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Chester Morris
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    (February 16, 1901-September 11, 1970)
    Born in New York City, New York
    Birth name was John Chester Brooks Morris
    Portrayed criminal-turned-detective Boston Blackie in 14 films (1941-49) and an NBC radio series (1944)
    Also appeared in the films ‘The Beloved Traitor’ (1918), ‘Loyal Lives’ (1923), ‘Alibi’ (1929), ‘The Divorcee’ (1930), ‘The Bat Whispers’ (1930), ‘The Big House’ (1930), ‘Red-Headed Woman’ (1932), ‘Public Hero No. 1’ (1935), ‘Three Godfathers’ (1936), ‘Frankie and Johnny’ (1936), ‘Smashing the Rackets’ (1938), ‘Five Came Back’ (1939), ‘The Marines Fly High’ (1940), ‘Wrecking Crew (1942), ‘Double Exposure’ (1944), ‘Unchained’ (1955), ‘The She-Creature’ (1956) and ‘The Great White Hope’ (1970)
    Appeared on Broadway in ‘The Copperhead’ (1918), ‘Thunder’ (1919), ‘The Mountain Man’ (1921-22), ‘Advise and Consent’ (1960-61) and ‘The Subject Was Roses’ (1964-66)
    Died of an overdose of barbiturates
    Coroner unable to determine if the overdose was an accident or suicide
    He dropped out of school at 15 to join the family vaudeville act.
    He was an amateur magician who ticked off plenty of professionals when he wrote an article in ‘Popular Mechanics’ revealing the secrets behind several tricks (1947).
    He said about starring in the ‘Boston Blackie’ films, ‘After that, a producer wouldn’t put me in an ‘A’ movie even if I paid for the privilege. The only thing I could do was get out and go back to the theater.’
    He was personally managed by George M. Cohan during his 1920s stage career.
    He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Oscar for his first talking film, ‘Alibi.’
    He performed magic tricks at over 350 USO shows during World War II.

Credit: C. Fishel

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