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Garrett Morris… He Was More Than Just a Funny Guy on SNL!

Entertainment | July 11, 2018

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 15 -- Pictured: (l-r) Gilda Radner as the assistant, Garrett Morris as Dr. Mobius during 'The Island of Lost Luggage' skit on March 25, 1978 (Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images)

First of all, can you believe that Garrett Morris is currently 81 years old? For some reason it just doesn’t seem possible.

Although Morris is best remembered for his appeal as a funny guy, there is so much more to this talented man than meets the eye. We often forget that the personalities we see on screen also have a personal side to their story.

Garrett Morris is an iconic figure that made his mark during our groovy counterculture era and successfully beat the odds despite his somewhat unconventional start in life.

Morris was the first child born to his mother. He was actually the product of his mother being raped at the age of 16. For this reason, his grandparents stepped in to raise him. His grandfather was a Methodist Preacher and soon realized that Morris had musical abilities. His grandfather fostered that talent and he went on to study at Dillard University and trained vocally at Juilliard. This formal training boosted Morris into a blooming and successful career as a musical arranger and soloist before finding acting.

In the last 81 years, there is more to Morris than his time entertaining us on Saturday Night Live and other comedies.

There is no doubt that Garrett Morris is a talented actor and comedian. He is probably best recognized for being one of the hysterical members in the original cast of Saturday Night Live (SNL). Prior to that, however, he appeared in numerous Broadway productions.

Morris appeared on SNL from 1975 to 1980 and became the first African American cast member!

Chevy Chase with Garrett Morris

Garret Morris spent 5 years on the late-night show and was an all time favorite. He was a comedic staple on the “Weekend Update” skit. One of the characters he portrayed on the fictitious news broadcast was as President of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing. His lighthearted answer to the plight of the hard of hearing was not sign language, but to speak VERY loudly!

Another character Morris portrayed on SNL was, Chico Escuela, a baseball player who always declared that, “baseball been beery, beery good to me!”

Morris is also credited with many other roles on the big screen and in recurring roles on popular television shows of the era including, The Jeffersons, Diff'rent Strokes, Hill Street Blues, 227, and Roc. Awesome movies he contributed to include Car Wash and The Census Takers. Morris is a very talented actor who definitely earned his place in our hearts at a time when other African American actors were struggling to do the same. 

Aside from studying music, and then drama, Morris was also a former schoolteacher in New York City in addition to being the beloved funny guy we have come to know. He has been given many talents and has used them all to the best of his ability.  

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.