Born: 11 October 1953; Hamilton, Massachusetts.
David Morse has long been cast in supporting roles representing characters all over the spectrum and has brought amazing depth to most of them. Recently he has been placed in the lead of the new television show "Hack," about a vigilante taxi driver which CBS seems to have pushed as its major addition to the Fall 2002 schedule.
Born and raised outside of Boston, Morse began his career on stage, primarily with the Boston Repertory Company. He worked with them from roughly 1971-1977, when he began performing in plays with New York's Circle Repertory Theatre. There he was noticed by casting agents and put in a recurring role on the TV show "St. Elsewhere." For this job, he relocated to Los Angeles where he married Susan Duff. The two lived in a house in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood. In the 1994 earthquake, their house was destroyed and they moved with their daughter and two sons to a suburb of Philadelphia, where Duff was raised. They still live there today. During this period after "St. Elsewhere," Morse worked heavily in television, getting his ticket punched, while making small appearances in feature films.
In the second half of the 90s, however, his career skyrocketed. Beginning with the role of a psychotic epidemiologist in Terry Gilliam's take on the troubles of time travel Twelve Monkeys and as the target of Jack Nicholson's vengeful rage in Crossing Guard (both in 1995), Morse appeared in many high-profile roles. 1996 brought two films where Morse became more widely recognized by audiences, as the only interesting bad guy in The Long Kiss Goodnight and as the only interesting bad guy in The Rock (interestingly, the two characters were vividly different even from each other).
Morse went on to pull heartstrings as the supportive father in the adaptation of Carl Sagan's book, Contact, but his talents truly became apparent with a quirky directorial debut from Antonio Banderas. Crazy in Alabama covers the stories of a young boy growing up in the South during the civil rights movement and a widow trying to come to terms with gender roles and the struggle of reality versus fantasy. David Morse plays Dove, a coroner who functions as a keystone between the main characters -- as brother and uncle to them, respectively.
In the 21st century, Morse continued to balance working on quirky offbeat movies as well as mainstream Hollywood ones -- from the ill-fated neighbor who functions as a foil for Björk's character's fantasies in Dancer in the Dark to the hostage of political guerillas in Proof of Life.
Like John Malkovich, David Morse is an actor who many people will describe as someone they recognize but are unable to name any films featuring him. This will probably change if "Hack" is successful and David Morse will become a household name. If the show fails, I'm certain Morse will continue to work on films, albeit in more glamorous roles where he will also gain public recognition.
Write to him, care of:
23 Watts 6th Floor
New York NY 10013