Pete Morrison

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George D. Morrison, nicknamed Pete, was an American silent western film actor born August 8, 1890 in Westminster, Colorado. During his childhood he lived at Morrison, Colorado (named for his grandfather George Morrison) and Idaho Springs, and got his early tastes of horsemanship riding with his father Thomas during the summer. They drove cattle and sheep from the summer ranges in Middle Park and Fall River in Colorado to supply beef and mutton to the mining camps of Georgetown, Idaho Springs, Nevadaville, Black Hawk and Central City. During his mid-teens Pete worked in the mining industry, with his older brothers driving in sections of the Argo Tunnel where Pete was a motorman, hoist operator, topside helper, teamster hauler, assisting several of the larger miners in the Idaho Springs area. In the summer of 1910 Pete Morrison was an engine fireman for the Colorado Southern Railroad when he was lured away by the early western movies. Pete began working as a stunt man for the Essanay Studios of Broncho Billy films, soon discovering he could make more money working in movies in 2 weeks than he could make working for a month on the railroad. Pete followed his older brother Chick Morrison to California, where he also became a star in early western pictures. Through his career, Morrison transcended from very early film in 1909 to sound in 1935 starring in some 132 pictures.

Film career[edit]

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Pete Morrison began work with the American Film Manufacturing Company, but soon was signed by Universal Studios and appeared in western serials and short films. Over time Morrison worked with many of the famous actors of his time, including Tom Mix, Wallace and Noah Beery, and John Barry. He starred with Charlotte Burton in films such as The Bruiser in 1916. He took some time away from movies to travel the country in a Wild West Show, then returned and did numerous Westerns for Triangle and Universal. He agreed to make a series of pictures in Central and South America, but eventually returned to Universal. With the arrival of sound pictures, his career declined somewhat and he went into supporting roles in movies including "Scarface," "Cleopatra," and "The Big Trail" where he met a young newcomer who happened to share his name, Marion "Duke" Morrison, and reputedly taught the rising star Morrison some of his moves. The younger Morrison gained fame as John Wayne.

In 1935 Pete Morrison retired and settled on his ranch near Golden, Colorado which he had purchased in 1926. There his lived with his family including wife Lillian whom he married in 1912, and sons Clifford E. and Douglas K. Morrison. Pete became a deputy sheriff of Jefferson County, Colorado in 1936, and remained so for 37 years. He was also a member of the Golden Masonic Lodge, the Genesee Group and Jefferson County Sheriff's Posse. He ranched and farmed along with several outside jobs until his final retirement in the early 1960s. Pete Morrison died in Los Angeles, California on February 5, 1973, of an abdominal aneurysm at the age of 82. He is buried in the Golden Cemetery, along with other members of his family.

The Pete Morrison Collection of his movie career paraphernalia now resides at the Golden Landmarks Association in Golden, Colorado.

Selected filmography[edit]

External links[edit]