US comedy pioneer dies

Howie Morris was 85

Howie Morris, one of the early comics of American TV, has died at the age of 85.

Morris appeared on the trailblazing Fifties variety programme Your Show Of Shows alongside Sid Caesar and Carl Reiner, before turning his talents to cartoon voiceovers for supporting characters in the likes of The Jetson, The Flinstones and the animated version of Sabrina The Teenage Witch.

He directed the pilot episode of Get Smart, the spy comedy created by his friend Mel Brooks, played Jerry Lewis' father in the 1963 comedt The Nutty Professor 1963 and appeared in Brooks’ Hitchcock spoof High Anxiety.

But older American TV audiences probably remember him best as the hillbilly Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show, pictured.

He served in the entertainment corps of the US Army during the Second World War, enjoying a brief stint as a Shakespearean actor after the conflict ended, before  joining a New York comedy sketch group that included Reiner.

Morris, who was married and divorced five times, died of natural causes in his Hollywood home on Sunday.


Published: 24 May 2005

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