David Bowditch Morse was born on October 11, 1953 in Beverly, Massachusetts. He is a Tony and Emmy Award nominee, best known for his television roles on St. Elsewhere, Hack, House, M.D., John Adams, Treme, and Outsiders, and film roles in Contact, The Green Mile, The Hurt Locker, and 12 Monkeys.
After graduating high school in 1971, Morse trained at the esteemed William Esper Studio. He began his stage career with the Boston Repertory Theater in the early 1970s, including a starring role in a musical adaptation of The Point! His first notable New York stage appearance was for the Circle Repertory Company in a 1981 production of Threads.
Following a short-lived Broadway debut as Father Barry in On the Waterfront at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in April and May of 1995, he earned great acclaim for his performance originating the role of Uncle Peck in Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama How I Learned to Drive opposite Mary-Louise Parker as Li’l Bit. Produced Off-Broadway by Vineyard Theatre, the play opened in May 1997. Morse would go on to win the Lucille Lortel, Obie, and Drama Desk Awards for his performance. Morse is scheduled to reprise his role as Uncle Peck in Manhattan Theatre Club’s Broadway premiere of How I Learned to Drive at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, again opposite Mary-Louise Parker.
He would later return to Broadway to star as James “Sharky” Harkin in Conor McPherson’s Broadway premiere of The Seafarer, which played the Booth Theatre from October 2007 through March 2008. He returned to the Off-Broadway stage and made his Roundabout Theatre Company debut in May 2013, starring as the titular character in The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin at the Laura Pels Theatre and earning a Drama Desk nomination for his efforts. In March 2018, he returned to the Broadway stage to star as Larry Slade opposite Denzel Washington in the revival of The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill. George C. Wolfe’s acclaimed production ran at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre through July 2018, and Morse earned his first Tony Award nomination (and another Drama Desk nomination) in the process.
On television, Morse shot to stardom after landing the role of Dr. Jack Morrison in St. Elsewhere on NBC. He starred in a total of 137 episodes from 1982 to 1988, making him a household name. His other notable TV appearances include Big Wave Dave’s on CBS (1993), 40 episodes of Hack on CBS (2002-04), an Emmy-nominated turn on Fox’s House, M.D. (2006-07), another Emmy-nominated performance as George Washington on the HBO hit John Adams (2008), 31 episodes of Treme on HBO (2010-13), and 26 episodes of Outsiders on WGN America (2016-17).
Morse has also enjoyed a successful film career, with notable credits in 12 Monkeys (1995), The Rock (1996), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), Contact (1997), The Negotiator (1998), The Green Mile (1999), Dancer in the Dark (2000), Disturbia (2007), The Hurt Locker (2009), World War Z (2013), and Concussion (2015).