Robert Morse is one of only four actors in the history of the Tony Awards to have received both of its top honors—Best Featured Actor in a Play and Best Actor in a Musical—a distinction he shares only with Rex Harrison, Christopher Plummer and Zero Mostel.
His musical award came in 1962 with his unforgettable performance as J. Pierrepont Finch in the Pulitzer Prize winning Frank Loesser/Abe Burrows/Bob Fosse musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and his dramatic nod came in 1990 with his triumphant portrayal of Truman Capote in the tour de force one man show, Tru. The PBS presentation of Tru (1992) later earned him an Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special as well. Mr. Morse made one of Broadway’s most exciting and acclaimed debuts as Barnaby Tucker in the original production of Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker, directed by Tyrone Guthrie and starring the legendary Ruth Gordon. He repeated that performance in the film version starring Shirley Booth, Anthony Perkins and Shirley MacLaine.
Those early days also brought him two Tony nominations, for his outstanding performances as the neophyte Broadway producer in Say Darling and as Richard in Take Me Along with Jackie Gleason, Walter Pidgeon and Eileen Herlie. His astounding success in How to Succeed… on Broadway brought him to Hollywood to recreate his unforgettable performance in the film version. This led to starring roles in Tony Richardson’s film THE LOVED ONE (1965), and in A Guide for the Married Man (1967), Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? (1968) and The Emperor’s New Clothes (1987) with Sid Caesar, as well as countless television appearances.
Broadway soon beckoned him back for the David Merrick production of Sugar, a musical version of the classic film comedy, Some Like it Hot (1959). In Sugar, Mr. Morse donned a dress to play Jerry/Daphne under Gower Champion’s direction, earning him the fourth of his five Tony nominations. This was followed by his starring role in So Long, 174th Street and the honor of being the only American to star at The Old Vic Theatre as Sidney Black in the London premiere of Light Up the Sky.
Subsequent stage credits also include Sugar Babies with Carol Channing, Where’s Charley? with Edie Adams, Babes in Toyland at California Music Theatre, DuBarry Was a Lady with Faith Prince for the Encores! Performance series and the original Cap’n Andy in Hal Prince’s acclaimed production of Showboat, among many others. In 1998, he appeared with Tony Roberts and Julie Andrews in the star studded Divas of Broadway at Carnegie Hall, which was also taped as part of the PBS “Great Performances” series.
Robert Morse spent seven seasons on the smash hit Mad Men for which he received four Emmy nominations.