Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Garrett Morris (born February 1, 1937) is an American comedian, actor, and singer. He was part of the original cast of the sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live, appearing from 1975 to 1980. Morris also had a role as Junior "Uncle Junior" King on the sitcom The Jamie Foxx Show, which aired from 1996-2001. Morris had a starring role as Earl Washington on the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, from 2011-17. He was also in the sitcom Martin as Stan Winters, from 1992-95.
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Morris was born on February 1, 1937 in New Orleans, Louisiana. A church-choir singer from his youth, he trained at the Juilliard School of Music and graduated from Dillard University in 1958. Early in his career, he performed with The Belafonte Folk Singers. He performed in a number of Broadway musicals, including Hallelujah, Baby! and Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death. In 1965, he worked alongside Amiri Baraka, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler and Sonia Sanchez at the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School in Harlem; during this period, the theater was frequently raided and surveilled by the New York City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He had a small role as a police sergeant in The Anderson Tapes (1971) and was a cast member in the short lived CBS sitcom, Roll Out. He also appeared as a high school teacher in the 1975 film Cooley High.
Morris also lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he worked as a postal carrier.
Morris has appeared in numerous television shows and movies since the early 1970s, but is best known as one of the original cast members of NBC's Saturday Night Live. Periodically on SNL he sang classical music: once a Mozart aria when guest-host Walter Matthau designated him as a "musical guest...in place of the usual crap", and once a Schubert lied while the titles on the screen purported to express his colleagues' displeasure at having to accommodate a misguided request by him. In February 1977, he sang Tchaikovsky's Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt barefoot in colorful Caribbean dress while subtitles explained he had just returned from Jamaica where he had picked up a girl by claiming to be Harry Belafonte.
One of Morris's best known characters on SNL was the Dominican baseball player Chico Escuela. Chico spoke only limited and halting English, so the joke centered on his responding to almost any question with his catch phrase: "Baseball... been berra berra good... to me." Another recurring bit, used in the newscast segment "Weekend Update", involved Morris being presented as "President of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing" and assisting the newscaster by shouting the main headlines, in a parody of the then-common practice of providing sign language interpretation in an inset on the screen as an aid to the deaf viewer. According to the book Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, Morris was frequently unhappy during his tenure on SNL from 1975-1980, and expressed the opinion that he was usually typecast in stereotypical roles.
African-American performers who have followed Morris on Saturday Night Live have at times been publicly concerned with experiencing the same fate Morris did. Eddie Murphy, for example, told TV Guide in the early 1980s that SNL producer Jean Doumanian "had tried to Garrett Morris me."
In 1976, Morris appeared in the movie Car Wash, playing the role of Slide the bookmaker. In 1983 and 1984, Morris appeared in five episodes of The Jeffersons, playing a character named Jimmy. He starred in the 1984 film The Census Taker, a 1984 black comedy directed by Bruce R. Cook.
In 1985, he appeared in Larry Cohen's science fiction horror film The Stuff, playing cookie magnate "Chocolate Chip Charlie", a parody of Famous Amos. That year he also guested on Murder, She Wrote as "Lafayette Duquesne". In 1986, Morris began playing a regular occasional character, "Arnold 'Sporty' James," on the NBC cop drama Hunter, starring Fred Dryer and Stepfanie Kramer. Morris appeared in Married... with Children as Russ, one of Al's poker Buddies, in "The Poker Game", in a 1987 season 1 episode and again in 3rd Season episode "Requiem for a Dead Barber". Garrett Morris continually appeared as "Sporty" on "Hunter" through 1989. He also appeared in the 1992 horror comedy Severed Ties starring Oliver Reed.
In 1994, he was "shot by a would-be mugger," whom he "attempted to fight off," but has made a recovery, as he discussed on the January 14, 2016 episode of Marc Maron's podcast, WTF. In a radio interview, he mentioned that the robber who shot him was eventually convicted and incarcerated. In prison, inmates who happened to be fans of Morris teamed up and beat up the robber, in revenge. At the time of the shooting, Morris was starring on Martin as Martin's first boss, Stan Winters. Morris' shooting rendered him temporarily unable to continue in the role; he was written out of the show by having the character become a national fugitive. The scene where he is about to undergo plastic surgery was shot on the hospital bed Morris occupied while recuperating from the 1994 assault. He made a final appearance as Stan during the show's third season, walking with a cane due to Morris' real injuries, but Stan's reason was that he had crashed his car during a police chase.
Morris also had regular roles on Diff'rent Strokes, The Jeffersons, Hill Street Blues, 227, and Roc. He also appeared in an episode of Who's the Boss, "Sam's Car" (1989), playing the role of Officer Audette. He was a regular cast member on The Jamie Foxx Show, playing Jamie's uncle, Junior King, for the show's entire run.
In 1998, Morris appeared as himself in the fourth episode of the fifth season of the TV series, Space Ghost Coast to Coast. In 2002, Morris made a cameo appearance on an episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Brittany Murphy. In 2006, Morris reprised his role as "Headmaster of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing" in a cameo on the TV series Family Guy, in the episode "Barely Legal". As of 2006, he continues to perform regularly in films. He also operates and is the host of his own comedy club, The Downtown Comedy Club in downtown Los Angeles. On February 9, 2007, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa honored Garrett Morris for his work and contributions to the black community. He declared February 9, 2007 Garrett Morris Day and named The Downtown Comedy Club the official club of Los Angeles. In August 2008, Morris played the role of Reverend Pratt in the family comedy drama film, The Longshots, starring Ice Cube and Keke Palmer.
In 2009, Morris appeared in two TV commercials for the Nintendo DS—one featuring Mario Kart DS, and the other featuring Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!. In 2010, Morris appeared in a television commercial for Miller Lite. The national commercial, titled "PopPop," features Morris alongside actors Stacey Dash and Jason Weaver. The commercial takes a light-hearted look at a family relationship with Morris playing the grandfather, PopPop, and Weaver as his grandson. Since summer 2010, Morris has appeared in an ad for Orbit gum in the United States. In 2011, Morris had a cameo role as a Catholic priest on the episode "Three Boys" on the Showtime series Shameless. He was cast as Earl in the CBS comedy 2 Broke Girls, which premiered on September 19, 2011. Although during the second season he faced a lawsuit from the Global Agency accusing him of not paying 10% of his income from the show as agreed. However, a rep from the show clearly stated that he has not actually failed to do so.
In 2015, Morris appeared in a cameo in Ant-Man, referencing an old SNL sketch where he played the character. On September 11, 2016, Morris and his family appeared on the ABC's game show Celebrity Family Feud, playing against Alfonso Ribeiro and Ribeiro's friends. In 2018, Morris appeared in the NBC show This Is Us.
|1971||The Anderson Tapes||Sergeant Everson|
|1975||Cooley High||Mr. Mason|
|1980||How to Beat the High Cost of Living||Power & Light Man|
|1984||The Census Taker||Harvey|
|1985||The Stuff||'Chocolate Chip' Charlie W. Hobbs|
|1987||Critical Condition||Helicopter Junkie|
|1991||Children of the Night||Matty|
|1996||Black Rose of Harlem||Wisdom|
|1996||Santa with Muscles||Clayton|
|1996||Black Scorpion II||Argyle|
|1999||Palmer's Pick-Up||Tom Bolza|
|1999||Twin Falls Idaho||Jesus|
|2001||How High||PCC Agent|
|2007||Who's Your Caddy?||The Reverend|
|2008||Dog Gone||Police Chief|
|2008||The Longshots||Reverend Pratt|
|2010||Pickin' & Grinnin'||Richard A. Trophey|
|2011||Valley of the Sun||Joe|
|1973||Roll Out||Wheels||9 episodes|
|1975-1980||Saturday Night Live||Various||97 episodes|
|1978||ABC Weekend Special||Frank||Episode: "The Seven Wishes of Joanna Peabody"|
|1980||Easter Fever||Jack||Television film|
|1982||Diff'rent Strokes||Santa Claus / Mr. Jones||Episode: "Santa's Helper"|
|1983-1984||The Jeffersons||Jimmy||5 episodes|
|1983||The Invisible Woman||Lieutenant Greg Larkin||Television film|
|1984||Masquerade||Froog||Episode: "The French Correction"|
|1984-1985||It's Your Move||Principal Dwight Ellis||4 episodes|
|1985||Murder, She Wrote||Lafayette Duquesne||Episode: "Murder to a Jazz Beat"|
|1985||Hill Street Blues||Derelict||3 episodes|
|1985||The Pound Puppies||Chief Williams||Television film|
|1985||The Twilight Zone||Jake||Episode: "Dealer's Choice"|
|1985||Scarecrow and Mrs. King||Asam Ali Shamba||Episode: "The Wrong Way Home"|
|1986||The Love Boat||Gary Samuels||Episode: "The Will/Deja Vu/The Prediction"|
|1986-1989||Hunter||Sporty James||28 episodes|
|1987||227||Bob Winslow||Episode: "The Working Game"|
|1987-1989||Married... with Children||Russ||2 episodes|
|1988||Who's the Boss?||Officer Audette||Episode: "Sam's Car"|
|1991||Earth Angel||Joey||Television film|
|1992||Maid for Each Other||Harold Brown||Television film|
|1992-1995||Martin||Stan Winters||55 episodes|
|1993||Daddy Dearest||Stan||Episode: "American We"|
|1994||ER||Edgar Luck||Episode: "ER Confidential"|
|1995||The Wayans Bros.||Uncle Leon / Himself||2 episodes|
|1995||Minor Adjustments||Willie||Episode: "The Ex-Files"|
|1995||Cleghorne!||Sidney Carlson||12 episodes|
|1996-2001||The Jamie Foxx Show||Uncle Junior King||100 episodes|
|1997||Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child||Buzzard||Episode: "Pinocchio"|
|1997||Boston Common||Sammy Sutherland||Episode: "I.D. Endow"|
|1998||Space Ghost Coast to Coast||Himself||Episode: "Cahill"|
|1999||G vs E||Kentucky McQuaid||Episode: "Sunday Night Evil"|
|2000||City of Angels||Dr. Frank Hollister||Episode: "Prototype"|
|2000||Little Richard||Carl Rainey||Television film|
|2000||Static Shock||Preacher||Episode: "Child's Play"|
|2001||Justice League||Al McGee||Episode: "In Blackest Night"|
|2001||According to Jim||Lewis||Episode: "The Turkey Bowl"|
|2001||The Hughleys||Father Roberts||Episode: "I'm Dreaming of a Slight Christmas"|
|2003||Maniac Magee||Mr. Cobble||Television film|
|2005||Noah's Arc||Rev. Allen||2 episodes|
|2006||All of Us||Uncle Cyrus||Episode: "Neesee's Grave Plot"|
|2006||Family Guy||Himself||Episode: "Barely Legal"|
|2007||Halfway Home||Jimmy the Mailman||Episode: "Halfway Impotent"|
|2011||Shameless||Old Priest||Episode: "Three Boys"|
|2011-2017||2 Broke Girls||Earl||138 episodes|
|2013||Psych||Clizby||Episode: "100 Clues"|
|2018||MacGyver||Willy||Episode: "Mardi Gras Beads + Chair"|
|2018||This Is Us||Lloyd||2 episodes|
|2018||Scandal||Hector||Episode: "Army of One"|