Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy Birthday Phil Morris!

Phil Morris is the son of legendary Mission: Impossible actor Greg Morris. His birthday is April 4, 1959. He made his professional debut as an actor on the Star Trek episode "Miri" in 1966. His father was working on the same Desilu lot, starring in M:I as electronics genius Barney Collier. In 1984 Phil had a minor role in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; he says he likes to think that he is playing the same character, now all grown up and in Starfleet.

Five years later Phil was cast as the son of Barney in The New Mission: Impossible. This is the only time a child of a former member of the M:I cast appeared in the series. Phil played Grant Collier, a technological wizard just like his father. When I heard he had been cast I figured it was a form of "stunt casting" in order to create some PR buzz for the new show. I'm sure there was some of that, but it became clear pretty quickly that Phil Morris could hold his own as an actor. Alongside Peter Graves, who returned as leader Jim Phelps, Morris co-starred with Thaao Penglis (an Australian actor of some talent), Tony Hamilton, and Jane Badler (who I eventually recognized as the villain from the original V series). In the second season of the series he co-starred with his father in a two-part episode that featured their emotional reunion.
The 1988 cast of The New Mission: Impossible

The New Mission: Impossible only lasted two years. After that Morris landed the role of Jackie Chiles, the shyster lawyer on Seinfeld. This was a recurring supporting character in the Seinfeld Universe. His last appearance was in the series' last episode, where the four main characters are famously sued for "doing nothing."

Phil Morris has also done extensive voice acting. Most famously he was the voice of Dr. Sweet in Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He has also done Legion and Green Lantern work.

Morris' next big pop culture role was as The Martian Manhunter on Smallville. He appeared in several episodes as Clark Kent's mentor and protector. Morris brought a certain amount of gravity to the role, and was always enjoyable to watch.

Happy Birthday, Phil Morris! 
Many Happy Returns!

Jane Badler replaced Terry Markwell in 1989. 

as "Jackie Chiles" in Seinfeld

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