Monday, May 27, 2024

Bobby Morse Succeeded in Show Business: RIP at 90, Emmy and Tony Winner


Robert Morse is gone at age 90. His impish charm, noted everywhere this morning, served him well. His big early moment came in 1962’s “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” for which his extremely charming performance won him a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. He won another Tony in 1990 for his one man show as Truman Capote as “Tru,” and an Emmy award for play Capote in a 1980 TV special.

To more contemporary audiences, Morse was better known as Bert Cooper, founder of ad agency Sterling Cooper, on “Mad Men.” He was nominated for Best Guest Actor in a Drama five times between 2008 and 2014 in that role which he made iconic and beloved before getting a big musical number upon his exit. (He should have won.)

But it was Morse’s J. Pierrepont Finch in “How to Succeed” that cemented his career all through the 1960s. First it was on Broadway and then in the movie in 1967, each time with Michele Lee, later the star of “Knots Landing,” as his Rosemary.

Here he is:

and here is as Bert Cooper:

I talked to Morse a lot over the years, first when he was on Broadway in “Tru,” and later with “Mad Men.” He was just delightful, incredibly fun and smart and insightful. He’s really going to be missed and never forgotten.
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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