Morris in 1972
Francis Gregory Alan Morris
September 27, 1933
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||August 27, 1996 (aged 62)|
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Iowa|
(m. 1956; div. 1995)
|Children||3, including Phil Morris and Iona Morris|
Early life and careerEdit
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, to the jazz trumpeter Francis Williams, Morris served in the United States Army during the Korean War. While in college at Iowa on the G.I. Bill, Morris was active in college theater and hosted the late afternoon Jazz radio show, "Tea-Time", on the University of Iowa station, WSUI. He co-produced concerts at the university with a student friend. Morris began his television acting career in the 1960s, making guest appearances on numerous TV shows such as The Twilight Zone, Branded and Ben Casey. In 1966, Morris was cast in his most recognizable role as the team electronics expert Barney Collier in the TV series Mission: Impossible. Morris, Peter Lupus, and Bob Johnson were the only actors to remain with Mission Impossible throughout its entire run. After Iowa, Greg's first professional stage role was in The Death of Bessie Smith. One of his earliest television roles was a cameo appearance on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the episode "That's My Boy?", where Rob becomes convinced that they've taken home the wrong baby from the hospital. The revelation of Morris' character as the other child's father prompted a record setting bout of laughter from the studio audience. In the 1963–1964 season, he appeared on ABC's drama about college life, Channing, starring Jason Evers and Henry Jones.
After Mission: Impossible was cancelled, Morris appeared in several movies and made guest TV appearances (1974 – The Six Million Dollar Man – Episode 1-05 "Little Orphan Airplane") before he was cast in 1978 as Lt. David Nelson of the Las Vegas Metro Police, during the 1978-79 season of the ABC TV detective series Vega$, co starring with Robert Urich as Las Vegas detective Dan Tanna and Phyllis Davis as Bea. After the cancellation of Vega$ in June 1981, Morris recovered from a serious car accident on I-15 near Las Vegas. After his recovery, Morris continued to make guest TV appearances in the next decade, including several episodes in the short-lived 1988–1990 remake of the Mission: Impossible TV series, which starred his son Phil Morris. Phil Morris was cast as Grant Collier, the son of Barney. Morris also appeared in two episodes of the TV series What's Happening!! as Lawrence Nelson (father of Dwayne) and in three episodes of The Jeffersons, in which he reprised his role of an electronics expert (although not as Barney Collier) in a comparison sequel of the Mission: Impossible series. Morris was also a frequent guest star on Password and Password Plus in the 1960s and 1970s.
Shortly before his death in 1996, he went to see the film version of Mission: Impossible that starred Tom Cruise. The reports were that he disliked the movie so much (an opinion that was shared by some of his former co-stars) that he left the theater early. According to the Associated Press, he said of the movie: "It's an abomination."
|1963||Sam Benedict||Victim||Episode: "Of Rusted Cannons and Fallen Sparrows"|
|1963||Dr. Kildare||Lincoln Ball||Episode: "The Gift of the Koodjanuk"|
|1963||The Twilight Zone||Lt. Woodard||Episode: "The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms"|
|1963||The Lieutenant||Sgt. Perc Linden||Episode: "The Proud and the Angry"|
|1963||The Lieutenant||Crew Chief||Episode: "The Two Star Giant"|
|1963||The Dick Van Dyke Show||Mr. Peters||Episode: "That's My Boy??"|
|1964||The Lieutenant||Crew Chief||Episode: "To Kill a Man"|
|1964||The New Interns||Dr. Pete Clarke|
|1964||The Lively Set||Highway Patrol Officer|
|1965||The Fugitive||Mickey Deming||Episode: "Wings of an Angel"|
|1965||I Spy||Jim Rogers||Episode: "Lori"|
|1965||The Sword of Ali Baba||Yusef|
|1965||The Dick Van Dyke Show||Frank "Sticks" Mandalay||Episode: "Bupkis"|
|1966||The Doomsday Flight||FBI Agent Balaban||TV movie written by Rod Serling|
|1966–1973||Mission: Impossible||Barney Collier||Main cast|
|1973||Mannix||Escaped Convict||Episode: "Climb a Deadly Mountain"|
|1974||The Six Million Dollar Man||Josh||Episode: "Little Orphan Airplane"|
|1975||The Streets of San Francisco||Eddie Griffin||Episode: "Merchants of Death"|
|1976||Countdown at Kusini||Red Salter|
|1976||S.T.A.B.||Richard Hill||Thai film|
|1976||Sanford and Son||Willis||Episodes: "The Hawaiian Connection", parts 1 & 2|
|1977||What's Happening!!||Lawrence Nelson||Episode: "If I'm Elected"|
|1978||Wonder Woman||Caribe||Episode: "Light-Fingered Lady"|
|1978||Quincy, M.E.||Cliff Collier||Episode: "A Night to Raise the Dead"|
|1978||Fantasy Island||Ted Harmon||Episode: "War Games / Queen of the Boston Bruisers"|
|1978||The Eddie Capra Mysteries||Shelby||Episode: "The Intimate Friends of Janet Wilde"|
|1978–1981||Vega$||Lt. Dave Nelson||Recurring|
|1978||The Love Boat||Guest star||Episode: "Till Death Do Us Part – Maybe/Chubs/Locked Away"|
|1979||Password Plus||Himself||Game Show Participant / Celebrity Guest Star|
|1979||Roots: The Next Generations||Beeman Jones||Miniseries, part 1|
|1979||What's Happening!!||Lawrence Nelson||Episode: "Dwayne's Debate"|
|1983||The Fall Guy||Gary Jordan||Episode: "P.S., I Love You"|
|1983||The Jeffersons||Jimmy's Cousin||Episodes: "Mission: Incredible" parts 1-3|
|1983||Fantasy Island||Chief of Surgery||Episode: "The Wedding Picture / Castaways"|
|1984||T.J. Hooker||Dave Reemer||Episode: "Exercise in Murder"|
|1984||Murder, She Wrote||Lt. Andrews||Episode: "Lovers and Other Killers"|
|1988||War of the Worlds||General Masters||Episode: "The Second Seal"|
|1988–1990||Mission: Impossible||Barney Collier||Recurring|
|1989||The Adventures of Superboy||Damon||Episode: "The Invisible People"|
|1995||TekWar||Hacker||Episode: "Killer Instinct"|
- "Francis Williams, Trumpeter; Played With Ellington Band". The New York Times. October 4, 1983. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
- "Episode Description: The Dick Van Dyke Show – "That's My Boy??"". Retrieved April 23, 2009.
- Tush, Bill (May 26, 1996). "'Mission: Impossible' TV stars disgruntled". CNN. New York. Archived from the original on April 12, 2018. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- Ravo, Nick (August 29, 1996). "Greg Morris, 61, Debonair Star Of TV's 'Mission Impossible'". The New York Times. p. D19. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
- "'Mission: Impossible' actor dies". CNN. August 28, 1996. Archived from the original on February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2019.