Celebrity is a funny thing. When you meet people who fall in the category, they're usually either just like you thought they'd be, or nothing like what you thought they'd be. Phil Morris..well, he was both. Let me explain.
As an actor, Phil is versatile. He can do dramatic things like Law & Order and CSI, but still show great comedic timing for a Seinfeld or Wanda at Large. He's quick to flex his geek muscles for stuff like Star Trek: Voyager and of course, Smallville. Plus, he's one hell of a voice actor on cartoons like The Secret Saturdays, Legion of Super Heroes and The PJs!
So, when I met him on the floor of Dragon Con, our hometown convention, I didn't know what to expect. What I got in those ten minutes we chatted though, was a little of everything mentioned above. He was warm, approachable, funny, genuine—and a real fan too! Naturally, I asked him about coming on SiDEBAR, he said "absolutely, I'd love to", and told me how to get in touch with his agent. I was on the phone with said agent two days later and here we are.
Our conversation with Morris covered much about his career, including noted roles as attorney Jackie Chiles on Seinfeld and J'onn J'onzz a.k.a. the Martian Manhunter on Smallville (that's the correct spelling of J'onn's name, by the way). We also talked about his voice acting work, his enormous comic collection (100,000 of 'em—who knew?) and some family stuff. Phil's sister Iona Morris is a terrific actor and so was his dad, the late Greg Morris. Greg set the bar way high on the original Mission Impossible TV show and was one of the first black male leads on prime time.
Going back to Phil's versatility, he's also writing a book about African-American images in the Action/Adventure genres entitled BAW-BAM! (Black Action Woman-Black Action Man). And he'll be appearing on-line in a hilarious new web series starring the Sklar Brothers called Back on Topps. Go here to laugh your butt off at the pilot!
**For this episode, we played a snippet of Sly & The Family Stone's "Family Affair"—'cause it is!
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