Bret Morrison

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Bret Morrison
Bret Morrison and Grace Matthews as Lamont Cranston and Margot Lane
Born 5 May 1912
Chicago, Illinois
Died 25 September 1978, age 66
Hollywood, California
Occupation Actor

Bret Morrison (5 May 1912 - 25 September 1978)[1][2] was an American actor best known as the voice of the mysterious crusader for law and order on radio's The Shadow.[3] He was also a popular cabaret singer.

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Morrison entered radio during the 1930s while he was still in Chicago High School. He began with The First Nighter Program.[4] In 1937, he was in the cast of Lucky Girl, a Monday-Friday drama broadcast on WGN in Chicago.[5]

Morrison portrayed the Shadow longer than any other actor, spending 10 years in the role in two separate runs. Bill Johnstone played the Shadow until early 1943. Morrison replaced Johnstone in April, 1943, continuing until 1944. John Archer (1944–45) was followed by Steve Courtleigh (1945). Morrison then returned from 1945 until 1954. For many, he was the definitive voice of the Shadow, though his delivery was much less sinister–and, some would say,[who?] less compelling–than Orson Welles, who also portrayed the Shadow during its first full year run.

In 1974 Morrison was living in Palm Springs, California.[6] At age 66, Morrison died of a heart attack. He was found slumped over the steering wheel of his parked car on a Hollywood street where he had stopped for shopping after taping an episode of Heartbeat Theater. It was believed 107-degree temperatures in a Southern California heat wave may have prompted Morrison's heart attack.[7]


  1. ^ "Bret Morrison". Voice Chasers. 
  2. ^ DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 197.
  3. ^ Bertel, Dick; Corcoran; Ed (January 1972). "Bret Morrison". The Golden Age of Radio. Season 2. Episode 10. Broadcast Plaza, Inc.. WTIC Hartford, Conn. 
  4. ^ Radio Hall of Fame Archived April 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Today's Features". Chicago Daily Tribune. May 17, 1937. p. 17. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Palm Springs Home To Radio Veterans: Stars of 'Golden Era'". Pittsburg Post-Gazette. AP. December 18, 1974. Retrieved September 30, 2012. Brett Morrison, who was radio's Shadow from 1944 to 1956, is just one of many from radio's golden era who live in this desert resort. 
  7. ^ "People,"Daily Herald, September 27, 1978.