Aubrey Morris, a British character actor known for his roles in The Wicker Man and A Clockwork Orange, has died at 89, the Guardian is reporting.
Though he was small, slightly chubby, and completely ordinary-looking, says Guardian writer Gavin Gaughan, Morris’ mastery at facial acting — wry smiles, sideways glances — and his ability to precisely manipulate his speech allowed Morris to make even the most mundane characters appear off-putting and even sinister to the audience.
In one of the most iconic scenes in his career, Morris used those skills to turn a probation officer — a low-level government bureaucrat in a business suit — into a character whose actions are borderline sinister. The scene takes place in Stanley Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange, where Morris portrayed Mr. Deltoid, the “post-corrective adviser” sent to put violent thug Alex (Malcolm McDowell) on the straight and narrow.
Warning: The following video is NSFW.
“It was a signature role in that it combined his abilities in the comedic, the threatening and as he put it, the ‘kinky.'”
Aubrey Morris also showcased his skills at portraying the vaguely sinister in 1973’s The Wicker Man. Considered a horror classic, The Wicker Man tells the story of a devoutly Christian English policeman sent to investigate a strange case in a remote Scottish village. There, he finds himself caught up in bizarre pagan rituals involving human sacrifice. Morris portrayed one of the townsfolk, a gleefully sinister local known only as “the gravedigger.”
Aubrey Morris was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, according to Star Pulse, one of nine children of a chronically ill father who needed near-constant care. Morris developed a taste for the theater while attending municipal college. In 1944, he made his professional debut in a bit part in a local production in London; the show went on the road, if for no other reason than to get out of London, which was under constant German bombardment at the time.
Eventually, Morris would make a name for himself on the stage, performing throughout England and on Broadway during the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, Morris transitioned into film roles, appearing in If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, Disraeli, and multiple others. In the 80s, Morris made a name for himself in American TV, appearing in Murder, She Wrote, Showtime’s Deadwood, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
As of this post, Aubrey Morris’ cause of death has not been made public.
[Image courtesy of: YouTube]