Tracy Morgan

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For his 30 Rock character, see Tracy Jordan.
Tracy Morgan
Tracy Morgan 5 Shankbone 2009 NYC.jpg
Morgan at New York City's Union Square Barnes & Noble to discuss his 2009 book I Am the New Black.
Birth name Tracy Jamal Morgan
Born (1968-11-10) November 10, 1968 (age 45)
The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, television, film
Nationality American
Years active 1992–present
Genres Musical comedy, Cringe comedy, Character comedy
Subject(s) African-American culture, race relations, racism, marriage, family, self-deprecation, recreational drug use, sex, current events
Spouse Sabina Morgan (m. 1985–2009)

Tracy Jamal Morgan (born November 10, 1968)[1][2] is an American actor and comedian known for his eight seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live and for his role as Tracy Jordan on the TV series 30 Rock.

Early life and education[edit]

Morgan was born in the Bronx and raised in a housing project in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.[3] He is the second-oldest of five children[3] of homemaker Alicia (née Warden),[1] and Jimmy Morgan, a musician who returned from military duty in the Vietnam War as a recovering heroin addict,[4] causing him to leave the family when Morgan was six.[3][5] The target of bullies as a child,[6] Tracy attended DeWitt Clinton High School.[3] In 1985, at age 17 in his sophomore year, he learned his father had contracted AIDS from hypodermic needle use.[7] Jimmy Morgan died in November 1987 at age 39.[3] Tracy Morgan married his girlfriend Sabina that year and dropped out of high school just four credits short of his diploma.[3] Already raising their first son and living on welfare, Morgan sold crack cocaine with limited success,[4] but began earning money performing comedy on the streets[3] after his best friend was murdered. Tracy said in 2009, "He would say to me, 'Yo, Tracy, man, you should be doing comedy.' A week later, he was murdered. And that for me, that was like my Vietnam. I had my survival guilt when I started to achieve success. Why I made it out and some guys didn't."[4] Morgan embarked on a standup comedy career, successfully enough that, he said, "I finally moved to a nice community in [the Bronx neighborhood of] Riverdale, from a run-down apartment next to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx...."[4]

On the April 7, 2014, broadcast of The Adam Carolla Podcast, Morgan revealed that his father named him Tracy in honor of a 17 year-old platoon-mate and dear friend who shipped off to Vietnam with him and was killed in action only days later.

Career[edit]

Morgan made his screen debut on Martin playing Hustle Man. The character sold various items from the "hood," always greeting people with his trademark "What's happ'n, chief?" and had a pet dog that he dressed as a rapper. In the 2003 Chris Rock film Head of State, Morgan appeared as a man watching television, often questioning why they are not watching Martin.

Morgan was also a regular cast member on Uptown Comedy Club,[8] a sketch-comedy show filmed in Harlem that aired for two seasons, from 1992 to 1994. He was on the HBO show Snaps.[citation needed]

He appeared twice on HBO's Def Comedy Jam.[episode needed]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Morgan joined the cast of comedy show Saturday Night Live in 1996 and performed as a regular until 2003. He returned to host on March 14, 2009 and reprised his roles as Brian Fellow and Astronaut Jones. He also made a guest appearance on the Saturday Night Live Christmas show in December 2011, hosted by Jimmy Fallon.

Recurring characters[edit]

Morgan performed a variety of characters on the program, including:

  • Brian Fellow
  • Uncle Jemima
  • Dominican Lou
  • Bishop Don "Mack" Donald
  • Astronaut Jones
  • African Andy
  • Benny the Bengal
  • Branden Alonzo
  • Woodrow

Notable impressions[edit]

Morgan is also credited with impressions of:

30 Rock[edit]

From 2006 to 2013, Morgan was a cast member of the NBC television show 30 Rock, playing the character Tracy Jordan, a caricature of himself. His work on 30 Rock was well-received, and he was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series at the 2009 Emmy Awards.[9]

Other work[edit]

Morgan performing stand-up in 2008.

Morgan had his own show, The Tracy Morgan Show, in 2003, which was canceled after one season.

Morgan appeared in a stand-up special, "One Mic", on Comedy Central. He also hosted the first Spike Guys' Choice Awards, which aired on June 13, 2007. In 2003 he was on an episode of Punk'd in which his car was towed from the valet parking. He can be heard as "Spoonie Luv" on the Comedy Central program Crank Yankers and as Woof in the MTV2 Animated Series Where My Dogs At?.

Morgan acted in commercials for ESPN NFL 2K, ESPN NBA 2K, and ESPN NHL 2K, co-starring with Warren Sapp, Ben Wallace and Jeremy Roenick. He appeared in Adam Sandler's movie The Longest Yard as a transvestite inmate.[10]

Morgan has hosted the VH1 Hip Hop Honors for two consecutive years and hosted the third season of Scare Tactics, the Sci Fi Channel's hidden-camera show that pranks people by using their worst fears against them.

Morgan voiced Agent Blaster in Disney's G-Force and a bulldog named Luiz in the 20th Century Fox animated film Rio.

Morgan also appeared on the 2012 NHL Awards show on June 20, 2012, ridiculously imitating a New York Rangers fourth-liner. According to the fans, the producers decided to put him with the Rangers because of Head Coach John Tortorella's behavior, since Morgan shouted at him during his speech, Coach, I'm on the phone with my wife!

Morgan appeared in two episodes of the Animal Planet series Tanked, first having a Jaws-themed shark tank built in the basement of his house, then having a replacement tank built for his giant Pacific octopus.

Morgan hosted the 2013 Billboard Music Awards.

Autobiography[edit]

On October 20, 2009, Morgan's autobiography, I Am the New Black, was released. The book includes stories about living in Tompkins Projects in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, to becoming a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Morgan appeared on National Public Radio's Fresh Air hosted by Terry Gross, at times becoming very emotional about his former life in a New York ghetto.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Morgan has a number of tattoos, including a peace sign, a happy and sad face, a cross bearing the names of his wife and three sons, the name of a friend he played football with in high school who was murdered, the words "ME, MYSELF, & I" on his back, and the phrase "Stove Top".[11]

Family[edit]

Morgan married his high school sweetheart Sabina in 1985. They have three sons together: Tracy Jr. (b. 1986), Malcom (b. 1987), and Gitrid (b. 1991).[12] The middle son's name has also been published as "Malcolm"[1] and "Malcomb".[3] Morgan filed for divorce at Bronx Supreme Court on August 7, 2009, after 23 years of marriage.[13] Morgan credits one of his sons with having saved him from his alcoholism.[14] Morgan said in 2009, "I'm estranged from my own mother and most of my family, and I'm not sure that's going to change much."[4]

Morgan said in September 2011 that he and model Megan Wollover had become engaged six months earlier in San Francisco,[15] and in January 2013 he announced that they were expecting their first child.[16] Their daughter, Maven Sonae, was born in New York on July 2, 2013.[17]

Health problems[edit]

In 1996, Morgan was diagnosed with diabetes. At first he refused to take medication or change his diet, but after running a 104-degree Fahrenheit fever on the set of 30 Rock, he decided to finally comply with his doctor's orders and is now very cautious. With his consent, many of his own troubles have been incorporated within 30 Rock episodes.[18]

In early December 2010, Morgan received a kidney transplant, saving him from a lifetime of dialysis.[19][20]

On January 22, 2012, Morgan appeared disoriented while giving a speech at an awards ceremony for the Sundance Film Festival, and was escorted out of the building before collapsing outside. Hospital officials stated that no drugs or alcohol were found in his system. His publicist attributed the incident to a combination of exhaustion and altitude sickness.[21]

Legal troubles[edit]

On December 2, 2005, Morgan was arrested in West Hollywood on impaired-driving charges after police stopped him for speeding. On February 17, 2006, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of drunken driving and was sentenced to 36 months' probation, fined $390 and ordered to attend an alcohol-education program.[22]

In November 2006, Morgan was arrested for DUI and charged with probation violation after police spotted him driving erratically. In April 2007 he entered a guilty plea. He was ordered to wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet and perform five days of community service.[23]

Apartment fire[edit]

In February 2009, a fire caused by a faulty shark aquarium lamp broke out in Morgan's Manhattan apartment, and was largely extinguished by automatic sprinklers before being contained by the New York Fire Department. The fire resulted in extensive water damage to several apartments located on the same floor, but minimal fire damage.[24]

Traffic accident[edit]

On June 7, 2014, Morgan was a passenger in a Mercedes Sprinter limousine bus involved in a six-vehicle accident in New Jersey. Just after 1:00 am EDT Saturday morning, the vehicle was traveling northbound on the New Jersey Turnpike near Cranbury, when it was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer operated by Walmart,[25] causing a chain reaction crash.[26][27]

Morgan and three other comedians, along with Morgan's assistant and two limo company employees, had been returning from an engagement at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Delaware, as part of Morgan's "Turn it Funny" stand-up comedy tour.[28] The crash killed Morgan's friend and collaborator, 63-year-old comedian James McNair.[25]

Morgan was taken by helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, suffering a broken leg and femur, broken nose, and several broken ribs - he underwent surgery on his leg on June 8.[29] On June 20, 2014, Morgan was released from the hospital and was transferred to a rehabilitation facility to continue recovering from the injuries sustained during the accident. He was released from the rehab center on July 12, 2014.[30]

As of 16 June 2014, Morgan's assistant, Jeffrey Millea, had been upgraded to fair condition; Jersey City comedian Ardley "Ardie" Fuqua remained in critical condition.[31]

The driver of the Walmart transport-truck, Kevin Roper of Jonesboro, Georgia, pleaded not guilty to one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. The complaint argues Roper dozed off and hit Morgan's limo after swerving to avoid slowed traffic ahead of him.[31] It also argues that Roper had been awake for more than 24 hours before the crash.[32] A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that Roper had been on the clock since 11:20 Friday morning, and was very close to the federal limits of 14 hours per day and 11 hours behind the wheel.[33]

On July 10, Morgan sued Walmart for negligence. The suit alleged that Walmart either knew or should have known that Roper hadn't slept for more than 24 hours. The complaint alleged that before his shift, Walmart forced Roper to drive from his home in Jonesboro to a Walmart distribution center in Smyrna, Delaware—a distance of some 750 miles over 11 hours—even though there were several other distribution centers within a much more reasonable driving distance. Morgan filed the suit on behalf of himself, Fuqua, Millea, and Millea's wife Krista. At the time of the accident, Krista Millea was eight months pregnant, and the suit charges that she suffered loss of consortium due to the injuries suffered by her husband.[27][34][35][36]

Controversies[edit]

On January 27, 2011, Morgan appeared on the NBA on TNT pregame coverage of the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks nationally-televised live basketball game. During the appearance, commentators Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith asked Morgan to choose between Sarah Palin and Tina Fey on who was better looking (Fey, Morgan's 30 Rock co-star, portrays Palin on Saturday Night Live). Morgan said Palin was "good masturbation material", for which TNT apologized on live camera.[37]

During a performance in Nashville, Tennessee, on June 3, 2011, Morgan made remarks about gay people, reportedly stating that if his son were gay, his son better speak to him like a man or he would "pull out a knife and stab" him. Morgan apologized, saying that he had "gone too far."[38] NBC Entertainment head Bob Greenblatt stated, "I speak for NBC and myself personally when I say we do not condone hate or violence of any kind, and I am pleased to see Tracy Morgan apologizing for recent homophobic remarks in his standup appearance... Unfortunately, Tracy's comments reflect negatively on both 30 Rock and NBC — two very all-inclusive and diverse organizations — and we have made it clear to him that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated." Tina Fey, Morgan's boss both in fiction and in real life, said, "I'm glad to hear that Tracy apologized .... but the violent imagery of Tracy's rant was disturbing to me at a time when homophobic hate crimes continue to be a life-threatening issue for the LGBT community...the Tracy Morgan I know, ...is not a hateful man and [would never] hurt another person. I hope for his sake that Tracy's apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian co-workers at 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket."[39]

On June 25, 2011, during a show at Caroline's in New York City, Morgan made comments about disabled children, saying, "Don't ever mess with women who have retarded kids,"[40] and referred to a woman as "a cripple." Peter Bernes, CEO of The Arc, an organization supporting people with disabilities stated, "Tracy Morgan should apologize immediately. This quote is far too offensive to be excused as comedy, and it is very hurtful to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Mr. Morgan has an incredibly powerful platform from which to fix this, and if he's learned anything in the last few weeks, he can't bomb this apology."[41]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Emmy Awards
    • 2009, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: 30 Rock, nominated
  • Image Awards
    • 2008, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: 30 Rock, nominated
    • 2007, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: 30 Rock, nominated

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Movie Role Notes
1996 A Thin Line Between Love and Hate Bartender
1998 Half Baked V.J.
2000 Bamboozled TV personality
2001 How High Field of Dreams Guy
WaSanGo (English Version) Woo Ping
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Pumpkin Escobar
30 Years to Life Troy
2003 Head of State Meat hustler
2005 The Longest Yard Miss Tucker
Are We There Yet? Satchel Page Bobblehead Voice role
2006 Little Man Percy P
VH1's Totally Awesome Darnell
Farce of the Penguins Marcus Voice role
2008 First Sunday Leejohn
Superhero Movie Professor Xavier
2009 G-Force Blaster Voice role
Deep in the Valley Busta Nut
2010 Nailed Keyshawn
Cop Out Paul Hodges
Death at a Funeral Norman
The Other Guys Himself
2011 Rio Luiz Voice role
The Son of No One Vincent Carter
Chick Magnet Tracy
2012 Why Stop Now Leopold "Sprinkles" Leonard
2014 Rio 2 Luiz Voice role
The Boxtrolls Mr. Gristle Voice role
Death Pact TBA

Television[edit]

Year Show Role Notes
1992–94 Uptown Comedy Club Himself, Various
1994–96 Martin Hustle Man
1996 3rd Rock from the Sun Tracy Morgan
1996–03 Saturday Night Live Himself, Various
2002 Crank Yankers Spoonie Luv
Frank McKlusky, C.I. Reggie Rosengold
2003–04 The Tracy Morgan Show Tracy Mitchell
2006 Mind of Mencia Captain Black Cawk
2006–13 30 Rock Tracy Jordan
2008 Human Giant The Invisible Man
Where My Dogs At? Woof
2008–present Scare Tactics Host
2009 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Tracy Morgan/Kelly Clarkson"
2011 Saturday Night Live Various Episode: "Jimmy Fallon/Michael Bublé"
2014 Tracy Morgan: Bona Fide Himself [42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Tracy Morgan Biography". tvguide.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Tracy Morgan Biography". movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Lipton, Michael A. (January 12, 2004). "Bowling 'em Over – Saturday Night Live, The Tracy Morgan Show, Tracy Morgan". People.com. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Tracy Morgan On Being 'The New Black'". Fresh Air. October 22, 2009. NPR. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114009203.
  5. ^ Fretts, Bruce (November 27, 2003). "Is Tracy Morgan NBC's next breakout star?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  6. ^ Lynette Rice (June 13, 2011). "Tracy Morgan: 'I know bullying can hurt'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  7. ^ The Star Ledger. section 1. pg 20. June 8, 2014
  8. ^ "Uptown Comedy Club"Tracy Morgan Yo Mama Battle"". youtube.com. February 27, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Tracy Morgan Emmy Award Nominee". emmys.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  10. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (October 28, 2008). "For Tracy Morgan, Every Day Is a Show". New York Times. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Tracy Morgan: Naughty Boy". maxim.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Tracy Morgan". Nndb.com. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  13. ^ Joyce Eng (August 10, 2009). "Report: Tracy Morgan Files for Divorce". TVGuide.com. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Guest: Tracy Morgan | PBS‏". Tavis Smiley via YouTube. February 17, 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Tracy Morgan Is Engaged!". E Daily News. September 18, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  16. ^ Garcia, Jennifer (January 31, 2013). "Fourth Child on the Way for Tracy Morgan". People. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  17. ^ Nudd, Tim (July 2, 2013). "Tracy Morgan Welcomes Daughter Maven Sonae". People Magazine. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  18. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (October 28, 2008). "For Tracy Morgan, Every Day Is a Show". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2009. 
  19. ^ http://celebs.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474979008439
  20. ^ Ariano, Tara (December 21, 2010). "Tracy Morgan Receives Kidney Transplant, Will Miss at Least Two Episodes of '30 Rock'". The Set. Archived from the original on December 22, 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  21. ^ Kaufman, Gil (January 23, 2012). "Tracy Morgan Collapses At Sundance". MTV. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Tracy Morgan Charged With DWI". cbsnews.com. February 11, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  23. ^ "April 28, 2007". tmz.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Fire at Tracy Morgan's apartment sparked by faulty bulb in shark tank". nydailynews.com. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b "Georgia truck driver charged in crash that injured Tracy Morgan". Chicago Tribune. June 7, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  26. ^ Joe Sutton; Faith Karimi (June 7, 2014). "Actor Tracy Morgan in critical condition after six-vehicle accident in New Jersey". CNN. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  27. ^ a b Morgan lawsuit against Walmart
  28. ^ "Actor Tracy Morgan in ICU After Crash". NBC. June 7, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Tracy Morgan 'More Responsive' Day After Crash, Rep Says". abcnews.go.com. ABC News. June 8, 2014. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  30. ^ Deerwester, Jayne (July 13, 2014). "Tracy Morgan released from rehab hospital". 
  31. ^ a b "Tracy Morgan's condition improves". CBS News. June 16, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2014. 
  32. ^ DeGregory, Priscilla (June 9, 2014). "Truck driver in Tracy Morgan crash hadn’t slept in 24 hours". New York Post. 
  33. ^ Robillard, Kevin (June 6, 2014). "NTSB: Driver in Tracy Morgan crash had been working for 13 hours". Politico. 
  34. ^ Prendergast, Daniel (July 12, 2014). "Tracy Morgan suing Walmart for fatal crash". New York Post. 
  35. ^ "Tracy Morgan sues Walmart over deadly crash". CNN. July 12, 2014. 
  36. ^ Couch, Aaron (July 12, 2014). "Tracy Morgan Sues Walmart Over Deadly Crash". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  37. ^ "Tracy Morgan Calls Sarah Palin 'Good Masturbation Material,' Network Apologizes". Fox News. January 28, 2011. 
  38. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (June 12, 2011). "Tina Fey:Tracy Morgan is 'not a hateful man'". USA Today. Retrieved September 26, 2011. 
  39. ^ Yvonne Villarreal (June 10, 2011). "'30 Rock's' Tina Fey and NBC honcho Bob Greenblatt respond to Tracy Morgan's homophobic comments". Los Angeles Times. 
  40. ^ Le Tellier, Alexandra (June 29, 2011). "Tracy Morgan apologizes, then tries out a different offensive rant". The Los Angeles Times. 
  41. ^ Weiss, Shari (June 29, 2011). "Tracy Morgan under fire again for cracking offensive jokes about the mentally disabled in NYC show". Daily News. 
  42. ^ "Tracy Morgan's Stand-Up Special BONA FIDE Set for Release, 4/22 - BWWComedyWorld". April 9, 2014. Archived from the original on April 12, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 

External links[edit]