Morris W. Morris
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Morris W. Morris as Mephistopheles in Faust
Born: 1845 Jamaica
Died: August 20, 1906 Long Island, New York
Occupation: Stage Actor
Morris W. Morris, known as Lewis Morrison onstage, born on September 4, 1845, Jamaica, West Indies, died on 20 August 1906, New York, was a stage actor best known for his longtime performance in the role of ''Mephistopheles'' in ''Faust''. Morris was of English and Spanish ancestry.
Morris served in the United States army, as a Lieutenant in the Louisiana Native Guards, during the Civil War. The Guard, based in New Orleans, had officers comprised of free blacks in New Orleans and the surrounding area. During the beginning of the Civil War, the Louisiana Guard promptly switched allegiances to the Union, and its officers became the first black officers in the Union army.
He was married to English born actress Rose Wood, and by her was the father of actress Adrienne Morrison; and the grandfather of actresses Barbara Bennett, Joan Bennett and Constance Bennett, and the great-grandfather of Morton Downey, Jr..
After the Civil War, he became a stage actor first performing in New Orleans beginning in minor roles with Edwin Booth (Brother of John Wilkes Booth) and Charlotte Cushman until he was featured in larger parts. He became a well known actor in New Orleans and moved on to the New York stage where he gained greater fame in ''Faust''. He eventually founded his own traveling theater troupe and traveled the world playing the role of ''Mephistopheles'' in ''Faust''. His theater posters have been preserved by the American Archives and can be accessed on line.
He was the grandfather of Hollywood film actresses Joan Bennett and Constance Bennett. He was the great-grandfather of Television talk show host, Morton Downey, Jr., and of renowned plaintiffs' labor attorney, Philip A. Downey. He is buried in a mausoleum in Nepperhan Heights, New York.