Monday, July 20, 2015

Godspeed Aubrey Morris

Aubrey Morris, who appeared in such films as The Wicker Man (1973) and A Clockwork Orange (1971) as well as such TV shows as The Avengers and Danger Man, died on July 15 2015 at the age of 89. He had been ill for several weeks.

Aubrey Morris was born on June 1 1926 in Portsmouth, Hampshire. His older brother Wolfe Morris also went into acting, appearing in such films as The Abominable Snowman (1957), The House That Dripped Blood (1971), and The MacKintosh Man (1973). Both Aubrey and Wolfe Morris appeared in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975). Aubrey Morris attended Portsmouth Municipal College before studying acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He made his stage debut  at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park in The Winter's Tale in 1944. He made his television debut in 1948 in the production Fly Away Peter.

From 1954 to 1956 he acted at The Old Vic in London. He made his debut on Broadway in 1956 in a revival of King Richard II. For the remainder of the Fifties he appeared again on Broadway in such productions as Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Troilus and Cressida, and The Hostage. He appeared on television on the shows BBC Sunday-Night Theatre, Ivanhoe, The Moonstone, The Terrible Choice, and The Herries Chronicle.

In 1962 Mr. Morris made his film debut in The Quare Fellow. In the Sixties he also appeared in the films The Night Caller (1963), The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery (1966), The Sandwich Man (1966), The Magnificent Two (1967), and If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969). He appeared on such TV shows as Out of This World, Armchair Theatre, The Sentimental Agent, Espionage, Z Cars, The Saint, Thorndyke, The Avengers, Danger Man, Man in a Suitcase, The Prisoner, The Champions, Catweezle, and From a Bird's Eye View.

In the Seventies Aubrey Morris had regular roles on several shows, including Jamie, The Molly Wopsies, Rooms, and Touch and Go. He appeared on such TV shows as On the Buses, Bowler, Whodunnit?, The Sweeney, Space: 1999, Return of the Saint, and BBC2 Playhouse. He appeared in such films as Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Double Take (1972), The Wicker Man (1973), Man About the House (1974), Love and Death (1975), Lisztomania (1975), and The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975).

In the Eighties Mr. Morris appeared on such shows as The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy; Metal Mickey; Reilly: Ace of Spies; Sledge Hammer!; Beauty and the Beast; Murder, She Wrote; Alien Nation; and Tales from the Crypt. He appeared in the films Oxford Blues (1984), Lifeforce (1985), and The Rachel Papers (1989).

In the Nineties Aubrey Morris appeared on such shows as Lovejoy, Babylon 5, Boy Meets World, Columbo, and The Others. He appeared in the films My Girl 2 (1994), The White Gorilla (1995), Bordello of Blood (1996), and Legend of the Mummy (1998). In the Naughts and the Teens he appeared on such shows as Deadwood and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He appeared in the films Visioneers (2008) and Necessary Evil (2008).

Aubrey Morris was a remarkable actor. Of course, with his distinctive voice he often played characters that could best be described as "offbeat". Despite this he actually played a wide variety of roles. This can be seen his what might be his two most famous roles. As the gardener/cemetery caretaker in The Wicker Man he was good natured and slightly bemused at Sergeant Howie (played Edward Woodward). As probation officer P.R. Deltoid in A Clockwork Orange he was initially friendly towards Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell), but turned resentful when Alex continued to comit acts of violence. Of course, Aubrey Morris also appeared in a good number of TV shows where he also played a large variety of roles. On The Avengers episode "Silent Dust" he played Quince, a somewhat eccentric birdwatcher. In the Danger Man episode "The Paper Chase" he played the petty thief and lottery seller who steals a briefcase that, unknown to him, contains top secret papers. In a long career Mr. Morris played everything from scientists to con men, and historical figures from Nikita Khrushchev to  Isaac D'Israeli. What is more, he did all of them well. In the various movies and TV shows in which Aubrey Morris appeared the parts have sometimes been small, but he also left a lasting impression.

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