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Howard Morris

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Biography

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Director, Actor
Born:
September 4, 1919 in The Bronx, New York City, NY
Death:
May 21, 2005 in Los Angeles, CA
Biography
Diminutive (5'7") comic actor Howard Morris was in his teens when, while attending the National Youth Administration's radio workshop in New York City, he befriended another aspiring actor named Carl Reiner. The two were reunited in Honolulu during World War II, when Morris was Reiner's sergeant in an entertainment unit. Both Morris and Reiner played supporting roles in Maurice Evans' army-camp tour of Hamlet and MacBeth; after the war, the two performers toured in the musical Call Me Mister before joining the cast of Sid Caesar's TV comedy-variety series. Only after finishing nine seasons with Caesar were Morris and Reiner able to establish their own individual showbiz identities: Reiner as a novelist, film supporting actor, director and creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Morris as one of the most prolific TV guest stars and directors of the 1960s. Relocating from New York to LA in 1961, Morris played the recurring role of goonish, rock-throwing Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show, and a whole slew of one-shot assignments on series ranging from The Danny Thomas Show to The Twilight Zone. Morris forever shed the "third banana" status he'd had during his Sid Caesar days by directing episodes of such TV weeklies as Andy Griffith, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gomer Pyle USMC, and the unforgettable black-and-white pilot for Get Smart. He also served as producer of the 1972-73 sitcom The Corner Bar. In films, Morris sparkled in such supporting parts as Jerry Lewis' browbeaten father in The Nutty Professor and German psychiatrist Dr. Lilloman in Mel Brooks' High Anxiety (1977). His theatrical-film directorial credits include the all-star comedy Who's Minding the Mint (1967), Doris Day's swan song With Six You Get Eggroll (1968), a very WASP-ish adaptation of Woody Allen's Don't Drink the Water (1969), and the Donny & Marie Osmond opus Goin' Coconuts (1978). Howard Morris is also a fixture of the animated cartoon voice-over world, supplying voices and directing recording sessions for many a Hanna-Barbera, Filmation and Walt Disney production: If you can't place the voice, think of Morris as Atom Ant, Beetle Bailey, Jughead Jones, and futuristic rock star Jet Screamer ("Eep, opp, ork, ah-ah") on The Jetsons. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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