Hometown: Harlem, New York
Birthday: October 18
Emmy Award and multiple NAACP Image Award-winning film, television and stage veteran Joe Morton is perhaps best known for his role as Rowan Pope in the television series “Scandal.” Morton’s television credits include a recurring role as lawyer Daniel Golden on “The Good Wife,” on the Network; five seasons as scientist Henry Deacon in the Emmy-nominated series “Eureka”; “The Cosby Show” spinoff “A Different World”; the Kyra Sedgwick-produced “Proof”; and “Grace & Frankie.” In 2016 he portrayed the role of Roy Wilkins alongside Bryan Cranston in the Emmy-nominated biopic “All the Way,” adapted from the Tony Award-winning Robert Schenkkan play.
In 2016 Morton appeared in the feature film “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” as Silas Stone, and he reprised the role in November 2017 in “Justice League.” His additional feature film credits include playing the title character in John Sayles’ “The Brother from Another Planet” and roles in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” “American Gangster,” “What Lies Beneath,” “Blues Brothers 2000” and “The Astronaut’s Wife.”
Recently, Morton starred as the titular role alongside Tom Hanks in Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles’ production of “Henry IV.” Staged by Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan, the critically raved show featured Morton as Henry IV and Hanks as Sir John Falstaff. In spring 2016, Morton portrayed the groundbreaking comedian Dick Gregory in the one-man show “Turn Me Loose,” executive produced by Grammy Award winner John Legend. Morton was honored with the NAACP Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award and was awarded the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play. Also, he was nominated for the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance. In October 2017, he brought “Turn Me Loose” to Los Angeles at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
Born in Harlem, Morton was raised in a military family and spent parts of his childhood in West Germany and Okinawa, Japan, before finishing school in New York. After attending Hofstra University, Morton debuted on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning musical “Hair,” followed by his starring role in “Raisin,” the Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” which earned him a Tony nomination and Theatre World Award for his portrayal as the embittered Walter Lee Younger. In addition, he appeared in David Hare’s “Stuff Happens” at the National Theatre in London as Colin Powell and played Serge in “Art” on Broadway (and in London’s West End) with Judd Hirsch and George Wendt.
Morton is a huge proponent of diversity in Hollywood and uses his platform to express the need for more contemporary non-white roles in television and film. Morton devotes his rare free time to writing, playing his guitar and recording music. Music has been a huge part of his life, and his talent has led him to write and score a multitude of songs for various film and TV projects.
Morton’s birthday is Oct. 18. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @JOEtheMORTON.