Actor Garrett Morris opens up about his career and how he was addicted to cocaine for 40 years.
During a recent interview, he spoke about being the first-ever Black cast member on Saturday Night Live. He revealed that some of the producers didn’t want a Black cast member on the show but it was the show's creator Lorne Michaels who said that they needed one.
“I dealt with some racism there, but never with Lorne. He doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.” He went on to talk about his addiction to cocaine during his tenured acting career but nothing like his co-star, John Belushi. “We lost one of the greatest talents in the country,” Morris said of Belushi.
“But John and I never really partied together. I was more introverted after they wrapped up the show, usually, they’d all go to a bar but I’d just go home. I’m not sure the cocaine helped with being introverted.”
Morris’s addiction continued after he left the show in 1980 and went on to star in shows such as Martin, The Jamie Foxx Show, 2 Broke Girls, and more. However, he decided to get sober 10 years ago and stopped using the drug. “I went to alcoholics anonymous,” he said. “And they give you a sponsor. And that guy calls you all day long, but it works. Within six months to a year, I felt like I could stay sober forever.”
The actor continued to detail the struggles that he faced early on in his career and how he experienced racism when he was a backup singer for Harry Belafonte. He stated that he wasn’t allowed to stay in some hotels as the white singers. “The Black guys had to go to the Black part of town to try and find a hotel there,” he said.
Garrett Morris added that he also survived being shot back in 1994. “I had run the New York City marathon in 1993,” he said before sharing that he accidentally got involved in an attempted robbery while going to the store.
He said that two men wanted money from him and that he always had a hard time running his mouth. “I said, ‘Oh, somebody’s looking for a fight,’ but then the guy shot me. It ricocheted into my lumbar number five. That’s the only reason I survived. The doctors told me I might not walk or run again.”
Morris has since recovered and has recently received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the age of 87.