Morris W. Morris
|Born||Morris W. Morris
September 4, 1844
Jamaica, West Indies
|Died||August 20, 1906 (aged 61)
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Rose Wood (divorced; 3 children)
Lewis Morrison (September 4, 1844 – August 20, 1906) was a Jamaican-born American stage actor, born Morris W. Morris, who was best known for his longtime performance as "Mephistopheles" in "Faust". Morris was of English, Spanish, Jewish, and African ancestry.
He served in the Confederate States Army in the Louisiana Native Guards during the Civil War. The unit was originally raised by the Confederates from the sizable free black population of New Orleans who volunteered their services. It was disbanded and reconstituted a few times as the Confederate government did not know what to do with the troops, until New Orleans was captured by Union forces. Officers of the Guard were partly composed of free black soldiers from New Orleans and the surrounding area. Morris served among them as a lieutenant. After the fall of New Orleans, some of the Confederate Louisiana Guard promptly switched allegiances to the Union, and its officers became the first black officers in the Union Army.
After the Civil War, he became a stage actor (where he was known as Lewis Morrison) first performing in New Orleans beginning in minor roles with Edwin Booth and Charlotte Cushman until he was featured in larger parts. He became a well-known actor in New Orleans and moved on to the stage in New York, where he gained greater fame in "Faust". He founded his own traveling theater troupe and traveled the world playing the role of Mephistopheles in Faust.
He was married, firstly, to English-born actress Rose Wood, and by her was the father of actress Adrienne Morrison; the grandfather of Hollywood film actresses Constance, Barbara and Joan Bennett, and great-grandfather of television talk show host Morton Downey, Jr. His second wife was much younger stage actress Florence Roberts (1871-1927).
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- "AN ACTRESS SEEKS A DIVORCE.". The New York Times. May 9, 1886.
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