Comedian Garrett Morris shot in Los Angeles holdup attempt


LOS ANGELES -- Garrett Morris, one of the original "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" on the "Saturday Night Live" television show, was shot and critically wounded yesterday during a holdup attempt on a street in Central Los Angeles, police said.

Mr. Morris, 57, underwent surgery at the Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital in nearby Inglewood, where doctors said he is expected to survive the gunshot wounds in his chest and arm.

Sandra Castello, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department, said Mr. Morris was walking to his parked car about 12:50 p.m. PST when two men accosted him on the sidewalk and demanded money.

She said that when Mr. Morris told them he had no cash, one of the men fired two shots. As Mr. Morris slumped to the pavement, the two men fled, according to police. Investigators said late yesterday that the suspects had not been identified or arrested.

Mr. Morris is a native of New Orleans who graduated from Dillard University there with a degree in music, spent 10 years with the Harry Belafonte singers and was a successful actor, singer, conductor and playwright on Broadway during the 1960s, appearing in shows like "Porgy 'n' Bess" and "Showboat."

But his big break came in 1975, when he joined Dan Ackroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner as part of the original cast of "Saturday Night Live."

Morris played hundreds of roles during his five years on the television show, but the one many people remember best is that of Chico Escuela, the amiable, scarcely bilingual Latino second baseman for the New York Mets.

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