Tv proved extra hospitable. Along with visitor appearances on varied exhibits within the Nineteen Sixties and ’70s, he co-starred with the actress E.J. Peaker within the 1968 sequence “That’s Life,” an uncommon hybrid of sitcom and selection present that instructed the story of a younger couple’s courtship and marriage by way of sketches, monologues, singing and dancing. Maybe too bold for its personal good — “We’re producing what quantities to a brand new musical every week,” Mr. Morse instructed an interviewer — it lasted just one season.
Mr. Morse returned to Broadway in 1972 in “Sugar,” a musical primarily based on the Billy Wilder movie “Some Like It Sizzling” about two Chicago musicians — Tony Roberts within the half initially performed by Tony Curtis and Mr. Morse, appropriately, within the Jack Lemmon function — who flee from native mobsters by dressing as ladies and becoming a member of an all-girl band en path to Miami. It introduced Mr. Morse one other Tony nomination and was a modest hit, operating for greater than a yr.
However his subsequent present, the 1976 musical “So Lengthy, 174th Road,” primarily based on the play “Enter Laughing” — with Mr. Morse, nonetheless boyish-looking at simply shy of 45, as an aspiring actor roughly half his age — obtained harsh evaluations and closed in a matter of weeks. It was Mr. Morse’s final look on Broadway for greater than a decade.
He saved busy within the ensuing years, however selection roles have been scarce, and he battled despair. He additionally had issues with medicine and alcohol, though he maintained that these issues didn’t intervene along with his work; trying again in 1989, he instructed The Occasions, “It was the opposite 22 hours I had an issue with.”
He starred in a lot of out-of-town revivals, together with a manufacturing of “Tips on how to Succeed” in Los Angeles. He was a well-recognized face on tv in sequence like “Love, American Type” and “Homicide, She Wrote” — and a well-recognized voice as effectively, on cartoon exhibits like “Pound Puppies.” However he longed to flee a casting pigeonhole that he knew he had helped create.
“I’m the brief, humorous man,” he stated ruefully in a 1972 Occasions interview. “It’s very tough to get out of that.” Eight years earlier he had instructed one other interviewer: “I consider myself as an actor. I occur to have a comic book aptitude, however that doesn’t imply I plan to spend my life as a comic.”
It took him some time to seek out the proper dramatic showcase, however he discovered it in 1989 in “Tru,” Jay Presson Allen’s one-man present about Truman Capote. Virtually unrecognizable in heavy make-up and completely convincing in voice and mannerisms, he was Capote incarnate, alone in his condo in 1975 and brooding over the friendships he had misplaced after the publication of excerpts from his gossipy novel in progress, “Answered Prayers.” Mr. Morse’s efficiency introduced him his second Tony Award. A tv adaptation of “Tru” for the PBS sequence “American Playhouse” in 1992 additionally gained him an Emmy.