Gary Morton

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Gary Morton
Garymortonpic.jpg
Gary Morton at the 61st Academy Awards
Born Morton Goldaper
(1924-12-19)December 19, 1924
New York City
Died March 30, 1999(1999-03-30) (aged 74)
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor, comedian, producer
Years active 1965–1990
Religion Jewish
Spouse(s) Susan Morrow
(m. 1953–1957; divorced)
Lucille Ball
(m.1961–1989; her death)
Susie McAllister
(m.1996–1999; his death)

Gary Morton (December 19, 1924 – March 30, 1999) was the second husband of Lucille Ball. He was a stand-up comedian, whose primary venues were the hotels and resorts of the Borscht Belt in upstate New York.

Early life[edit]

Morton was born Morton Goldaper in New York City of Jewish heritage.[1]

Relationship with Lucille Ball[edit]

Morton married American actress Susan Morrow on December 17, 1953. obtaining their marriage license under their real names: Gary Goldaper and Jacqueline Immoor. In August 1954 they separated and finally on July 11, 1957 his marriage to Morrow was annulled in Los Angeles.

In 1960, Morton met Lucille Ball in New York City a few months before she opened on Broadway in the musical Wildcat.[2][3] Morton claimed he was always busy working nights, so had not seen the beloved series I Love Lucy. They were married on November 19, 1961 at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.[2] Morton signed a prenuptial agreement to stifle rumors that he was a gold digger. Morton was 13 years younger than Lucille Ball.[2]

Morton became closely involved in the management of his wife's career, from the time of their marriage in 1961 throughout the remainder of her career. During Ball's solo years as the titular head of Desilu Productions, Morton and his brother-in-law, Fred Ball, served on the studio's board of directors in various capacities. Morton's effectiveness in his duties has, in recent years, come under some scrutiny and criticism. Most notable of these denouncements are those of Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman, whose dealings with Morton during the production of the original Star Trek television series were documented in their 1996 book, Inside Star Trek: The Real Story. Others, including Grant Tinker, have since come forward with their own recollections of Morton's tenure at Desilu, and most cite Morton's construction of a "European Street" – a 3/4 scale replica of a European-styled business district street – as being arguably the most wasteful use of studio funds at a time when frugality was a necessity. According to Desilu and Paramount financial records, and as reported by Solow and Justman, not one television or theatrical production was filmed on this set before it was demolished in 1977. If Morton had thought working for Ball would be an easy ride, he was mistaken. By accounts of all present, it was common for Ball to accuse Morton of "standing around," and admonish him to shut up or get out.[citation needed] Still, Morton enjoyed the luxurious lifestyle of an avid golfer and car collector, provided by Ball's fortune.[citation needed]

After the sale of Desilu to Gulf+Western in 1967, Morton helped Ball form Lucille Ball Productions to allow her to have more of a free hand in television production. Morton served as executive producer of Ball's third series Here's Lucy (1968–1974), and was a co-executive producer of her ill-fated 1986 series Life With Lucy. Aside from producing tasks, he warmed up Ball's audiences before her entrance. He also played bit parts in Ball's various series and acted occasionally in films.

Later life[edit]

In 1996, Morton married Susan McAllister, beginning his third marriage. On March 30, 1999, he died of lung cancer at the age of 74 in Palm Springs, California.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The religion of Lucille Ball, actress and comedienne
  2. ^ a b c Frew, Tim (2001) [1996]. Lucy: A Life in Pictures (Trade paperback) (First paperback ed.). New York City: Barnes & Noble Books. pp. 28–29. ISBN 0-7607-2866-6. 
  3. ^ Wildcat at Internet Broadway Database
  4. ^ "Gary Morton, 74, Producer for Lucille Ball". The New York Times. April 1, 1999

External links[edit]