Raphael Kuhner Wuppermann
July 6, 1883
New York City, U.S.
|Died||June 11, 1956 (aged 72)|
New York City, U.S.
|Spouse||Grace Arnold (born Georgiana Louise Iverson)|
|Relatives||Frank Morgan (brother)|
|1st and 4th President of the Screen Actors Guild|
|Preceded by||Robert Montgomery|
|Succeeded by||Edward Arnold|
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Eddie Cantor|
|Acting President of the Actors' Equity Association|
June 17, 1924 – August 12, 1924
|Preceded by||John Emerson|
|Succeeded by||John Emerson|
Morgan was born in New York City, the eighth of eleven children of Josephine Wright (née Hancox) and George Diogracia Wuppermann. His mother was a Mayflower descendant. His father, George Wuppermann, was of Spanish and German lineage. Born in Venezuela and raised in Germany, he later immigrated to the United States. He had made a fortune by distributing Angostura bitters, allowing him to send all of his children to universities.
Morgan attended Trinity School, Riverview Military Academy and graduated from Columbia University with a law degree. However, after almost two years' practicing, he abandoned the world of jurisprudence for the vocation of journeyman actor, having already appeared in Columbia's annual Varsity Show. In 1905, billed as Raphael Kuhner Wupperman, he appeared in The Khan of Kathan, that year's variety show.
Morgan became so successful in stock and on Broadway that his younger brother, Frank, was encouraged to give acting a try, using the same surname as Ralph for his stage name. His career would eventually overshadow that of Ralph.
His first role on the stage came in The Bachelor in 1909 and played John Marvin in the 1918 hit play, Lightnin' . Morgan made his debut in silent films in 1915, appearing in several productions made on the East Coast. In the early talkie era, he played such leading roles in such productions as Strange Interlude in 1932 and Rasputin and the Empress also in 1932.
"I have great faith in the sense of justice inherent in my fellow player. I believe he wants to and will fight to correct any injustice so long as he feels confident that this fight will be waged cleanly and in keeping with the high calling of his profession."
Ralph Morgan on the Screen Actors Guild and the professional etiquette between fellow thespians
He later settled into secondary, sometimes uncredited, character parts. One of his memorable roles was in the 1942 serial Gang Busters, in which he played a brilliant surgeon turned master criminal. Morgan later worked in both radio and television, frequently in religious dramas filmed for Family Theater.
Among his off-camera activities, he, alongside Grant Mitchell, Berton Churchill, Charles Miller, Alden Gay, and Kenneth Thomson, formed the Screen Actors Guild to resolve and stop most of the injustice that actors faced within the industry (among which, were prolonged work hours enforced by the studios and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' membership policy, which was exclusively by invitation).
He was also a founder, charter member, and the first president of SAG in 1933, and he was elected to two additional one-year terms in 1938 and 1939, serving until 1940.
Personal life and death
Ralph Morgan was married to Georgiana Louise Iverson, who as a stage actress was known as Grace Arnold, although he called her "Daisy" and was the father of Claudia Morgan (born Claudia Louise Wuppermann; 1911–1974), an actress best known for creating the role of Vera Claythorne on Broadway in the original production of Ten Little Indians, and for her portrayal of Nora Charles on the radio series The Thin Man.
- Seeds of Jealousy (1914) (film debut)
- The Man Trail (1915)
- The Master of the House (1915) as Young Hoffman - the Son
- Madame X (1916) as Raymond Floriot
- The Penny Philanthropist (1917) as Tom Oliphant
- The Man Who Found Himself (1925) as Edwin Macauley Jr
- Honor Among Lovers (1931) as Riggs
- Dance Team (1932) as Alex Prentice
- Charlie Chan's Chance (1932) as Barry Kirk
- Cheaters at Play (1932) as Freddie Isquith
- After Tomorrow (1932) as Dr. Sullivan (uncredited)
- Disorderly Conduct (1932) as James Crawford
- Devil's Lottery (1932) as Captain Geoffrey Maitland
- Strange Interlude (1932) as Charlie Marsden
- Jungle Mystery (1932, Serial) as Recap Narrator (voice, uncredited)
- Rasputin and the Empress (1932) as The Czar - Nicholai Alexander
- The Son-Daughter (1932) as Fang Fou Hy
- Humanity (1933) as Dr. William MacDonald
- Trick for Trick (1933) as Azrah
- Shanghai Madness (1933) as Li Po Chang
- The Power and the Glory (1933) as Henry
- Doctor Bull (1933) as Dr. Verney, Owner Verney Laboratory
- Walls of Gold (1933) as J. Gordon Ritchie
- The Mad Game (1933) as Judge Penfield
- The Kennel Murder Case (1933) as Raymond Wrede - the Secretary
- Orient Express (1934) as Dr. Richard Czinner
- Stand Up and Cheer! (1934) as Secretary to President
- The Last Gentleman (1934) as Henry Loring
- Their Big Moment (1934) as Dr. Portman
- She Was a Lady (1934) as Stanley Vane
- A Girl of the Limberlost (1934) as Wesley Sinton
- Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round (1934) as Herbert Rosson
- Hell in the Heavens (1934) as Lt. 'Pop' Roget
- Little Men (1934) as Professor Bhaer
- I've Been Around (1935) as John Waring
- The Unwelcome Stranger (1935) as Mike Monahan
- Star of Midnight (1935) as Roger Classon
- Calm Yourself (1935) as Mr. Kenneth S. Rockwell
- Condemned to Live (1935) as Prof. Paul Kristan
- Magnificent Obsession (1935) as Randolph
- Muss 'em Up (1936) as Jim Glenray, Paul's Brother in Law
- Speed (1936) as Mr. Dean
- The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936) as Leroy Hutchins, Warcloud's Owner
- Human Cargo (1936) as District Attorney Carey
- Little Miss Nobody (1936) as Gerald Dexter
- Anthony Adverse (1936) as Signore Debruille
- Yellowstone (1936) as James Foster / Anderson
- General Spanky (1936) as Yankee General
- Crack-Up (1936) as John R. Fleming
- The Man in Blue (1937) as The 'Professor'
- Exclusive (1937) as Horace Mitchell
- The Outer Gate (1937) as John Borden
- The Life of Emile Zola (1937) as Commander of Paris
- That's My Story (1937) as Carter
- Mannequin (1937) as Briggs
- Wells Fargo (1937) as Nicholas Pryor
- Love Is a Headache (1938) as Reginald 'Reggie' Odell
- Wives Under Suspicion (1938) as Shaw MacAllen
- Mother Carey's Chickens (1938) as Captain John Carey
- Barefoot Boy (1938) as John Hale
- Army Girl (1938) as Maj. Hal Kennett
- Shadows Over Shanghai (1938) as Howard Barclay
- Out West with the Hardys (1938) as Bill Northcote
- Orphans of the Street (1938) as Martin Sands
- The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939) as Spiro
- Fast and Loose (1939) as Nicholas Torrent
- Man of Conquest (1939) as Stephen F. Austin
- Trapped in the Sky (1939) as Colonel Whalen
- Way Down South (1939) as Timothy Reid Sr.
- Smuggled Cargo (1939) as John Clayton
- Geronimo (1939) as Gen. Steele
- Forty Little Mothers (1940) as Judge Joseph M. Williams
- I'm Still Alive (1940) as Producer Walter Blake
- The Mad Doctor (1941) as Dr. Charles Downer
- Adventure in Washington (1941) as Senator Cummings
- Dick Tracy vs. Crime, Inc. (1941, Serial) as J.P. Morton
- A Close Call for Ellery Queen (1942) as Alan Rogers
- Klondike Fury (1942) as Dr. Brady
- Gang Busters (1942, Serial) as Dr. Clayton Maxton - aka Prof. Mortis
- A Gentleman After Dark (1942) as Morrison
- Night Monster (1942) as Kurt Ingston
- The Traitor Within (1942) as John Scott Ryder
- Hitler's Madman (1943) as Jan Hanka
- Stage Door Canteen (1943) as Ralph Morgan
- Jack London (1943) as George Brett
- The Impostor (aka Strange Confession) (1944) as Col. DeBoivin
- Weird Woman (1944) as Prof. Millard Sawtelle
- The Monster Maker (1944) as Lawrence
- Trocadero (1944) as Sam Wallace
- The Great Alaskan Mystery (1944, Serial) as Dr. Miller
- Enemy of Women (1944) as Mr. Quandt
- The Monster and the Ape (1945, Serial) as Professor Franklin Arnold
- Hollywood and Vine (1945) as B.B. Lavish / Richard Lavish
- This Love of Ours (1945) as Dr. Lane
- Black Market Babies (1945) as Dr. Henry Jordon
- Mr. District Attorney (1947) as Ed Jamison
- Song of the Thin Man (1947) as David I. Thayar
- The Last Round-up (1947) as Charlie Mason
- Sleep, My Love (1948) as Dr. Rhinehart
- Sword of the Avenger (1948) as Don Adolfo Rivera
- The Creeper (1948) as Dr. Lester Cavigny
- Blue Grass of Kentucky (1950) as Maj. Randolph McIvor
- Heart of the Rockies (1951) as Andrew Willard
- Gold Fever (1952) as Nugget Jack (final film)
- "Ralph Morgan, Veteran Actor, Dies At Age 72". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. June 12, 1956. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
- Henderson, Jessie (January 22, 1933). "True Actors Can't Quit Job, Says Morgan". Utah, Ogden. The Ogden Standard-Examiner. p. 26. Retrieved March 23, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "The Columbia Show". New York, New York City. The New York Tribune. March 14, 1905. p. 7. Retrieved March 23, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Ralph Morgan's portrait at the SAG-AFTRA
- "Frank Morgan". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
- "RALPH MORGAN, 72, ACTOR, DIES HERE; Stage and Screen Performer Was Seen in 'Rasputin' Film and in 'Strange Interlude'". The New York Times. June 13, 1956.