Tu Simone Ayer Morrow. Career Actor on television, including: Director of television episodes, including: Assistant to the director for the Los Angeles production of Dreamgirls, Sidelights Rob Morrow has struggled for much of his career to break free of typecasting as the quintessential "nice Jewish boy," a role best exemplified by his highly successful stint as Dr.
After a number of other career detours, including portrayals of an ex-con and a Tourette's syndrome sufferer, Morrow scored another hit show with Numb3rs in In it, he plays a clever criminal detective whose toughest cases are solved with the help of his even brainier younger brother, a math genius. The hourlong crime drama presented a welcome change of pace for the veteran actor.
I love the action scenes. His father was an industrial lighting manufacturer, and his mother worked as a dental hygienist. They divorced when he was nine, and the situation troubled him over the next few years. Morrow settled on his future career almost by accident. Coming out of a movie theater after seeing the s-set musical Grease, the box-office hit of the summer of , Morrow casually remarked to his friend, "'You know, I'm going to be an actor,' as if I had been planning it all my life," he recalled in the Philadelphia Inquirer interview with Hiltbrand.
He said, 'I didn't know that. Over the next few years, Morrow subjected himself to countless auditions while struggling to make ends meet in New York City by waiting tables and working odd jobs. He landed a steadier behind-the-scenes position as an assistant for the Los Angeles production of Dreamgirls, the hit Broadway musical, and made a somewhat auspicious film debut in a teen comedy, Private Resort, in which he co-starred alongside a then-unknown Johnny Depp.
The stage work helped him land his first regular television role in Tattingers, an NBC sitcom set in a Manhattan restaurant. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled after its brief run. Morrow's big break came, somewhat characteristically, almost by accident. The show debuted in July of , and began to draw impressive ratings over the next few weeks. The network immediately ordered more episodes, and Morrow suddenly found himself a household name thanks to his portrayal of Dr.
Joel Fleischman, a recent medical school graduate who moves to a remote town in Alaska. The character is a lifelong New Yorker who made it through medical school with the help of a scholarship from the state of Alaska, and in return must spend the first four years of his career in the doctor-scarce state.
Thinking he will be sent to one of Alaska's cities, Morrow's Fleischman is instead assigned to Cicely, population , and shown his living quarters, a log cabin. In the pilot episode, the hour-long comedy displayed the quirky humor that would make it a favorite of viewers and critics alike, including the scene when Maurice Barry Corbin , the former astronaut who owns most of town, tells Fleischman that he and the rest of Cicely are "delighted to have a Jew doctor from New York—you guys have an outstanding reputation.
Over the next few seasons, Fleischman endured an off-again, on-again romance with Maggie, a bush pilot played by Janine Turner, and took and gave counsel to Cicely's radio DJ, Chris Stevens, played by future Sex … the City heartthrob John Corbett. The show scored several Emmy Award nominations, including one for Morrow as best lead actor in , and opened up new career directions for him.
Producer Robert Redford liked his Northern Exposure performance so much that he cast him in Quiz Show, a movie based on an actual television game-show scandal back in the s. In Quiz Show, Morrow played Richard Goodwin, the congressional investigator probing the behind-the-scenes story of Twenty-One, a popular quiz show rumored to be a sham. The double-dealing involved Charles Van Doren Ralph Fiennes , whose father was a well-known American poet, and the actual whistleblower was another contestant on the show, Herbert Stempel John Turturro.
Goodwin, and since Mr. Redford's own acting career has helped make the heroics of the lone investigator look so familiar. But the performance is vigorous, and when the film sets Goodwin between Stempel and Van Doren, it touches currents of anti-Semitism, self-deception and golden-boy quicksand that once again lift it out of the ordinary.
The series ended in , and Morrow began to take on more film roles over the next few years. He landed the lead in Last Dance, a drama from acclaimed director Bruce Beresford, about a rascally lawyer who attempts to save a death-row inmate played by Sharon Stone.
Plagued by comparisons to Dead Man Walking, an Oscar-nominated film of the previous year, Last Dance failed to do well at the box office or with critics. Determined to bring his own projects to the screen, Morrow teamed with several other Naked Angel friends to make Maze, a film that also marked his feature-length directorial debut.
He also took the title role as Lyle Maze, a sculptor afflicted with Tourette's syndrome, the neurological disease that causes its sufferers to twitch, make odd noises or grunts, and sometimes even swear uncontrollably. Laura Linney, who also had Naked Angel ties, played the woman whose love the two men vie for. The tormented Lyle believes he can never achieve a real relationship because of his disorder, and he based the character, as he told Denver Post journalist Diane Eicher, on a Canadian artist he had seen in a documentary film about Tourette's sufferers.
Morrow places an almost ridiculous number of obstacles in his path—the difficulty of directing and starring in a picture being the biggest—he comes through with a notable performance, deftly using the attention-getting device of an affliction that leaves him twitching and explosive.
And now that the stakes are higher, I can take care of myself. There was also a two-season series for the Show-time cable channel, Street Time, in which Morrow played a man recently released from prison who is struggling to return to a normal life. The series had a rather impressive pedigree for television: Newsweek writer Devin Gordon called the show "a gripping hour of TV, with unexpected shades of character, crisp acting and enough gee-wizardry to excite anyone with even a quark of scientific curiosity.
Married since to Debbon Ayer, an actress, he was instrumental in the decision to carry on the pun of his wife's name when it came time to label their newborn daughter, settling upon Tu Simone Ayer Morrow. Becoming a parent changed his life, the once-troubled teen told Lipton in People. And I know that it doesn't matter even if, you know, I have to go work at Burger King. It's someone that you put your life on the line for.
Periodicals Back Stage, November 9, , p. Daily Variety, June 21, , p. Denver Post, April 2, , p. Entertainment Weekly, April 14, , p. New Republic, May 20, , p. Newsweek, January 24, , p. People, July 8, , p. Philadelphia Inquirer, February 16, Time, May 20, , p. Variety, January 17, , p.