Morris W. Morris
September 4, 1844
|Died||August 20, 1906 (aged 61)|
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Rose Wood (married 1877–1890)|
Florence Roberts (married 1892–1906)
|Children||3, including Adrienne Morrison|
|Relatives||Constance Bennett (granddaughter)|
Barbara Bennett (granddaughter)
Joan Bennett (granddaughter)
Morton Downey Jr. (great-grandson)
Lewis Morrison (September 4, 1844 – August 20, 1906) was a Jamaican-born American stage actor and theatrical manager, born Moritz (or Morris) W. Morris. He was best known for his portrayal of Mephistopheles in his own production of Faust, which he performed from 1885 to 1906. He was the father of actress Adrienne Morrison, and grandfather of Constance, Barbara and Joan Bennett.
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 using the name Lewis Morrison. He first performed 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.
Morrison was married first to Anglo-American actress Rose Wood. He was the father of actresses Rosabel Morrison and Adrienne Morrison; grandfather of actresses Constance, Barbara and Joan Bennett; and great-grandfather of television talk show host Morton Downey Jr.
Morrison and Rose Wood were divorced in 1890. He married the much younger stage actress Florence Roberts in 1892.
- Berlin, Ira; Reidy, Joseph P.; Rowland, Leslie S., eds. (1982). Freedom: Series II: The Black Military Experience: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861–1867 (Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation 1861–1867). New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 310. ISBN 9780521229845.
- Bennett, Joan; Lois Kibbee (1970). The Bennett Playbill. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. OCLC 100769.
- "An Actress Seeks a Divorce". The New York Times. May 9, 1886.
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