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Garrett Morris Shot in Robbery Attempt

February 25, 1994 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Former ″Saturday Night Live″ star Garrett Morris was shot and seriously wounded in an attempted robbery Thursday.

Morris was hit once in the chest and once in the arm during the botched hold-up, said police spokeswoman Sandra Castello.

He was listed in serious condition after surgery, said his agent, Tim Stone. His wife, Freda, was at his side at Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital in suburban Inglewood.

Castello said Morris’ assailants confronted him as he walked toward his car in a South Central Los Angeles neighborhood.


″The victim said he had no money. The assailants fired two rounds,″ Castello said.

Morris, 57, was in the area to get his car serviced, Stone said.

The actor-comedian has appeared in movies and on several television programs, but is probably best known as one of the original ″Not Ready For Prime Time Players″ on ″Saturday Night Live.″ He was a regular on the show from its debut in 1975 until 1980.

His most popular character was Chico Esquela, the baseball player whose tag line was ″Baseball been berry, berry good to me.″

Morris is currently a regular on the television comedy ″Martin,″ playing Stan the ladies’ man. The show’s star, Martin Lawrence, plays a wise-cracking Detroit radio host.

Morris has also appeared as a guest star on such series as ″Married ... With Children,″ ″Hill Street Blues,″ ″Murder, She Wrote,″ and ″Diff’rent Strokes. ″

He also played streetwise informer Sporty James on the ″Hunter″ television series and appeared in the Richard Pryor film ″Critical Condition.″

Although ″Saturday Night Live″ gave him a reputation as a comic actor, much of Morris’ work before that was dramatic.

After arriving in New York, the New Orleans native appeared in several Broadway productions, including ″Porgy and Bess″ and ″Showboat,″ and wrote plays.

He also worked as a singer and music arranger with the Harry Belafonte folk singers.

He was hired as a writer for the 1971 movie ″Coolie High″ but wound up with a starring role. He also started on ″Saturday Night Live″ as a writer.