United Press International November 30, 1983, Wednesday, BC cycle
Copyright 1983 U.P.I.
November 30, 1983, Wednesday, BC cycle
LENGTH: 525 words
TV World; Elsewhere's David Morse: acting was the ticket
BYLINE: By JULIANNE HASTINGS, UPI TV Reporter
DATELINE: NEW YORK
Acting was St. Elsewhere star David Morse's ticket out of his small New
England town. He might still be there, stacking newspapers for $3 an hour.
The boy-faced, gangly actor who plays Dr. Jack Morrison on the NBC series said he got caught up in acting because there really wasn't any alternative. ''Working in a newspaper pressroom, stacking newspapers for $3 an hour. That
was my big skill,'' he said. ''I had no intention of going to college.''
And so when a friend who was a founding member of the Boston Repertory Theater suggested he join up, Morse was glad to oblige -- about the only
thing he had liked about high school was acting in school plays.
''It was the only hope I had of getting to Boston or New York or Los
Angeles,'' Morse said.
Now he has homes in two of those cities, bi-coastal they call it. He lives in Los Angeles and his wife, actress Susan von Moschzisker, is living in New
York until she completes her studies in January.
Morse was in New York to spend Thanksgiving with his wife and he took the opportunity to plug his upcoming CBS movie, Prototype, in which he plays a humanoid developed by a Nobel prize-winning scientist (Christopher
The 6-foot-4 actor is very convincing as the sort of modern-day
Frankenstein's monster, who was created under a grant from the Pentagon.
Morse said that to prepare for the part he went to shopping malls and
watched children react to their environment.
Like the Frankenstein monster, the prototype Michael confronts life outside the research laboratory and begins to become aware of emotion. Morse said he was intrigued more by the emotional portrayal demanded for the part than the physical aspect, although he handles the latter with skill.
''It's a computer but it learns it has emotions,'' Morse said.
He said he read the script for Prototype and told his agent he wanted the part of Michael. ''They didn't want me for it,'' Morse said, referring
to CBS. ''They wanted a bigger name.''
His agent persisted.
Morse's chief experience has been in theater. He acted with the Boston company for six years before he moved to New York and joined the Circle
Repertory Company, appearing in a number of off-Broadway productions.
His big break came when he played a basketball player in the feature film Inside Moves.
''I'm not much in sports and ironically my first break came when I was playing an athlete,'' Morse said. ''I still have nightmares about playing
Morse does not have nightmares about being a doctor, although to prepare for St. Elsewhere he spent time in emergency rooms and intensive care units watching doctors involved in life-and-death situations, watching families
react to losing children.
''I appreciate how hard it is for doctors who watch people come in, one after another,'' he said. ''I can see how they have to harden themselves.
It's a natural reaction.''
In the future, Morse hopes to produce John Steinbecks Of Mice and Men
and play the part of Lennie on stage Los Angeles.
He also hopes to see St. Elsewhere go on.
''It's nice being employed for the next 15 weeks,'' he said.