Sins of Omission

Hollywood’s Lone Ace

He is virtually unknown to Americans today, though he appeared in 65 movies and was the only actor to become an ace during World War II.  Born in Los Angeles in 1914 to Nebraskan Bert DeWayne Morris and Texan Anna Fitzgerald, he would be christened with his father’s name but go by Wayne Morris.  While attending Los Angeles City College, he began acting at the Pasadena Playhouse.  Handsome, blond, blue-eyed, and 6'2", he was a striking figure.  Succeeding wonderfully in a Warner Bros. screen test, he signed a contract with the studio and debuted in the role of the navigator for the trans-Pacific flight in China Clipper (1936).

Warner Bros. kept Morris busy with bit parts in six more movies during 1936-37 before he was cast in the principal supporting role in the western Land Beyond the Law (1937).  Then came his title role in Kid Galahad (1937).  Teamed with studio heavyweights Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, and Humphrey Bogart, Morris played an innocent and naive young boxer to perfection.  The movie was both a critical and a box-office success.

Morris appeared in a dozen more films, usually as the lead, before being cast as a pilot in Flight Angels (1940).  His role would have significance far beyond whatever he could have...

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