He was born John Chester Brooks Morris in New York City, the son of Broadway stage actor William Morris and the performer Etta Hawkins. He made his Broadway debut at 17 in Lionel Barrymore's The Copperhead. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for Alibi (1929) directed by Roland West. He starred in the early prison film The Big House (1930). His career gradually declined in the late 1930s, with roles in B-movies such as Smashing the Rackets with Edward J. Pawley (1938) and Five Came Back (1939). His career revived when from 1941 to 1949 he played the character Boston Blackie in 14 low-budget movies produced by Columbia Pictures, starting with Meet Boston Blackie
Boston Blackie Films
Other Feature Films
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