Also Credited As:Matt Morrison, Matthew James Morrison
|Matthew James Morrison on October 30, 1978 in Fort Ord, California, USA|
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He was born Matthew James Morrison Oct. 30, 1978, at Fort Ord, a U.S. Army base near Monterrey, CA. With both parents serving as military nurses, the family moved frequently per their assignments, eventually settling in Southern California's Orange County when he was around 10 years old. On summer vacation of that year, he went to visit relatives in Arizona, where he and a cousin participated in a youth theater production called "The Herdmans Go to Camp." When he returned home, he informed his parents that he wanted to continue in the performing arts as a serious career endeavor. He participated in more youth theater closer to home, performing with older kids who attended the selective Orange County High School of the Arts. Once Morrison came of age, he was accepted into the school and became a standout in his junior and senior productions.
Upon graduation, he was accepted into an even more prestigious performing arts school, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. But after two years in attendance, he won a part in the musical "Footloose" and left school to work on the Broadway run of the show, as well as in its touring production. His career took a curious turn when he joined the tour of a prefab boy band called LMNT, hitting the road for a year - an experience that soured him to that aspect of performing. Even so, it was a gig that dovetailed with his first feature film, a bit part as a boy band member in "Marci X" (2003), the ill-conceived tale of a daffy rich woman who inherits a hip urban record label. Meanwhile, Morrison established a professional relationship with that film's choreographer, theatrical producer-choreographer Jerry Mitchell, who would cast him in his revival of the stage version of the "The Rocky Horror Show."
The connection would pay off when Mitchell tapped Morrison to be teen heartthrob Link Larkin in the 2002 musical adaptation of John Waters' 1960s rock & roll-themed feature comedy "Hairspray" (1988), a prominent enough supporting role to garner critical attention. His stage work in this show proved a launch pad for his first featured television role in the ABC production of the musical comedy classic, "Once Upon a Mattress." In it, Morrison played opposite Zo y Deschanel as one-half of the starry-eyed fairy tale couple, with Carol Burnett returning to the play she had starred in during its original 1960 Broadway run. Also in 2005, Morrison went for a less whimsical project with the play "The Light in the Piazza," in which he played a young Italian man romancing an American woman on vacation with her skeptical mother. His performance earned him a Tony Award nomination, which he followed up with a non-musical outing in "A Naked Girl on the Appian Way," opposite Jill Clayburgh.
In 2006, Morrison joined the CBS soap "As the World Turns" (1956-2010) for a month-long stint. A year later, he took the lead in the off-Broadway production of "10 Million Miles," a musical about a young couple's cross-country sojourn which earned him a Drama Desk award nomination. Also that year, he netted a prominent role in another ABC television movie, the corporate office comedy "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office" (2007), before appearing in a succession of supporting parts in the features "Music & Lyrics" (2007), "I Think I Love My Wife" (2007) and "Dan In Real Life" (2007); the latter featuring him prominently in the ad campaign as the cop who continually pulls over star Steve Carell. Slowly but surely, Morrison was making his presence known.
As an affirmation of his growing status as a leading light on Broadway, Morrison took the role of Lt. Cable in the New York revival of "South Pacific" in 2008. Fresh off that success, early 2009 would afford Morrison a shot at the most unlikely showcase for his "triple threat" skills, prompting his jump to a regular TV gig. Ryan Murphy, creator of FX's dark, salacious "Nip/Tuck" (2003-2010), had concocted a pilot about an oddball group of high school losers whose Spanish teacher helps them reform the school's fallow glee club in spite of the conniving of "cooler" forces in the school. Morrison won the role of the glee club coach, and Fox picked up the show, going so far as to preview its first episode on the night of the final episode of the network's hit singing competition, "American Idol." A self-aware blend of both musical-theater geekiness and a tongue-in-cheek satire on said geeks and the social Darwinistic cliques who prey on them, the show piqued enough interest that, when it debuted as series in September, it picked up a sizeable following, ranking 51st in overall Nielsen network ratings in its first weeks, though scoring higher amongst key younger demographics.
By the time the series had established a solid following only a few episodes into its first season, Morrison was finding himself on magazine covers and, along with co-star and possible love interest, Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), the subject of endless blog discussions on "will they or won't they?" discussions. The show's impact had a more curious manifestation, with its advance digital releases of cast cover tunes abruptly showing up on pop music listings, notably 10 "Glee" recordings winding up in the top 200 songs downloaded off Apple's iTunes store, plus four of them winning slots on the Billboard Hot 100 list of singles. All of this crossover medium success portended a possible "Glee" cast live tour for summer 2010 - though Morrison said he would likely not participate in that. Instead, the latest love interest for starry-eyed music geeks announced he would be working on his first album as a solo vocalist. In the meantime, Morrison was honored by the Hollywood Foreign Press for his role on "Glee," earning Golden Globe nominations in 2009 and 2010 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy, as well as an Emmy nod for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2010.