Chester Morris

Show Count: 22
Series Count: 2
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Old Time Radio
Born: February 16, 1901, New York City, New York, U.S
Died: September 11, 1970, New Hope, Pennsylvania, U.S

Chester Morris (February 16, 1901 – September 11, 1970) was an American actor, who starred in the Boston Blackie detective series of the 1940s.


He was born John Chester Brooks Morris in New York City, the son of Broadway stage actor William Morris and the performer Etta Hawkins. He made his Broadway debut at 17 in Lionel Barrymore's The Copperhead. At 17, he billed himself as "the youngest leading man in the country". His film career began in 1917 in An Amateur Orphan. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Alibi (1929) directed by Roland West. He also starred in The Bat Whispers (1930) and Corsair (1931), both directed by West.

He starred in the early prison film The Big House (1930). His career gradually declined in the late 1930s, with roles in B-movies such as Smashing the Rackets with Edward J. Pawley (1938) and Five Came Back (1939). His career revived when from 1941 to 1949 he played the character Boston Blackie in 14 low-budget movies produced by Columbia Pictures, starting with Meet Boston Blackie, and one season of radio shows.

Morris was also well known as a stage magic enthusiast. He often performed as a magician during the personal appearance tours in theaters promoting his latest films. Unlike many stars who simply greeted audiences with a few words before the screening of their film, Morris was comfortable on stage and presented an entire vaudeville magic act, featuring live animals and larger stage feats such as nearly severing an audience volunteer's head in a prop guillotine. During World War II he performed hundreds of free magic shows for the U.S.O. at army and navy camps, war bond drives and hospitals. In 1944, a B-24 "Liberator" airplane was christened "The Chester and Lili Morris" in honor of him and his wife, and their contributions to the United States war effort. Morris also contributed original tricks to magician's journals and often incorporated magic into his film performances, including "Boston Blackie and The Law" (1946.)

Through the 1950s and 1960s, Morris worked mainly in television, with a recurring role as detective Lieutenant Max Ritter in the CBS summer replacement series, Diagnosis: Unknown, which aired from July to September 1960. He also made occasional forays into regional theatre, and a few films, notably a role in the science-fiction film The She Creature, where he played Dr. Carlo Lombardi. It was reported in Variety that Morris's Brylcreem expenses exceeded any other item in the film's budget. After his last Boston Blackie movie, he performed in only three more films, including his final role in The Great White Hope (1970) which was released after his death.

Personal life 

Morris was married to Suzanne Kilborn from September 30, 1927 to their divorce in November 1939. They had two children, Brooks and Cynthia. He married Lillian Kenton Barker on November 30, 1940. They had a son, Kenton.

Morris was dying of cancer when he committed suicide in room 202 at the former Holiday Inn of New Hope by taking an overdose of barbiturates in 1970. At the time of his death, he was appearing in a stage production of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Source: Wikipedia

Boston BlackieBoston Blackie
Show Count: 199
Broadcast History: 23 June 1944 to 15 September 1944 and 11 April 1945 to 25 October 1950
Sponsor: Rinso
Cast: Chester Morris, Richard Kollmar, Dick Kollmar, Richard Lane, Lesley Woods, Maurice Tarplin, Jan Miner
Broadcast: 20th May 1945
Added: Jan 14 2010
Broadcast: 17th April 1944
Added: Jan 28 2006
Broadcast: 28th June 1943
Added: Jul 04 2006
Broadcast: 20th March 1944
Added: Mar 24 2012
Broadcast: 17th February 1947
Starring: Chester Morris
Added: Feb 17 2007
Broadcast: 9th April 1939
Added: Apr 29 2012
Broadcast: 8th March 1943
Added: Aug 20 2013
Broadcast: 28th November 1946
Starring: Chester Morris
Added: Nov 25 2007