Anita Morris

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Anita Morris
Anita Morris.jpg Anita Morris.jpg
As Claudette Katzenback in Radioland Murders (1994)
BornAnita Rose Morris
(1943-03-14)March 14, 1943
Durham, North Carolina, US
💀DiedMarch 2, 1994(1994-03-02) (aged 50)
Los Angeles, California, USMarch 2, 1994(1994-03-02) (aged 50)
Resting placeMaplewood Cemetery, Durham, North Carolina
💼 Occupation
Actress, singer, dancer
📆 Years active  1971–1994
👩 Spouse(s)
Grover Dale (m. 1973)
👶 ChildrenJames Badge Dale

Anita Rose Morris (March 14, 1943 – March 2, 1994) was an American actress, singer and dancer. She began her career performing in Broadway musicals, including Jesus Christ Superstar, Seesaw and Nine, for which she received a Tony Award nomination.[1]

During her career, Morris had starring roles in a number of films, include The Hotel New Hampshire (1984), Absolute Beginners (1986), Ruthless People (1986), Aria (1987), 18 Again! (1988), Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989) and A Sinful Life (1989). She had leading roles in two short-lived television series in 1980s: the NBC prime time soap opera Berrenger's (1985), and the Fox sitcom Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1987).


Morris' most prominent film role was as Carol Dodsworth, the mistress to Danny DeVito, in Ruthless People; her most prominent stage role was her sensual performance as Carla in the musical Nine opposite Raul Julia. While nominated for a Best Featured Actress Tony Award as Carla, she lost to Liliane Montevecchi, also in Nine. In 1978, .21 years later, Jane Krakowski won the Tony Award in the same category as Morris, playing Carla in a revival with Antonio Banderas. Her signature number in Nine was "A Call from the Vatican", and she also sang "Simple", late in act two. She was scheduled to perform the former at the Tony Awards in 1982, but the television censors found her outfit too revealing. Her stage work began in the American Mime Theatre, and carried her to Broadway both for Nine, Jesus Christ Superstar, Seesaw, The Magic Show (cast album and video/DVD), Sugar Babies (replacement for the "Soubrette" originated by Ann Jillian) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.[2]

Morris portrayed Rob Lowe's lover Rhonda Ray in The Hotel New Hampshire (1984). Other film work included The Happy Hooker (1975), Maria's Lovers (1984), Absolute Beginners (1986) with David Bowie, Blue City (1986) with Judd Nelson, Ruthless People (1986) with Danny DeVito and Bette Midler, 18 Again! (1988) with George Burns, Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989) with Madonna and Matt Dillon, A Sinful Life (1989), Martians Go Home (1989) with Randy Quaid, Off and Running (1991) with Cyndi Lauper, Little Miss Millions (1993) with Jennifer Love Hewitt, Me and the Kid (1993), and Radioland Murders (1994), which was her final film role.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, she played guest roles in sitcoms and dramas, including Miami Vice, Who's the Boss?, Murder, She Wrote, Cheers, Melrose Place, Matlock, Tales from the Crypt, Murphy Brown and A Different World. In 1984, Morris was featured in The Rolling Stones' music video "She Was Hot".

Life and death[edit]

Morris was born in Durham, North Carolina, to Eloise (née Chappell), who was involved in theatrical production, and James Badgett Morris, a doctor.[3][4][5] She was married to Grover Dale in 1973 and had a son, James Badge Dale, in 1978, who developed an acting career beginning in 1990. She developed ovarian cancer in 1980, and was given only five years to live. She lived for another 14 years before she died on March 2, 1994, and was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham, North Carolina.


Year Title Role Notes
1972 The Broad Coalition Sheila Saunders Feature film
1974–79 Unique New York Alexis Fairchild Television series
1975 The Happy Hooker May Smith Feature film
1978–79 The Letter People Alexis Fairchild Television series
1980 Big Blonde Bootsie Television film
1981 So Fine So Fine Dancer Feature film
1983 The Magic Show Charmin Feature film
1984 The Hotel New Hampshire Ronda Ray Feature film
1984 Maria's Lovers Mrs. Wynic Feature film
1985 Berrenger's Babs Berrenger Television series • Season 1 (all 12 episodes)
1986 A Masterpiece of Murder Lola Crane Television film
1986 Absolute Beginners Dido Lament
1986 Blue City Malvina Kerch-Turner Feature film
1986 Ruthless People Carol Feature film
1986 A Smoky Mountain Christmas Jezebel Television film
1987 Down and Out in Beverly Hills Barbara Whiteman Television series • Season 1 (all 13 episodes)
1987 Cheers Madeline Keith Television series • Season 5, Episode 19: "Dog Bites Cliff"
1987 Aria Phoebe Feature film (segment: "Rigoletto")
1987 Miami Vice Leona Proverb Television series • Season 4, Episode 2: "Amen... Send Money"
1988 18 Again! Madeline Feature film
1989 Murder, She Wrote Leona Schubert Television series • Season 5, Episode 11: "The Search for Peter Kerry"
1989 Who's the Boss? Betty Television series • Season 5, Episode 13: "Cardinal Sin"
1989 Bloodhounds of Broadway Miss Missouri Martin Feature film
1989 A Sinful Life Claire Vin Blance Feature film
1989 Martians Go Home Dr. Jane Buchanan Feature film
1989 Matlock Catherine McKay Television series • Season 4, Episode 7: "The Star"
1990 Good Grief Zumaya Television series • Season 1, Episode 5: "Mooses, Masons and the Secret Life of Trees"
1990 WIOU Frances Frazier Television series • Season 1, Episode 5: "One Point, No Light"
1991 Tales from the Crypt Fuchsia Monroe Television series • Season 3, Episode 13: "Spoiled"
1991 Off and Running Florence Feature film
1991 Pros and Cons Marge Television series • Season 1, Episode 7: "Murder Most Perfect"
1992 Eerie, Indiana Eunice Danforth / Marshall Teller Television series • Season 1, Episode 15: "No Brain, No Pain"
1992 Melrose Place Stella Rivers Television series • Season 1, Episode 10: "Burned"
1992 Matlock Elaine Genrich Television series • Season 7, Episodes 3 & 4: "The Legacy" (2 parts)
1992 A Different World Joni Brooks Television series • Season 6, Episode 13: "White Christmas"
1993 Trade Winds Contessa Laetitia Philips Gabetti Miniseries (all 3 episodes)
1993 Major Dad Connie Television series • Season 4, Episode 16: "Colonel and Truth"
1993 Little Miss Millions Sybil Lofton Feature film
1993 Me and the Kid Mrs. Feldman Feature film
1994 Radioland Murders Claudette Katsenback Feature film (posthumous release), (final film role)


  1. Staff, Legacy (2 March 2014). "Anita Morris: Femme Fatal". Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  2. League, The Broadway. "Anita Morris – Broadway Cast & Staff - IBDB". Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  3. Collins, Glenn (1994-03-04). "Anita Morris, 50, Actress in Theater And Movies, Dies". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  4. "Obituaries, April 12, 2014 | Eloise Morris". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved 2016-03-29. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. "James Badge Dale". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2016-03-29. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

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