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Anita Morris

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Basic Information

Anita Morris

Date of Birth: 14 March 1943
Place of Birth: Durham, North Carolina, USA
Birth Name: Anita Rose Morris
Height: 5' 6" (1.68 m)


Anita Rose Morris (March 14, 1943 – March 2, 1994) was an American actress.


Among many roles, Morris's most prominent film role was as Carol Dodsworth, the mistress to Danny DeVito, in Ruthless People and for her sensual performance as Carla in the musical Nine opposite Raul Julia. While nominated for a Best Featured Actress Tony Award as Carla, she lost to Liliane Montevecchi, also in Nine. 21 years later, Jane Krakowski won the Tony in the same category as Morris, playing Carla in a revival with Antonio Banderas.

Her signature number in Nine was "A Call From the Vatican," and she also sang "Simple," late in act two. She was scheduled to perform the former at the Tony Awards in 1982, but the TV censors found her outfit too revealing. Her stage work began in the American Mime Theatre, and carried her to Broadway both for Nine, Jesus Christ Superstar, "See Saw," "Magic Show," (cast album & video/DVD) "Sugar Babies" (replacement for the "Soubrette" originated by Ann Jillian) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Morris portrayed the lover of Rob Lowe in 1984's The Hotel New Hampshire. Other film work included Bloodhounds of Broadway with Madonna, Randy Quaid, and Matt Dillon, Ruthless People with Danny DeVito and Bette Midler, 18 Again! with George Burns and Charlie Schlatter and Radioland Murders, which was her final film role.

During the 1980s and early 1990s she played guest roles in sitcoms and dramas, including Miami Vice, Who's the Boss?, Murder, She Wrote, and Cheers in the 80's and Melrose Place, Matlock, Tales From the Crypt, and A Different World in the 1990s. In 1984, Morris appeared in The Rolling Stones' video "She Was Hot."

Personal life

She was the mother of actor James Badge Dale and was married from 1973 to actor Grover Dale. She died in Los Angeles, aged 50, after a long struggle with ovarian cancer, which was first diagnosed in 1980.


  • Morris began her career in the American Mime Theatre where her face was frequently hidden behind masks, limiting her to expression through her body.
  • She was known for her red hair, full lips and hour glass figure.
  • She was an experienced stage peformer, appearing on Broadway in the musicals, "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and she won a Tony nomination for "Nine". She was scheduled to perform a musical number from "Nine" for the Tony Awards broadcast in 1982 but her stage outfit was so revealing that censors refused to let her perform. *
  • Diagnosed and waging a private battle with ovarian cancer as early as 1980, she lasted nearly 15 years after being told she only had five years at the most.
  • Made her Broadway debut in "Jesus Christ Superstar" in which she created a major stir by scaling a fifty foot high set.
  • She was nominated for the Tony award as the sultry, scene-stealing mistress in "Nine" in 1982, but lost to her costar, Liliane Montevecchi. Jane Krakowski won a Tony for recreating Morris's sizzling role in the 2003 revival.
  • A longtime friend of choreographer and fellow hoofer Tommy Tune, who used her in many of his projects including "Seesaw," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" and the award-winning "Nine".
  • Married stage director and choreographer Grover Dale. She was his personal assistant for the musical "Seesaw".
  • Measurements: 38C-23-36 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
  • Mother of James Badge Dale.
  • Featured in The Rolling Stones '80s music video for the song "She Was Hot.".