1954, he was selected for the variety show ‘Your Show of Shows.’ It was a 90-minute show aired on the ‘NBC’ network. Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca were the main performers in the show. Howard Morris, Carl Reiner, and a few others were part of the main cast. It was a show that gave a comic presentation of human pretensions and eccentricities. It is considered one of the greatest TV shows of all time. In the show, Morris appeared as ‘Uncle Goopy.’ The character had an eccentric touch, and clung to his nephew to display his affection. He established himself as a comedian after the show.
In 1957, Morris appeared in the comedy show ‘The Polly Bergen Show,’ which was aired on the ‘NBC’ channel. The show was short lived. In 1962, he starred in the romantic comedy movie ‘Boys’ Night Out.’ In the movie, he performed as ‘Howie,’ who is in search of a relation outside marriage.
In 1963, Morris portrayed ‘Mr. Elmer Kelp’ in the comic movie ‘The Nutty Professor.’ In the same year, he performed as ‘George P. Hanley’ in the episode ‘I Dream of Genie’ of ‘The Twilight Zone.’ Morris was also seen in the sitcom ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show.’
From 1963 to 1965, Morris performed in several episodes of the situation comedy series ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ It was a popular show and ran for eight long seasons. In the series, Morris performed as ‘Ernest T. Bass,’ character quite popular with the viewers.
Howard Morris had a flourishing career as a voice actor, too. He lent his voice to several animation characters. His voice featured in several series by ‘Hanna-Barbera Productions.’ Morris lent his voice to ‘Henry Orbit,’ in the series ‘The Jetsons.’ He was also part of the animation series ‘The Flintstones.’ Morris was the voice behind the cartoon superhero ‘Atom Ant,’ which was created by ‘Hanna-Barbera.’
In 1964, Morris lent his voice to ‘Mr. Pebbles’ in ‘The Magilla Gorilla Show.’ He also gave his voice in animation shows, such as ‘The Archie Show,’ ‘Garfield and Friends,’ ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ and ‘Alvin & the Chipmunks.’
Howard Morris directed several movies, including ‘With Six You Get Eggroll’ and ‘Who’s Minding the Mint?’ He directed a few episodes of TV shows, such as ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ and ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ Morris was the voice director of the animation series, ‘Police Academy’ ‘Richie Rich,’ and ‘Galaxy High.’
Family, Personal Life & Legacy
Howard Morris was married and divorced five times. He has one son and three daughters.
On May 21, 2005, Morris suffered a chronic heart failure, and breathed his last. He was 85 years old. His body was buried at the ‘Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery,’ California.