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Howard Morris' Career as Ernest T Bass on 'The Andy Griffith Show' — A Look Back at the Mountain Man

Rebelander Basilan
Jun 21, 2020
05:30 A.M.

Playing Ernest T. Bass on "The Andy Griffith Show" was the highlight of Howard Morris's career. The superb acting of the "mountain man" is simply unforgettable.

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Many noteworthy characters kept the show's viewers laughing every week, as reported by Wide Open Country. One of the memorable characters is Ernest T, a trouble-making mountain man played by Morris.

The New York native's career was highly admired. Even though he passed away in 2005, his legacy in films and television remains.

Portrait of American comic actor Howard Morris on February 12, 1964. | Photo: Getty Images

Portrait of American comic actor Howard Morris on February 12, 1964. | Photo: Getty Images

PLAYING MULTIPLE ROLES

Morris appeared on the "The Andy Griffith Show" only five times, but he remains memorable to the show's viewers. Despite his limited appearance on the show, the actor was able to land multiple roles, as reported by MeTV.

Not a lot of people knew that aside from playing the character of Ernest, Morris played as "George the TV repairman" and a geek fellow. His role was to interrupt the romance in the "Andy and Helen Have Their Day" episode.

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Not only did he play George, but he also directed the episode. He also played as the radio announcer in another three episodes of the show.

Portrait of American comic actor Howard Morris on February 12, 1964. | Photo: Getty Images

Portrait of American comic actor Howard Morris on February 12, 1964. | Photo: Getty Images

SKILLS BEYOND ACTING

For 60 years, Morris had contributed a lot to the entertainment industry. Before he died of heart failure at the age of 85, he explored skills outside of acting, as reported by the LA Times.

Morris worked as a director and voice-over artist. He directed three comedy feature films, which include "With Six You Get Eggroll," starring Doris Day. He also directed television series.

The actor had an incredible talent and sense of humor, according to Carl Reiner, his former colleague in "Your Show of Shows."

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Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, and Howard Morris in a promotional still for the TV comedy series, "Your Show of Shows," circa 1950s. | Photo: Getty Images

Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, and Howard Morris in a promotional still for the TV comedy series, "Your Show of Shows," circa 1950s. | Photo: Getty Images

A VERSATILE ACTOR

He was the voice behind the Qantas Airlines koala and Atom Ant in "The Atom Ant Show." Other than that, he was also the voice behind Jughead Jones and Big Moose Mason in "The Archie Show."

The actor had an incredible talent and sense of humor, according to Carl Reiner, his former colleague in "Your Show of Shows." It was Morris's first national show on NBC from 1950 to 1954.

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A versatile actor, Morris could do slapstick comedy and Shakespeare. "The thing about Howie that's most interesting is the extent of his talent," Reiner said.

Another colleague, Sid Caesar, said Morris was a kind-hearted actor. "He was very good at physical stuff, and he was a very nice man -- no arguments."

Another beloved character in "The Andy Griffith Show" was Barney Fife, played by actor Don Knotts. Behind the comedy, Knotts had faced tragic events in his life. Check out his story.

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