Robert Morse, two-time Tony winner and ‘Mad Men’ star, dies aged 90

Robert Morse, the Tony Award-winning star of How to succeed in business without really trying? who impressed a new legion of fans as the eccentric head of the advertising agency Sterling Cooper on crazy men, has passed away. He was 90.

“My good friend Bobby Morse passed away at the age of 90,” tweeted writer/producer and vice chairman of the board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Larry Karaszewski. “A tremendous talent and a wonderful mind. Sending love to his son Charlie and daughter Allyn. Had so much fun with Bobby over the years – filming People v OJ & host so many impressions (How to succeed? Loved oneThat’s life

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His son Charlie also confirmed Morse’s death to… Eyewitness newsreported KABC-TV.

Morse became a show business sensation in his turn as the ambitious J. Pierrepont Finch, who rose from New York window cleaner to chairman of the board of the World Wide Wicket Co. How to succeed in business without really trying?based on Shepherd Mead’s bestselling book.

The show, which debuted in October 1961 and had more than 1,400 performances through March 1965, collected seven Tonys and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, with Morse selected for best actor in a musical. (Also among the winners: director Abe Burrows and actor Charles Nelson Reilly.)

Morse then reprized the role of Finch for the 1967 film adaptation of How to succeed? from The Mirisch Co. and United Artists.

In 1990, the Massachusetts native received another Tony, this one for best actor in a play, for his mesmerizing turn as Truman Capote in the one-hander. true† A live performance recorded for PBS’s American Playhouse earned him an Emmy Award three years later.

A younger audience, however, knows the six-foot-tall split-teeth actor for his turn as Bert Cooper, co-founder of Sterling Cooper, a man fond of bow ties, Japanese art and feet minus shoes, during seven seasons of AMC’s crazy men† He received five Emmy nominations for his work on the Matthew Weiner drama of the period.

Morse dusted off his Broadway musical skills when he did a song-and-dance routine to the tune of “The Best Things in Life Are Free” after Bert died peacefully in 1969 while watching TV while Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

In a 2014 interview with rolling stone magazine, Morse said Weiner always intended to sing on the show. However, the actor had to be persuaded.

“It wasn’t just ‘Go and sing a song en au revoir, Bobby.’ It was Bert who said to Don [Jon Hamm’s character]: What are you doing? All this shit you do, stop it. The best things in life are free. We just landed on the moon. Take it easy. Enjoy things while you have them.

“I saw how the scene fit into the whole picture and I thought, ‘Wow. This gives a lot of perspective here. Let’s do it.’ We rehearsed for a few days and then filmed it over the course of a day or so. No one else knew we were doing it.”

The boyish Morse also starred in several lighthearted 1960s movie comedies. He played a British man who oversaw his uncle’s expensive funeral in… the beloved (1965), directed by Tony Richardson, advising Walter Matthau on how to cheat on your wife without getting caught up in A Guide for the married man (1967).

Robert Morse was born on May 18, 1931 in Newton, Massachusetts. His father owned a chain of movie theaters and his mother studied piano at the New England Conservatory of Music.

After serving in the Korean War, Morse trained at the American Theater Wing in New York in the early 1950s and got a job as a practice singer on name that melody† An officer heard him and enrolled him, and Morse would appear as a wounded soldier in The proud and the profane (1956).

Morse made his Broadway debut in 1955, appearing alongside Ruth Gordon in the original production of The Matchmaker, written by Thornton Wilder. (He also played apprentice Barnaby Tucker in the 1958 Paramount version.)

Morse received his first Tony nom in 1959 for playing a green Broadway producer in Say babyabout the making of The Pajama Game (with book and direction by Burrows), received another nom the following year for his work in Take me with youa musical version of Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, wilderness! which also featured Jackie Gleason and Walter Pidgeon.

In 1973 he was nominated once more for: Sugarportraying Jerry/Daphne (Jack Lemmon’s character) in the musical adaptation of Billy Wilder’s Some love it when it’s hot† And he had a delightful cameo in the 2016 Broadway revival of the front page

Morse is one of only four actors to have won Tony’s Best Actors for Play and Musical, sharing that accolade with Rex Harrison, Christopher Plummer and Zero Mostel.

But for all his success on the stage, Morse never made it big in the movies.

“He had this incredible sense of comedy and this wonderful lightness and fluidity. He was a little strange and a little outrageous. But he just did better in the theater than in the movies,” Richardson said of Morse in a 1990 story for… New York magazine. “He made contact with a theater audience and was able to carry them in his pocket. But in a movie, the audience has to enter your head. You don’t go out to them – they have to come to you.”

His big screen resume also included Honeymoon Hotel (1964), Where were you when the lights went out? (1968), The Boatnicks (1970) and The Emperor’s New Clothes (1987).

Morse also sang and danced when he starred with EJ Peaker as a young married couple on the 1968-69 ABC series That’s life† He had a recurring role in Steven Bochco’s 2000 hospital drama City of Angelsplayed Harry the Bookie on all my children and was a grandfather in a 1995 Munsters TV movie.

More recently, Morse portrayed journalist Dominick Dunne on American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson

He was married to actress and dancer Carole D’Andrea for 20 years and then married Elizabeth Roberts in 1989, more than 30 years his junior.

For Morse, on both works crazy men and How to succeed in business without really trying? tied his career together very nicely.

“It was very strange,” he said in the… rolling stone piece, “because the first day I went on set” [of Mad Men]I thought I’d walked into the road company’s How to Succeed production: there were secretaries and desks everywhere, there were vintage telephones everywhere, everyone was made up like it was 1960.

“I remember waltzing down the aisles singing, ‘A secretary is not a toy, no, my boy/her notepad is for writing in, not spending the night! [lyrics from the How to Succeed song “A Secretary Is Not a Toy”]† And everyone looked at me like I was crazy because they’re all so damn young!

“The point is, it was both a reflection of who I was then and a bit of a pastime. It reminded me of what a great era that first half of the ’60s was – the Kennedy era. John Kennedy came to me in How to Succeed and gave me an autographed photo; I was hanging out at Bobby Kennedy’s house in Virginia. The days were lovely, the sun was shining, our sleeves were rolled up. It was all very positive for the most part. And then what happened ?”

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