Greg Morris
Greg Morris.JPG
Morris in 1972
Francis Gregory Alan Morris

(1933-09-27)September 27, 1933
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
DiedAugust 27, 1996(1996-08-27) (aged 62)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Iowa
Years active1963–1995
Leona Keyes
(m. 1956)
Children3; including Phil and Iona

Francis Gregory Alan Morris (September 27, 1933 – August 27, 1996) was an American actor. He was best known for portraying Barney Collier on Mission: Impossible and Lt. David Nelson on Vega$.

Early life and career

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, to jazz trumpeter Francis Williams,[1] Morris served in the United States Army during the Korean War. While in college at Iowa on the G.I. Bill, Morris was active in college theater and hosted the late afternoon Jazz radio show, "Tea-Time", on the University of Iowa station, WSUI. He co-produced concerts at the university with a student friend. Morris began his television acting career in the 1960s, making guest appearances on numerous TV shows such as The Twilight Zone, Branded and Ben Casey. In 1966, Morris was cast in his most recognizable role as the team electronics expert Barney Collier in the TV series Mission: Impossible. Morris, Peter Lupus, and Bob Johnson were the only actors to remain with Mission Impossible throughout its entire run. After Iowa, Greg's first professional stage role was in The Death of Bessie Smith. One of his earliest television roles was a cameo appearance on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the episode "That's My Boy?", where Rob becomes convinced that they have taken home the wrong baby from the hospital. The revelation of Morris' character as the other child's father prompted a record setting bout of laughter from the studio audience.[2] He also appeared in the 1963–64 season of ABC's drama about college life, Channing, starring Jason Evers and Henry Jones.

After Mission: Impossible was cancelled, Morris appeared in several movies and made guest TV appearances, including The Six Million Dollar Man (Episode 1-05, "Little Orphan Airplane", 1974). Morris was then cast as Lt. David Nelson of the Las Vegas Metro Police in the ABC TV detective series Vega$ (1978–1981), co-starring Robert Urich, Bart Braverman, and Phyllis Davis. On March 3, 1981, by which point most filming for the season had concluded, Morris was involved in a serious car accident on I-15 near Las Vegas.

After the cancellation of Vega$, Morris continued to make guest TV appearances, including several episodes in the short-lived 1988–1990 remake of the Mission: Impossible TV series, starring his son Phil Morris. Phil Morris was cast as Grant Collier, the son of Barney. Morris also appeared in two episodes of the TV series What's Happening!! as Lawrence Nelson (father of Dwayne) and in three episodes of The Jeffersons, in which he reprised his role as an electronics expert (although not as Barney Collier) in a comparison sequel of the Mission: Impossible series. Morris was also a frequent guest star on Password, Tattletales, and Password Plus in the 1960s and 1970s.

Shortly before his death in 1996, Morris saw the film version of Mission: Impossible starring Tom Cruise. He so disliked the movie (as did some of his former co-stars) that he left the theater early,[3] calling it "an abomination".[4]

Personal life

Morris married his wife Leona Keyes in 1956, and remained married until his death.[4] Together they had three children, including actor Phil Morris and actress Iona Morris.[4] Leona Morris died on November 2, 2016, aged 81.[5]


Morris died on August 27, 1996 of lung cancer and a brain tumor in Las Vegas, Nevada at the age of 62.[6]


Year Title Role Notes
1963 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour The Intern Episode: "Forecast: Low Clouds and Coastal Fog"
1963 Sam Benedict Victim Episode: "Of Rusted Cannons and Fallen Sparrows"
1963 Dr. Kildare Lincoln Ball Episode: "The Gift of the Koodjanuk"
1963 The Twilight Zone Lt. Woodard Episode: "The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms"
1963 The Lieutenant Sgt. Perc Linden Episode: "The Proud and the Angry"
1963 The Lieutenant Crew Chief Episode: "The Two Star Giant"
1963 The Dick Van Dyke Show Mr. Peters Episode: "That's My Boy??"
1964 The Lieutenant Crew Chief Episode: "To Kill a Man"
1964 The New Interns Dr. Pete Clarke
1964 The Lively Set Highway Patrol Officer
1965 The Fugitive Mickey Deming Episode: "Wings of an Angel"
1965 I Spy Jim Rogers Episode: "Lori"
1965 The Sword of Ali Baba Yusef
1965 The Dick Van Dyke Show Frank "Sticks" Mandalay Episode: "Bupkis"
1966 The Doomsday Flight FBI Agent Balaban TV movie written by Rod Serling
1966–1973 Mission: Impossible Barney Collier Main cast
1973 Mannix Escaped Convict Episode: "Climb a Deadly Mountain"
1974 The Six Million Dollar Man Josh Episode: "Little Orphan Airplane"
1974 Match Game Himself Game Show Participant / Celebrity Guest Star
1975 The Streets of San Francisco Eddie Griffin Episode: "Merchants of Death"
1976 Countdown at Kusini Red Salter
1976 S.T.A.B. Richard Hill Thai film
1976 Sanford and Son Willis Episodes: "The Hawaiian Connection", parts 1 & 2
1977 What's Happening!! Lawrence Nelson Episode: "If I'm Elected"
1978 Wonder Woman Caribe Episode: "Light-Fingered Lady"
1978 Quincy, M.E. Cliff Collier Episode: "A Night to Raise the Dead"
1978 Fantasy Island Ted Harmon Episode: "War Games / Queen of the Boston Bruisers"
1978 The Eddie Capra Mysteries Shelby Episode: "The Intimate Friends of Janet Wilde"
1978–1981 Vega$ Lt. Dave Nelson Recurring
1978 The Love Boat Guest star Episode: "Till Death Do Us Part – Maybe/Chubs/Locked Away"
1979 Password Plus Himself Game Show Participant / Celebrity Guest Star
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Beeman Jones Miniseries, part 1
1979 What's Happening!! Lawrence Nelson Episode: "Dwayne's Debate"
1983 The Fall Guy Gary Jordan Episode: "P.S., I Love You"
1983 The Jeffersons Jimmy's Cousin Episodes: "Mission: Incredible" parts 1-3
1983 Fantasy Island Chief of Surgery Episode: "The Wedding Picture / Castaways"
1984 T.J. Hooker Dave Reemer Episode: "Exercise in Murder"
1984 Murder, She Wrote Lt. Andrews Episode: "Lovers and Other Killers"
1985 Super Password Himself Game Show Participant / Celebrity Guest Star
1988 War of the Worlds General Masters Episode: "The Second Seal"
1988–1990 Mission: Impossible Barney Collier Recurring
1989 The Adventures of Superboy Damon Episode: "The Invisible People"
1995 TekWar Hacker Episode: "Killer Instinct"


  1. ^ "Francis Williams, Trumpeter; Played With Ellington Band". The New York Times. October 4, 1983. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  2. ^ "Episode Description: The Dick Van Dyke Show – "That's My Boy??"". Retrieved April 23, 2009.
  3. ^ Tush, Bill (May 26, 1996). "'Mission: Impossible' TV stars disgruntled". CNN. New York. Archived from the original on April 12, 2018. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Ravo, Nick (August 29, 1996). "Greg Morris, 61, Debonair Star Of TV's 'Mission Impossible'". The New York Times. p. D19. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  5. ^ "Leona Alvadeen Keys Morris Obituary (1935 - 2016) Los Angeles Times". November 12, 2016. Retrieved August 27, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "'Mission: Impossible' actor dies". CNN. August 28, 1996. Archived from the original on February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 23, 2019.