Doing Whatever It Takes
A Sudden Decision Revealed His Destiny
“There’s a spiritual element to expression in a kind of a Sufi, Dervishy way that connects you to something bigger. And there’s where the joy enters into it…Also, I learned my morality from movies and literature. So in carrying on the tradition…if I can be a part of enlightening or inspiring, then I feel like my life will have meaning.”
As a kid in high school, Rob Morrow saw the film Grease and knew immediately that he was going to be an actor. He began doing plays at school and it wasn’t long before he dropped out to pursue acting professionally. His first experience on film was in Caddy Shack before he was 18 and shortly thereafter, he found himself living in New York and being cast as an extra on Saturday Night Live. In this episode, Morrow shares some of the numerous synchronicities that led him to what he believes was his destiny in the entertainment industry, the long journey of hard work and focus to get him there, as well as some of the powerful lessons he has learned along the way.
Rob Morrow is an American actor, director and musician. He is known for his portrayal of Dr. Joel Fleischman on Northern Exposure, for which he received three Golden Globe and two Emmy nominations for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series. He has an extensive history as an actor spanning more than forty years, and which includes roles on stage as well as on television and in films. Among them, co-starring with Johnny Depp in the film, Private Resort, starring in the critically acclaimed film, Quiz Show, and enjoying several years on the CBS series, Northern Exposure. Morrow also starred in The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story as Barry Scheck, an experience that changed him in ways he didn’t expect. Currently, he appears on the drama, Billions, in a recurring role. He is also a teacher at the Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica, where he starred as Willy Loman in their production of Death of a Salesman in 2019.
What You’ll Learn from This Episode:
- A peculiar reality for actors who are also musicians or singer/songwriters
- Morrow’s “Aha!” moment about becoming an actor
- How John Travolta factored into Morrow’s career – and how it came full circle
- Why he says he was “a ne’er-do-well” and a “screw-up” in high school and how it benefited him
- How being a high school dropout led him to appearing on Saturday Night Live
- Some of the synchronicities that he says revealed his destiny
- What his “starving artist” years were like in NYC and how he made them work
- How commercials factored into his ability to do theater
- Why he has rebelled at doing roles that are similar to previous ones
- Two unusual exchanges with Stephen Spielberg that produced unexpected results
- Lessons he has learned when turning down roles because of his ideals
- His most challenging role and a contractual “essential” to help him do it well
- His late start and winding path as a musician
- Why he put himself on stages repeatedly as a guitar-playing singer when he knew he “sucked”
Featured on the Show:
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