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David Morse Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (16) | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 11 October 1953Hamilton, Massachusetts, USA
Birth NameDavid Bowditch Morse
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)

Mini Bio (1)

David Morse, a 6' 4" tall blue-eyed blond who performed on stage for 10 years before breaking into film, became established as a respected supporting, character actor and second lead.

He was born the first of four children of Charles, a sales manager, and Jacquelyn Morse, a schoolteacher, on October 11, 1953, in Beverly, Massachusetts. He grew up with three younger sisters. After graduating from high school, Morse studied acting at the William Esper Studio. In 1971, he began his professional acting career appearing in over 30 productions with the Boston Repertory Company from 1971 to 1977. In the late 1970s, Morse continued his stage career with the Circle Repertory Company in New York before moving into television and film. In the late 1990s, he returned to the Off-Broadway stage starring in Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize winning drama, "How I Learned to Drive" (1997), for which he won the Drama Desk Award and the Obie.

Morse made his big screen debut in 1980 co-starring as "Jerry Maxwell", a cheerful bartender turned basketball player, opposite John Savage and Diana Scarwid in Inside Moves (1980), written by Barry Levinson and directed by Richard Donner. Although Inside Moves (1980) was nominated for an Oscar, Morse had to wait a few years until his career took off. His big break came in 1982 when he was cast as Dr. Jack "Boomer" Morrison, a young doctor who struggles as a single parent after the death of his wife, in St. Elsewhere (1982), a medical drama that ran for six seasons. He co-starred as opposite Jodie Foster and young Jena Malone in the Oscar nominated Sci-Fi drama Contact (1997). In 1999, he appeared in Stephen King's The Green Mile (1999), with Tom Hanks. A year later, he played a supporting role as a kidnapped husband of Meg Ryan in Proof of Life (2000). In 2002, Morse became the first English-speaking actor nominated for the Golden Horse Award, the Chinese equivalent of the Oscars, for his superb performance as FBI expert "Kevin Richter" in Double Vision (2002). From 2002 to 2004, Morse had a regular gig starring as "Mike Olshansky", an ex-Philadelphia policeman turned cab driver, in the TV series Hack (2002) which ran three seasons and was filmed in Philadelphia, close to his home. In 2006-2007, he has a recurring role on season 3 of an Emmy award-winning medical drama House (2004).

David Morse has been married to fellow actress Susan Wheeler Duff since 1982. They have three children, one daughter and twin sons. In 1994, after the the Northridge earthquake destroyed his home in Sherman Oaks, Morse moved from LA to Philadelphia with his family, and resides in his wife's hometown.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

Spouse (1)

Susan Wheeler Duff (19 June 1982 - present) (3 children)

Trivia (16)

Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1980" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 32.
Frequently cast in book-to-movie/television works by Stephen King.
Has three younger sisters.
Parents: Charles and Jacquelyn Morse.
Moved to Philly with his family after California earthquake of 1994, to be near wife's family.
Studied acting at the William Esper studio.
Broke several fingers during a fight scene in Disturbia (2007) but remained in character and finished the take.
Is allergic to most forms of sugar.
Stated that out of all of the films he's done, his favorites are The Green Mile (1999), The Crossing Guard (1995), The Indian Runner (1991), and The Rock (1996).
He is the only actor to date to play both Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.
His middle name, Bowditch, comes from Nathaniel Bowditch.
Has appeared in two films as a criminal connected to the prison island of Alcatraz: in Six Against the Rock (1987) he plays Marvin Hubbard, second-in-command to David Carradine's Bernard Coy; and in The Rock (1996) he is Major Tom Baxter, second-in-command to Ed Harris' Brigadier General Francis X. Hummel, USMC.
Best known by the public for his role as Dr. Jack Morrison on St. Elsewhere (1982).
Acting mentor was Norman Lloyd.
Has appeared in 'The Langoliers (1996)(TV)', The Green Mile (1999), and Hearts in Atlantis (2001), all based on novels by Stephen King. He also appeared in Horns (2013), based on a novel by King's son, Joe Hill.
Father of Eliza Morse, still photographer.

Personal Quotes (8)

(On his memories of St. Elsewhere) Well, pain and pride come to mind. The pain was the experience of playing that character over all those years. Being one character in the beginning, and then really becoming such a victim, and never really getting any release from that. Maybe a little bit at the end, he sort of came around, but he was not the character that I originally believed in. He was a character the producers enjoyed tormenting, and it was not fun to play that. I liked the character much more in the beginning. But the pride? That was being a part of such an extraordinary show, and really, a lot of that is owed to those same producers.
(On Hack) I was disappointed in some ways that the show didn't last longer. I was disappointed for Philadelphia, because we shot the whole thing there, and that had never happened. There were a lot of people in Philadelphia proud and excited to have that show in their city. Literally in every episode, we were in different neighborhoods all over the city, and this is a city that is made up of very distinct neighborhoods. I'm very fond of the people in those neighborhoods and of the city. I truly am. But I did not sleep for two years doing that show, because I didn't feel like we ever got the show I imagined when I agreed to do it, and I never felt satisfied with what we were doing. I think it's a very difficult process, doing a network television series. I think there was a lot that was good about it. Andre Braugher, I thought was tremendous, and I thought we told some pretty good stories, but I never felt like we ever reached the level where I could say, "Okay, now this is the show, and this is the world that I think we should be talking about and representing." You always have to say, "I've been hired to do a job." When you walk on the set, whatever it is, you commit yourself to the job. You're committing yourself to doing the best you can do with it, no matter what you feel about it, and that never changes. The producers and writers on Hack were all in Los Angeles and never in Philadelphia, so everything was back and forth through different time zones, but they all worked hard to make a good show. I think the problem is that David Koepp, who created it, is really a movie guy, he had this fun idea. But David never intended to stay with the show, and that left a big void of who was the creative center. And as soon as there's that void, everybody wants to fill it with their own ideas. Especially the network. So we had all agreed during the pilot that the show would be one sort of thing, but then the reality of having to sell it to advertisers led to a lot of pressure to go with a much safer product. Everybody tried to jump into that void, and we never had a really strong central voice there. I think that was the big problem.
(On his role in House) It's going to sound so weird saying this, but I had so little responsibility on that series, other than to go in there and give House a hard time. It was really fun. David Shore, who had worked on Hack and created House, called me and asked me if I would be interested in doing it if they came up with a character, because they really needed somebody that could go toe-to-toe with House. And I wasn't sure, because I hadn't watched the show. When I flipped through the scenes, I just thought, "This guy House is a total jerk. Why are people watching this show?" Then we were on vacation with some friends who we had known for a long time, and I told them I had gotten this phone call, and they were all like, "Oh, you gotta do this show, it's the most brilliant show, it's such a great character, you're going to have to do this." So I called up David and said, "Okay, I'll do it, my friends are all crazy about your show." It was really so easy, in the best sense of the word, because I had no personal pressure on me. Just to go in there and be with all these people who had worked on Hack, now having success with this show House. We had all struggled so hard. There are a lot of writers on House who were on Hack, and to be around them and enjoy their success, it was just a comfortable place to work. Now, of course, I'm suffering because people will tell me how much they hate me and what I did to House. That's the only downside. House is so beloved.
Disturbia was a surprise. And I don't know why I was surprised, because I knew when I was asked to do it that there were good people involved. D.J. Caruso and Shia LaBeouf and Carrie-Anne Moss. And Steven Spielberg, obviously, who was producing it. I had been asked to do a lot of those movies that are made to make a lot of money on the first weekend-there's a franchise of "first-weekend movies" that are not very good. And I turned all those down. But this was a horror movie that I thought was a little smarter than everything else, and because of the people involved, it had the potential to be something good. Still, just the success of it, and the numbers of people... I thought we were just making a movie for teenage boys, but all kinds of people have seen that movie, and all kinds of people had fun watching it. So it was just a nice, pleasant surprise, that success.
(On The Indian Runner) To have someone like Sean Penn be interested in me for the lead in his first film. It was totally unexpected, and just an amazing honor. I knew his father Leo and his brother Michael, because they had both worked on St. Elsewhere, and Sean, whom I had never met, actually sent regards to me when Leo was directing our show, which was a surprise since Sean was one of the biggest movie stars in the world at the time. And then I got that script for The Indian Runner, and I couldn't even believe that he wrote it. I don't know why, because he's obviously a very talented, smart man, but there just seemed to be something so mature and just a beautiful poetry to that script, and then to go and meet him up at his house, and have him ultimately fight for me when there were all these other movie stars who were interested in doing it... For some reason, he felt that I was the fellow that should play that role, and he fought like crazy for me to do it. It was one of the greatest experiences of my career, and in some ways my life.
(On Dancer In The Dark) We shot it all in Sweden and Denmark. It was obviously supposed to take place in the Pacific Northwest, but (director) Lars (von Trier) does not travel, because he has this odd view of America. I had said no to that movie a number of times, and it hurt me to do it, because I'd loved his films before. I couldn't wait to get the script when I heard that he was sending it, and I read it and I couldn't believe he was going to make a musical out of this. It was just so grim, but my manager convinced me to talk to him. I still didn't feel like I could do it, but I told him I would think about it. And it was literally 12:30 one night and I was flipping through channels and there was this incredible scene from this movie on, and I couldn't stop watching it. I realized what I was watching was Breaking the Waves, and I called Lars the next day and we talked more, and I said, "Whatever happens, this experience is going to be amazing. The movie may stink, but there's no doubt this experience is going to be amazing." So I said yes, and the experience was truly amazing, one of my favorite experiences, and I think the movie itself is amazing too. Obviously there's a big gap between how people feel about the movie. Either people hate it or just completely love it, and I'm one of those people who loves it. I think it's remarkable.
(On The Green Mile) I think I was the second person cast in it, though I don't know who the first person was. Frank Darabont, I had worked with a little in HBO's Two-Fisted Tales series, before he directed The Shawshank Redemption. He called me up and said he was going to send a script, and the only thing he was worried about was that I would want to improvise, so I was quick to assure him that I didn't want to improvise. I didn't want to change his lines. You basically have to tell the director whatever they want to hear when you're looking to get a job. That script was a script that everyone who read wanted to be a part of. Everybody who read it wept; it was just wonderfully moving. And I was one of those people. I got the script, and there was just no doubt that I wanted to be that man and be in that world and go through that. When we made the movie, it was supposed to be shot in three months, and we wound up shooting it in five months, which put a lot of pressure on people. And it was a long five months. But I think all of us looking back on that probably are grateful it went five months, because of the experience of being with each other. All those actors, all those people doing such amazing work. We just got to spend that much more time together in such a rare film. I think Frank has a real sense of how to tell Stephen King's stories on film. He's a really good storyteller. He's completely the opposite of Lars von Trier. Lars, when you're shooting, doesn't give a damn about his script. The camera will be rolling and he'll say, "This is crap, just say what your subtext is," and you're improvising constantly in the flow of things. And if something happens that's not in the script, that's great. I was doing a scene in Dancer In The Dark where I walked out the door of the trailer and I'm supposed to be off-camera, except that Lars walked out with the camera following me, so I had to keep acting. I haven't got a clue what I want to do, and slowly people start stumbling out, and we wind up doing a scene outside the trailer that was never written, and that's how Lars works. But Frank is completely the opposite. A woman who has worked with him on everything he's ever done told me, "There isn't a comma in there that he doesn't fret over. There isn't a moment that he hasn't lived with and imagined and seen how to shoot it, and it's really fulfilling that this thing he's lived with in his mind for so long is what you're there to help him create."
(On Proof Of Life) Well the scandal with Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe is what everyone remembers, but we were so unaware of it while it was going on. It was like the world found out about it before we did. The first thing that comes to mind to me is that Taylor Hackford, when he asked me to do it, said he wanted an actor that could go to the edge of the cliff with him, because this role was going to be so physically demanding, both in the world that he was going to be shooting in-which turned out to be completely true-and emotionally. He just wanted someone who was willing to put himself in his hands and go the distance with him. I thought that was a great challenge, and I was excited to say yes to that. Obviously, we didn't know that it was going to be as dangerous as it was. My stand-in wound up being killed during the movie, doing a scene I was supposed to do. My stepfather was dying in Massachusetts, and I only had three days off in the whole film. I had flown up to Massachusetts to see him because he only had two weeks to live. As soon as I got off the plane, Taylor called and said, "You're going to have to come back here to shoot a scene, and then you can go back and see your stepfather," and I said, "Well, I don't know if he'll be alive when I get back here. I'll get back on as soon as I can, but I'm not going to go back tomorrow." And he was furious at me, and the next day, they shot the scene with my stand-in, and the truck he was in went off a cliff with five other people in it, and he was killed. And he was a very sweet man, thrilled about being a part of this movie. He and his wife were down there. It was very sad, very tragic event, and very difficult on the crew that was there shooting that day. It was a second-unit crew. But even out of that, there were some inspiring moments, and it all had to do with Will's family. Will was the young guy who died, and his family could not have been more concerned about the crew, or more generous to the crew. They didn't blame any of them or any of us. These were people who lost their golden boy, their oldest son, and they're down there caring for the crew. It was so devastating. So that's probably the first thing that comes to my mind.

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