Morris, Wayne


Morris, Wayne
(1914–1959)
   In STANLEY KUBRICK’s PATHS OF GLORY (1957), actor Wayne Morris portrays perhaps the most pathetic character in the film: the alcoholic, incompetent, cowardly Lieutenant Roget. During a nighttime reconnaissance mission into no man’s land with two of his subordinates, Roget’s bad judgment and cowardice result in his accidentally killing one of the men, Lejeune (Ken Dibbs). The other soldier, Corporal Paris (RALPH MEEKER) confronts Roget, who in response threatens to trump up charges against Paris. Later, when asked to select one of his men to be executed, as one of three scapegoats for the entire company’s “cowardice under fire,” Roget chooses Paris. Before his court-martial, Paris relates Roget’s actions to Colonel Dax (KIRK DOUGLAS), who later appoints Roget as the officer in charge of the execution, as a poetically just punishment for Roget’s cowardice. A native of Los Angeles, Wayne Morris won a scholarship to the Pasadena Playhouse, where he was discovered by WARNER BROS. The studio put him under a 15-year contract, during which time he starred in a spate of now largely forgotten films, including Brother Rat (1938), Submarine D-1 (1937), Valley of the Giants (1938), Bad Men of Missouri (1941), Deep Valley (1947), and Task Force (1949). It was a picture called Kid Galahad (1937), in which he played the title role of a rising young prizefighter, that elevated Morris into instant stardom and great popularity (as evidenced by the innumerable fanmagazine articles devoted to him in the 1940s and ’50s).
   Between film commitments in the 1950s, Morris appeared onstage, starring in the touring companies of The Tender Trap and Mister Roberts. He made his Broadway debut in the William Saroyan comedy, The Cave Dwellers (1957). Morris had also appeared in the 1948 film version of Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life. His final film, Buffalo Gun, was released posthumously in 1961.
   References
   ■ “Wayne Morris,” Internet Movie Database, www.imdb.com;
   ■ “Wayne Morris:The Duke,” Playbill (The Cave Dwellers) October 19, 1957;
   ■ “Wayne Morris” (obituary), Variety, September 16, 1959.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

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