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Robert Morse, two-time Tony-winning actor, dies at 90 | Obituaries



NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Robert Morse, who received a Tony Award as a hilariously brash company climber in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and a second one a technology later because the good, troubled Truman Capote in “Tru,” has died. He was 90.

Morse died at his house Wednesday after a short sickness, stated David Shaul of BRS/Gage Talent Agency.

The boyishly good-looking Morse first made his title on Broadway within the Fifties, and landed some roles in Hollywood comedies within the Sixties. “I consider myself an actor — shyly,” he informed the Los Angeles Times in 1964. “I love acting. It’s a great use of body and mind… With all humility, you hope that you are doing something worthwhile.”

More lately, he performed the autocratic and eccentric chief of an promoting company in “Mad Men,” AMC’s hit drama that debuted in 2007. The position of Bert Cooper earned him 5 Emmy nominations as finest visitor actor in a drama collection.

“He radiated a wicked joy; it was impossible to watch him without instantly sharing his giddy delight,” wrote playwright Paul Rudnick. Jason Alexander tweeted: “His work was infused with joy and it was joyous to be with him.”

Morse was already well-established on Broadway, with two Tony nominations to his credit score, when he grew to become nationally well-known at age 30 because the star of Abe Burrows and Frank Loesser’s smash 1961 Broadway satire of company life, “How to Succeed…”. The present received each the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony for finest musical and ran for greater than three years.

Morse’s bright-eyed J. Pierrepont Finch was a grasp of company backstabbing — with a toothy grin — as he went from Manhattan window washer to titan on the World Wide Wicket firm with the assistance of a bit of “how-to” paperback on workplace politics.

The musical’s track titles counsel the button-down, pre-feminist enterprise world: “The Company Way,” a theme track for yes-men; “A Secretary Is Not a Toy,” a track that winks at workplace dalliance; “Coffee Break,” a tribute to caffeine; and the hymn Finch sings to himself: “I Believe in You.” Finch toadies as much as the getting old boss, performed by Twenties crooner Rudy Vallee, by becoming a member of within the previous man’s school struggle track, “Grand Old Ivy.”

“Imagine a collaboration between Horatio Alger and Machiavelli and you have Finch, the intrepid hero of this sortie into the canyons of commerce,” The New York Times wrote. “As played with unfaltering bravura and wit by Robert Morse, he is a rumpled, dimpled angel with a streak of Lucifer.”

The 1967 movie model of “How To Succeed” dropped some songs however in any other case saved near the stage unique. Morse was again, as was Vallee.

But Morse’s movie profession largely didn’t take off.

He was again on Broadway in 1972 — and picked up one other Tony nomination — for “Sugar,” producer David Merrick’s musical model of “Some Like It Hot.” Morse starred as Jerry, the half performed by Jack Lemmon within the Billy Wilder comedy about two male musicians who disguise themselves as ladies to get away from murderous gangsters.

“Tru,” a one-man present based mostly on Capote’s writings, revived Morse’s stage profession in 1989.

“His Capote is wickedly funny, a sly imp ready to deliver an off-color joke about the Queen Mum, zing Robert Goulet or rhapsodize about the time he tap-danced for Louis Armstrong. …,” Associated Press drama critic Michael Kuchwara wrote in his evaluate. “But there’s a desperate side of Capote, too, and Morse rises to the pain.”

In 1993, the televised model of “Tru” (PBS) received Morse an Emmy for finest actor in a miniseries or particular. (Meanwhile, a 1995 Broadway revival of “How to Succeed…” introduced one other Tony for its Finch, Matthew Broderick.)

Television’s “Mad Men” returned Morse to the “How to Succeed” milieu of Manhattan workplace politics, Sixties-style.

When Morse landed in Hollywood after his “How to Succeed” triumph, columnist Hedda Hopper predicted in 1963: “If Robert Morse comes over on screen as he does on stage, he’ll have teenagers screaming and mothers wanting to adopt him. He has an innate sense of comedy and a funny face to go with it.”

Among his movies was “The Loved One,” a 1965 black comedy about an Englishman’s encounter with Hollywood and the funeral trade, based mostly on the satirical novel by Evelyn Waugh.

“I don’t think in terms of whether a picture will help or hinder my career,” Morse informed the Los Angeles Times when the movie was in manufacturing. “I think of who I’m working with.” Among his “Loved One” co-stars had been Jonathan Winters, John Gielgud and Tab Hunter.

Morse was born May 18, 1931, in Newton, Massachusetts, and made his Broadway debut in 1955 in “The Matchmaker.”

He obtained back-to-back Tony nominations for his subsequent two roles: in 1959 for finest featured actor in a play for “Say, Darling,” and in 1960 for finest actor in a musical for “Take Me Along,” which additionally starred Jackie Gleason.

“Say, Darling” was a comedy a couple of younger author’s expertise as his novel is was a Broadway present. The play was based mostly on the creation of “The Pajama Game,” and Morse’s character, a “boy producer” who hated being known as that, was modeled on Harold Prince, a “Pajama Game” co-producer.

Reviewing his profession, Morse informed The New York Times in 1989: “Things change. I never got a chance to be in a play or picture where I played a father, or had a family, or where I could feel or show something. The wild child in me never had a chance to grow up.”

He stated he had efficiently battled alcohol and drug abuse, however added, “I don’t think drinking got in the way of my work. I did my job. It was the other 22 hours I had a problem with.”

Still, he stated of his profession, “I didn’t think it was going to end or not end. I just plowed on. One day you hear `We love you, Bobby.’ The next day you’re doing voiceovers.”

He is survived by 5 youngsters, a son Charlie and 4 daughter, Robin, Andrea, Hilary and Allyn.

Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed with out permission.





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