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Garrett Morris

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Garrett Morris
Gal-snl-garrett-morris-jpg

Garrett Morris, who was of the original SNL cast in the 1970's (left) appears as con man "Jimmy" on the series for several episodes in Seasons 8-10.

Personal Information
Birthname Garrett Gonzalez Morris
Born: (1937-02-01) February 1, 1937 (age 80)
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Occupation/
Career:
Actor, comedian
Character information
Appeared on: The Jeffersons
Episodes appeared in: 5 episodes in Seasons 8-10
Character played: Jimmy
Jeffersons Wiki Script Gold

Garrett Gonzalez Morris (born February 1, 1937) appeared as Jimmy, a con man who once duped George and Weezie into, thinking he was a poor child, sending money to him as his sponsor; he helps them recover $10,000 lost by Tom Willis to some other con men who were old Navy accquaintances of George in the 3-part The Jeffersons episode titled "Mission:Impossible". Garrett was part of the original cast of the long-running NBC-TV late night sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live, appearing from 1975 to 1980.

Early life and careerEdit

Garrett was a church-choir singer from his youth, trained at the Juilliard School of Music, and graduated from Dillard University in 1958. Early in his career, he soloed with the Harry Belafonte singers. He performed in a number of Broadway musicals, including Hallelujah, Baby! and Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death. He also appeared as a high school teacher in the film Cooley High. He had a small role as a police sergeant in The Anderson Tapes (1970). Morris also lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he worked as a postal carrier.

Saturday Night LiveEdit

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 him 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.[1]

African-American performers who have followed Morris on Saturday Night Live have at times been publicly concerned with not experiencing the same fate Morris experienced. Eddie Murphy, for example, told TV Guide in the early 1980s that SNL producer Jean Doumanian "had tried to Garrett Morris me." [1]

Recurring characters on Saturday Night LiveEdit

  • Chico Escuela, a Dominican baseball player for the New York Mets
  • Cliff, the streetwise friend to the Festrunk Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin)
  • Grant Robinson, Jr., one of The Nerds
  • Hodo, one of Miles Cowperthwaite's cronies
  • Merkon, the leader of the Coneheads
  • Weekend Update's "News For the Hard of Hearing" translator, who simply repeated each line while speaking very loudly.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Hill and Weingrad, Hill, Doug, and Jeff Weingrad. (1986). Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. New York, NY: Beech Tree Books. ISBN 0-688-05099-9

External linksEdit

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