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Chester Morris ACTOR


Chester Morris was born on February 16th, 1901 in New York City, New York with the birth name John Chester Brooks Morris.  His father, William Morris was an actor and his mother, Etta Hawkins was a comedienne.  He also had two brothers who ultimately ended up working in the entertainment industry as well, Adrian Morris became an actor, and Gordon Morris worked as a writer.   
At the age of seventeen, Morris made his Broadway debut in, "The Copperhead".  Soon after he became involved in the film industry working on his first film, "An Amateur Orphan" (1917).  It was not until the era of sound films, that he really began to establish his name in the industry.  In the meantime, he continued to gain experience working on the stage in various Broadway productions such as, "Thunder" and "The Mountain Man" (both 1919).  He was billing himself as, "the youngest leading man in the country".
His first talking picture was in 1929 in the film, "Alibi" in which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.  This film role, followed with an appearance on the film, "The Big House" (1930) which was really what most consider to be his break through role.

Throughout the 1930's Morris continued to get cast in decent roles on first rated feature films, usually portraying a tough guy role in such films as, "The Bat Whispers" (1930) and "Corsair" (1931).   

However, as his career progressed, the only roles being offered to him were in 'B' rated films such as, "Smashing the Rackets" (1938) and "Five Came Back" (1939).  It was not until he got a role that lasted a total of 14 pictures, for a detective series called, "Boston Blackie" started by Columbia Pictures in 1941 that really made his mark in the industry.  Morris will forever be remembered as the character, Boston Blackie.

From this point on, Morris mainly stuck to television work, however appearing every once in a while on a film.  Some of his television work from the 1950's and 1960's included appearances in such series as, "Diagnosis: Unknown" (1960), "The Defenders" (1962-1965) and "Route 66" (1963-1964).  Morris's last film appearance was in, "The Great White Hope" (1970). 

Alongside a successful stage, television and film career as an actor, Morris was also a very talented stage magician.  He was very comfortable on stage and his act included live animals and large stage feats.  He also took his act to the stage during World War II entertaining at Army and US Navy camps. 

Chester Morris married twice throughout his lifetime, first to Suzanne Kilborn from September 30th, 1927 and the couple had two children, Brooks and Cynthia before divorcing in 1939.  He then married for a second time to, Lillian Kenton Barker from November 30th, 1940 and they had a son, Kenton.  

Sadly, Morris was diagnosed with cancer and committed suicide in  New Hope, Pennsylvania on September 11th, 1970 at the age of sixty nine from a barbiturate overdose.  

1970   The Great White Hope 
1969   Gentle Ben 
1968   Cimarron Strip
1967   Coronet Blue 
1962-1965  The Defenders
1965   Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre
1964   Mr. Broadway
1964   Dr. Kildare 
1964   Suspense
1964   Kraft Suspense Theatre 
1964   East Side/West Side 
1964   Espionage
1963-1964  Route 66
1962-1963  Alcoa Premiere
1962   The Eleventh Hour
1961   Ben Casey 
1961   Checkmate 
1961   Naked City 
1961   A String of Beads
1960   Rawhide 
1960   Diagnosis: Unknown
1960   Play of the Week
1959   The United States Steel Hour 
1959   Oldsmobile Music Theatre
1958   Pursuit 
1953-1957  Kraft Theatre 
1957   Playhouse 90  
1957   Zane Grey Theater 
1957   The Red Skelton Hour 
1956   The She-Creature
1954-1956  Studio One in Hollywood 
1955   Appointment with Adventure
1955   Unchained 
1954   The Philip Morris Playhouse 
1954   The Web 
1952-1953  Robert Montgomery Presents
1951-1953  Danger 
1953   Omnibus 
1952-1953  Suspense 
1952   Tales of Tomorrow 
1952   Lux Video Theatre 
1952   Lights Out 
1952   Schlitz Playhouse 
1951   Starlight Theatre
1950   Cameo Theatre 
1949   Boston Blackie's Chinese Venture 
1948   Trapped by Boston Blackie 
1947   Blind Spot 
1946   Boston Blackie and the Law
1946   The Phantom Thief 
1946   A Close Call for Boston Blackie
1946   One Way to Love  
1945   Boston Blackie's Rendezvous 
1945   Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion 
1945   Rough, Tough and Ready 
1944   Double Exposure  
1944   One Mysterious Night 
1944   Secret Command 
1944   Gambler's Choice 
1943   The Chance of a Lifetime
1943   High Explosive  
1943   Aerial Gunner 
1943   After Midnight with Boston Blackie 
1943   Tornado 
1942   Wrecking Crew 
1942   Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood 
1942   I Live on Danger
1942   Alias Boston Blackie 
1942   Canal Zone  
1941   Confessions of Boston Blackie 
1941   No Hands on the Clock 
1941   Meet Boston Blackie 
1940   Girl from God's Country
1940   Wagons Westward 
1940   The Marines Fly High
1939   Thunder Afloat 
1939   Five Came Back 
1939   Blind Alley
1939   Pacific Liner  
1938   Smashing the Rackets 
1938   Sky Giant 
1938   Law of the Underworld 
1937   Flight from Glory 
1937   I Promise to Pay 
1937   The Devil's Playground 
1936   They Met in a Taxi 
1936   Counterfeit 
1936   Frankie and Johnnie  
1936   Moonlight Murder  
1936   Three Godfathers
1935   Pirate Party on Catalina Isle 
1935   Pursuit 
1935   Public Hero #1  
1935   Princess O'Hara 
1935   Society Doctor  
1934   I've Been Around
1934   The Gay Bride 
1934   Embarrassing Moments 
1934   Gift of Gab 
1934   Let's Talk It Over 
1933   King for a Night 
1933   Golden Harvest 
1933   Tomorrow at Seven 
1933   Infernal Machine 
1933   Blondie Johnson 
1932   Breach of Promise  
1932   Red-Headed Woman 
1932   Sinners in the Sun 
1932   The Miracle Man         
1932   Cock of the Air 
1931   Corsair 
1930   The Bat Whispers 
1930   The Big House
1930   The Divorcee 
1930   The Case of Sergeant Grischa 
1930   She Couldn't Say No 
1930   Playing Around
1930   Second Choice
1929   The Show of Shows 
1929   Woman Trap 
1929   Fast Life 
1929   Alibi 
1925   The Road to Yesterday
1923   Loyal Lives 
1918   The Beloved Traitor 
1917   An Amateur Orphan   

Matinee Classics - Aerial Gunner starring Chester Morris, Richard Arlen, Jimmy Lydon, Dick Purcell and Robert Mitchum
Matinee Classics - Sky Giant starring Richard Dix, Chester Morris, Joan Fontaine, Harry Carey, Paul Guilfoyle, Robert Strange, Max Hoffman Jr., Vicki Lester, James Bush, Edward Marr, Bernice Pilot and William Corson

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