New York City, New York USA
Profile Bio Text
After graduating from Washington Irving High School in New York, Morison studied at the Arts Students League while taking acting classes at the Neighborhood Playhouse. She also studied dance under Martha Graham. During this time she was employed as a dress shop designer at Russeks Department Store.
Morison made her stage debut at the Provincetown Playhouse in the musical revue Don`t Mind the Rain, in which she sang a song entitled "Simple Silly I." Her Broadway debut came in November 1933, with a short-lived play, Growing Pains. Following that, she proceeded to understudy Helen Hayes in her classic role of Victoria Regina. She also understudied all the other women in the cast. However, Hayes never missed a performance and, thus, Morison never had the opportunity to play her role.
In 1935, four years before her official film debut, Morison made her actual first appearance on film in an automobile propaganda short called Wreckless.
In 1938, Morison appeared in the musical The Two Bouquets, which ran for only 55 performances. Among the other cast members was Alfred Drake, who, years later, would co-star with Morison in Kiss Me, Kate.
While appearing in The Two Bouquets, Morison was noticed by talent scouts from Paramount Pictures, who — at the time — were looking for exotic, dark-haired glamorous types similar to Dorothy Lamour, one of their star commodities. Morison (who did indeed bear a slight resemblance to Lamour, notably in that they both had very long, dark hair) was subsequently signed to a contract with Paramount. She made her feature film debut in the "B" film Persons in Hiding (1939). Also in 1939, Paramount considered her for the role of Isobel in their adventure film Beau Geste, starring Gary Cooper and Ray Milland. However, she was replaced by Susan Hayward. The following year she appeared opposite Milland in the Technicolor romance Untamed, a re-make of the Clara Bow vehicle, Man Trap (1926).
Despite the promising beginnings, she was assigned to several second-tier pictures such as Rangers of Fortune (1940) and One Night in Lisbon (1941), both with Fred MacMurray, and The Roundup (1941) with Richard Dix and Preston Foster. On a loan-out to 20th Century-Fox she played one of her first villainess roles in Romance of the Rio Grande (1941), which starred Cesar Romero as the Cisco Kid.
Morison subsequently left Paramount after playing unrewarding roles in Night in New Orleans (1942) with Preston Foster, the Technicolor musical Beyond the Blue Horizon (1942) with the sarong-clad Dorothy Lamour, and Are Husbands Necessary? (1942), which re-teamed her with Ray Milland.
By 1942, the United States had become involved in World War II and, as a result, Morison became one of many celebrities who entertained American troops and their allies. In November of that year she joined Al Jolson, Merle Oberon, Allen Jenkins, and Frank McHugh on a USO Tour in Great Britain.
Morison returned to acting in the cinema as a freelance performer. As before, however, her roles were generally unimpressive. One of her better roles — albeit a small supporting one — was that of Empress Eugénie in The Song of Bernadette (1943) starring Jennifer Jones. She also appeared in The Fallen Sparrow (1943) with John Garfield and Maureen O`Hara, and Calling Dr. Death (1945), one of the "Inner Sanctum" films starring Lon Chaney, Jr.
In 1944, Morison briefly abandoned her film work and returned to the Broadway stage. In April of that year, she opened at the Adelphi Theatre in a musical comedy, Allah Be Praised! The play, however, was unsuccessful and closed after a very brief run on only 20 performances.
Returning to films once again, Morison still continued to be cast in supporting roles, all too often as a femme fatale or an unsympathetic "other woman." These included the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn vehicle Without Love (1945) and the Deanna Durbin comedy-mystery Lady on a Train (1945). She also played the villainess in the final installments of Universal`s Sherlock Holmes series and MGM`s Thin Man series — respectively, Dressed to Kill (1946), starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, and Song of the Thin Man (1947), starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. In addition to these, she appeared — again as a villainess — in Tarzan and the Huntress (1947), the penultimate film starring Johnny Weissmuller as Edgar Rice Burroughs` jungle hero.
Her few leading roles during this time were in "B" pictures, notably as Maid Marian to Jon Hall`s Robin Hood in the Cinecolor production The Prince of Thieves (1947) and with Richard Arlen in the sepiatoned western The Return of Wildfire (1948).
What may have been one of her best film roles was that of Victor Mature`s despairing, suicide-driven wife in Kiss of Death (1947). Unfortunately, the film`s producers cut her role from the final print, as they (reputedly) felt audiences of the time were not ready for such a shocking scene as someone taking their own life.
Full Name at Birth
Eileen Patricia Agusta Fraser Morison
Has Detailed Data (New)
Ursula Eileen Patricia Augusta Fraser Morison (March 19, 1915 – May 20, 2018) was an American stage, television and film actress of the Golden Age of Hollywood and mezzo-soprano singer. She made her feature film debut in 1939 after several years on the stage, and amongst her most renowned were The Fallen Sparrow, Dressed to Kill opposite Basil Rathbone and the screen adaptation of The Song of Bernadette. She was lauded as a beauty with large blue eyes and extremely long, dark hair. During this period of her career, she was often cast as the femme fatale or "other woman". It was only when she returned to the Broadway stage that she achieved her greatest success as the lead in the original production of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate and subsequently in The King and I.
Couple Profile Source
Claim to Fame
Romance of the Rio Grande
Place of Death
Los Angeles, California, United States
Brown - Light
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