Wayne Morris (American actor)
Morris in 1948
February 17, 1914|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
September 14, 1959 (aged 45)|
Oakland, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
Leonora Hornblow (1939–1940) (divorced) 1 son|
Patricia Ann O'Rourke (1942–1959 (his death) 2 daughters
Wayne Morris (February 17, 1914 – September 14, 1959) was an American film and television actor, as well as a decorated World War II fighter ace. He appeared in many films, including Paths of Glory (1957), The Bushwackers (1952), and the title role of Kid Galahad (1937).
Early life and career
Morris was born Bert DeWayne Morris, or Bert De Wayne Morris, in Los Angeles. (Another source says that he was born in Pasadena, California.) He attended Los Angeles City College and was a fullback on that school's varsity football team. He gained acting experience through his work at the Pasadena Playhouse.
Morris played the title character of Kid Galahad (1937), a story of a young prizefighter that featured some of Hollywood's biggest stars, Bette Davis, Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart. His career flourished in films like Brother Rat, which starred Ronald Reagan, and in Bogart's only horror film, The Return of Doctor X (1939).
While filming Flight Angels (1940), Morris became interested in flying and became a pilot. With war in the wind, he joined the Naval Reserve and became a Navy flier in 1942, leaving his film career behind for the duration of the war. He flew the F6F Hellcat off the aircraft carrier USS Essex.
A December 15, 1944 Associated Press news story reported that Morris was "credited with 57 aerial sorties, shooting down seven Japanese Zeros, sinking an escort vessel and a flak gunboat and helping sink a submarine and damage a heavy cruiser and a mine layer." He was awarded four Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Air Medals.
Morris was considered by the Navy as physically 'too big' to fly fighters. After being turned down several times as a fighter pilot, he went to his uncle-in-law, Cdr. David McCampbell, imploring him for the chance to fly fighters. Cdr. McCampbell said "Give me a letter." He flew with the VF-15 (Fighter Squadron 15), the famed "McCampbell Heroes."
After the war, Morris returned to films, but his nearly four-year absence had cost him his burgeoning stardom. He continued to act in movies, but the pictures, for the most part, sank in quality. Losing his boyish looks but not demeanor, Morris spent most of the fifties in low-budget westerns, but he also appeared as a weakling Lieutenant Roget, one of the main characters, in Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory (1957).
Morris starred in a 1956 episode of Science Fiction Theater, "Beam of Fire." In 1958, Morris appeared in Gunsmoke as "Ned," a groom almost shot to death. Wayne Morris played "Captain Hathaway" in a 1959 airing of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet", in the episode "The Sea Captain".
Morris was first married to tobacco heiress Leonora (Bubbles) Schinasi; the couple later divorced. Eighteen months later, Morris married the 19-year-old Patricia Ann O'Rourke at the Long Beach, California Naval Air Base February 25, 1942. O'Rourke was the sister to B-movie actress Peggy Stewart.
He had two daughters and a son.
- China Clipper (1936) - Navigator on Clipper
- Here Comes Carter (1936) - Bill
- Polo Joe (1936) - Spectator (uncredited)
- King of Hockey (1936) - Bill 'Jumbo' Mullins
- Smart Blonde (1937) - Railroad Information Clerk (uncredited)
- Once a Doctor (1937) - Sailor on 'Nirvana' (uncredited)
- Land Beyond the Law (1937) - Dave Massey (Credits) / Dave Seymour
- Kid Galahad (1937) - Ward Guisenberry / Kid Galahad
- Submarine D-1 (1937) - 'Sock' McGillis
- The Kid Comes Back (1938) - Rush Conway
- Love, Honor and Behave (1938) - Ted Painter
- Men Are Such Fools (1938) - Jimmy Hall
- Valley of the Giants (1938) - Bill Cardigan
- Brother Rat (1938) - Billy Randolph
- The Kid from Kokomo (1939) - Homer Baston
- The Return of Doctor X (1939) - Walter Garrett
- Brother Rat and a Baby (1940) - Billy Randolph
- Double Alibi (1940) - Stephen Wayne
- An Angel from Texas (1940) - Mac McClure
- Flight Angels (1940) - Artie Dixon
- Gambling on the High Seas (1940) - Jim Carter
- Ladies Must Live (1940) - Corey Lake
- The Quarterback (1940) - Jimmy Jones and Billy Jones
- I Wanted Wings (1941) - Tom Cassidy
- Badmen of Missouri (1941) - Bob Younger
- Three Sons o' Guns (1941) - Charley Patterson
- The Smiling Ghost (1941) - Lucky Downing
- Deep Valley (1947) - Jeff Barker
- Voice of the Turtle (1947) - Comm. Ned Burling
- The Time of Your Life (1948) - Tom (Joe's stooge and friend)
- The Big Punch (1948) - Chris Thorgenson
- John Loves Mary (1949) - Lt. Victor O'Leary
- A Kiss in the Dark (1949) - Bruce Arnold
- The Younger Brothers (1949) - Cole Younger
- Task Force (1949) - McKinney
- The House Across the Street (1949) - Dave Joslin
- Johnny One-Eye (1950) - Dane Cory
- The Tougher They Come (1950) - Bill Shaw
- Stage to Tucson (1951) - Barney Broderick
- Sierra Passage (1950) - Johnny Yorke
- The Big Gusher (1951) - Kenny Blake
- The Bushwhackers (1951) - Marshal John Harding
- Yellow Fin (1951) - Mike Donovan
- Desert Pursuit (1952) - Ford Smith
- Arctic Flight (1952) - Mike Wien
- Star of Texas (1953) - Texas Ranger Ed Ryan / Robert Larkin
- The Marksman (1953) - Deputy Marshal Mike Martin
- The Fighting Lawman (1953) - Deputy Marshal Jim Burke
- Texas Bad Man (1953) - Walt
- Riding Shotgun (1954) - Deputy Sheriff Tub Murphy
- The Desperado (1954) - Sam Garrett
- The Master Plan (1954) - Maj. Thomas Brent
- Two Guns and a Badge (1954) - Deputy Jim Blake
- The Green Carnation (1954) - Gary Holden
- Port of Hell (1954) - Stanley Povich
- Lord of the Jungle (1955) - Jeff Wood
- Lonesome Trail (1955) - Dandy Dayton
- Cross Channel (1955) - Tex Parker
- The Gelignite Gang (1956) - Jimmy Baxter
- The Crooked Sky (1957) - Mike Conlin
- Paths of Glory (1957) - Lt. Roget
- Plunder Road (1957) - Commando Munson
- Official Detective "The Cover-Up" - Holmes (1958) - Holmes
- Buffalo Gun (1961) - Roche (final film role)
- Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 119.
- "Wayne Morris Succumbs at 45; Born in Pasadena". Pasadena Independent. California, Pasadena. September 15, 1959. p. 1. Retrieved July 9, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Jobs Upon A Time". The Morning Herald. Maryland, Hagerstown. April 9, 1948. p. 20. Retrieved July 9, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Wayne Morris Home After 57 Sorties". The Pantagraph. Illinois, Bloomington. Associated Press. December 15, 1944. p. 1. Retrieved July 9, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Wayne Morris Weds Patricia O'Rourke". The Monroe News-Star. The Monroe News-Star. Associated Press. February 26, 1942. p. 7. Retrieved July 9, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Hoyt, Edwin P. McCampbell's Heroes: the Story of the U.S. Navy's Most Celebrated Carrier Fighter of the Pacific. ISBN 0442262892 OCLC 8826820
- Wise, James. Stars in Blue: Movie Actors in America's Sea Services. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997. ISBN 1557509379 OCLC 36824724