Gary Morton

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Gary Morton
Gary Morton at the 61st Academy Awards
Morton Goldaper

(1924-12-19)December 19, 1924
DiedMarch 30, 1999(1999-03-30) (aged 74)
OccupationActor, comedian, producer
Years active1965–1990

Gary Morton (born Morton Goldaper; December 19, 1924 – March 30, 1999) was an American stand-up comedian, whose primary venues were hotels and resorts of the Borscht Belt in upstate New York. He was born in New York City. Later, he was a producer and studio executive, in association with his second wife, Lucille Ball.

Relationship with Lucille Ball[edit]

Morton married actress Susan Morrow on December 17, 1953. In August 1954, they separated and finally on July 11, 1957, his marriage to Morrow was annulled in Los Angeles.[citation needed]

In 1960, Morton met Lucille Ball in New York City a few months before she opened on Broadway in the musical Wildcat.[1][2] 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.[1] Morton signed a prenuptial agreement to stifle rumors that he was a gold digger. Morton was 13 years younger than Lucille Ball.[1]

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.[citation needed]

In recent years, Morton's effectiveness in his duties has 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.[page needed] Others, including Grant Tinker, have come forward with their own recollections of Morton's tenure at Desilu.[citation needed]

Most critics cite Morton's construction of a "European Street" — a ¾-scale replica of a European-styled business district street — as being a wasteful use of studio funds at a time when frugality was a necessity.[citation needed] 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.[page 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] Aside from producing tasks, he warmed up Ball's audiences before her entrance.[citation needed] He also played bit parts in Ball's various series and acted occasionally in films.[citation needed] He played a fictional borscht belt comedian Sherman Hart in Lenny (1974).[citation needed]

Later life[edit]

In 1996, Morton married Susie McAllister. On March 30, 1999, he died of lung cancer at the age of 74 in Palm Springs, California.[3]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Wildcat at Internet Broadway Database
  3. ^ "Gary Morton, 74, Producer for Lucille Ball". The New York Times. April 1, 1999

External links[edit]