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Garrett Morris

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Garrett Morris (born February 1, 1937) is an actor, comedian, playwright and singer, known for being one of the original cast members (and the first African American cast member) of Saturday Night Live from 1975 to 1980, as well as his roles on shows such as Martin, The Jaime Foxx Show and most recently, 2 Broke Girls.

He appeared on Married... with Children as Russ, one of Al's friends and drinking buddies in two early episodes; "The Poker Game" in Season 1 (episode #8) and "Requiem for a Dead Barber" in Season 3 (episode #8).

Early Life Edit

Born in New Orleans, he grew singing in a church choir, as he was raised by his grandfather, who was a baptist minister. His grandfather discovered his talent at the age of 4 and this eventually led to his involvement with music, graduating from Dillard University, earning a degree in music with a minor in composition and then studying voice at Julliard and eventually led to a professional gig, being a soloist for the Harry Belafonte Singers for over 10 years.

During this time, he also began to pursue acting as a career, starting off with plays and even writing his own plays. He appeared in such famed musicals as Hallelujah Baby!, Show Boat and Porgy and Bess and dozens of smaller off-screen plays, many with black political themes.

In addition, besides acting and singing, he was working as a public school teacher during this time.

Acting Career Edit

He made the transition to television in the early 1960s, starting out on General Hospital and by the early 1970s had roles in movies such as Where's Poppa? and Coolie High and a recurring role on the TV series, Roll Out.

In 1975, he became part of the original "Not Ready For Prime Time Players" ensemble cast of Saturday Night Live. His recurring characters included baseball player Chico Escula and the President of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing as well as his celebrity impersonations, such as Tina Turner and Sammy Davis Jr.. The show also allowed him to demonstrate his vocal talents, as he would perform classical arias from composers such as Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Schubert.

He admitted that he was disappointed with the show as he often felt typecast. He was also feeling alienated from the younger cast members who were more adapt at sketch comedy, even though he had years of experience in acting by the time he started on SNL. By the late 1970s he started to freebase cocaine, suffering hallucinations and paranoia, claiming that a mind controlling robot was stalking him and led to an onstage meltdown in front of Kirk Douglas in 1980. This further alienated himself from the cast and crew. He eventually left the show in 1980, but made a guest appearance in 2002 and again for the 40th anniversary special in 2015.

After SNL, during the 1980s, he had a few (sometimes minor) roles on shows such as Diff'rent Strokes, 227, Who's The Boss and Hill Street Blues and a recurring role on The Jeffersons and It's Your Move (both of these series were written by MWC creators Ron Leavitt and Michael G. Moye) and Hunter (which Ed O'Neill guest starred on in 1985). One of his most memorable film moments during the 80s was starring in the horror-comedy film, The Stuff, a film which he is still fondly remembered for by many fans.

In the early 1990s he had a role on the FOX sitcoms, Roc as Wiz and Martin as Stan Winters, the sleazy, leisure suit wearing owner of radio station, WZUP. During season 2 of Martin, Garrett was shot in a real life robbery incident, and his character was written off the show, saying that he had gone on the run due to an unpaid debt to the IRS. He did briefly reappear during season 3, walking with a cane and offering Martin a business partnership that goes wrong.

From 1996 to 2001, he had a recurring role on the WB sitcom The Jaime Foxx Show as Uncle Junior King.

Currently, he can been seen on the CBS sitcom, 2 Broke Girls as Earl, a former jazz musician who works as a cashier at the Williamsburg Diner.

Personal Life Edit

As of 2015, he has been over 10 years sober from drugs.

On February 24, 1994, he was shot and wounded in an attempted robbery in South Central Los Angeles. As he tried to defend himself and fight off the robbers, he was shot in the arm and the bullet passed through his abdomen and stopped near his spine. He made a full recovery in a short amount of time.

He currently owns a comedy and blues club in downtown Los Angeles called The Garrett Morris Blues and Comedy Club (also known as The Downtown Comedy Club).

On February 9, 2007, then-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared February 9, 2007 Garrett Morris Day and named The Downtown Comedy Club the official club of Los Angeles.

External Links Edit

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