David Morse, a 6′ 4″ tall blue-eyed blond who performed on stage for 10 years before breaking into film, has become established as a respected supporting, character actor and second lead.
He was born the first of four children of Charles, a sales manager, and Jacquelyn Morse, a schoolteacher, on October 11, 1953, in Beverly, Massachusetts. He grew up with three younger sisters. After graduating from high school, Morse studied acting at the William Esper Studio. In 1971, he began his professional acting career appearing in over 30 productions with the Boston Repertory Company from 1971 to 1977. In the late 1970s, Morse continued his stage career with the Circle Repertory Company in New York before moving into television and film. In the late 1990s, he returned to the Off-Broadway stage starring in Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama, “How I Learned to Drive” (1997), for which he won the Drama Desk Award and the Obie.
Morse made his big screen debut in 1980 co-starring as “Jerry Maxwell”, a cheerful bartender turned basketball player, opposite John Savage and Diana Scarwid in Inside Moves (1980), written by Barry Levinson and directed by Richard Donner. Although Inside Moves (1980) was nominated for an Oscar, Morse had to wait a few years until his career took off. His big break came in 1982 when he was cast as Dr. Jack “Boomer” Morrison, a young doctor who struggles as a single parent after the death of his wife, in St. Elsewhere (1982), a medical drama that ran for six seasons. He co-starred as opposite Jodie Foster and young Jena Malone in the Oscar nominated Sci-Fi drama Contact (1997). In 1999, he appeared in Stephen King’s The Green Mile (1999), with Tom Hanks. A year later, he played a supporting role as a kidnapped husband of Meg Ryan in Proof of Life (2000). In 2002, Morse became the first English-speaking actor nominated for the Golden Horse Award, the Chinese equivalent of the Oscars, for his superb performance as FBI expert “Kevin Richter” in Double Vision (2002). From 2002 to 2004, Morse had a regular gig starring as “Mike Olshansky”, an ex-Philadelphia policeman turned cab driver, in the TV series Hack (2002) which ran three seasons and was filmed in Philadelphia, close to his home. In 2006-2007, he has a recurring role on season 3 of an Emmy award-winning medical drama House M.D. (2004).
David Morse has been married to fellow actress Susan Wheeler Duff since 1982. They have three children, one daughter and twin sons. In 1994, after the the Northridge earthquake destroyed his home in Sherman Oaks, Morse moved from LA to Philadelphia with his family, and resides in his wife’s hometown.
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