Morse, who had suffered a short illness, died Wednesday at his home. David Shaul from BRS/Gage Talent Agency said that he was coping well.
Morse, a boyishly handsome actor, first made his mark on Broadway in 1950s and then landed roles in Hollywood comedies during the 1960s. In 1964, he stated to the Los Angeles Times that he considered himself an actor. I love acting. It's a great way to use your body and mind... You hope you are doing something meaningful with all of your humility."
He was also the eccentric and autocratic leader of an advertising agency in Mad Men, AMC's hit drama which debuted in 2007. He was nominated for five Emmy nominations for his role as Bert Cooper, best guest actor in drama series.
Paul Rudnick, playwright, wrote that "He radiated wicked joy; it wasn't possible to watch him without instantly feeling his giddy delight." Jason Alexander tweeted, "His work was filled with joy and it felt joyous to be with."
Morse had already been a well-known Broadway star, and had received two Tony nominations. He became famous as the star in Abe Burrows' 1961 Broadway comedy about corporate life, "How To Succeed ". It ran for three years and won the Pulitzer Prize as well as the Tony Award for best musical.
Morse's brilliant-eyed J. Pierrepont Finch, a corporate backstabbing master with a toothy grin, was a master at Manhattan window washing and a titan at World Wide Wicket company. He did this with the help of a little paperback on office politics.
The musical's title songs suggest the prefeminist, button-down business world. "The Company Way" is a theme song for yes men; "A Secretary Is not a Toy" is a song that mocks office sex; "Coffee Break" is a song about caffeine. Finch takes on Rudy Vallee's old boss by singing "Grand Old Ivy," the college fight song.
The New York Times said, "Imagine a collaboration Horatio Alger with Machiavelli. You have Finch. The intrepid hero on this sortie into canyons of commerce." Robert Morse played him with unfaltering bravura, wit, and grace. He is a dimpled, rumpled angel with a streaks of Lucifer.
Although the 1967 film version "How To Succeed", dropped some songs, it kept very close to the original stage performance. Vallee and Morse were back.
However, Morse's film career was largely unsuccessful.
In 1972, he was back on Broadway and received another Tony nomination for "Sugar," a musical by David Merrick. He starred in Jerry, the role played by Jack Lemmon. The Billy Wilder comedy featured two men who pretend to be women in order to escape from the murderous gangsters.
"Tru", a one-man show that was based on Capote’s writings, brought Morse back to the stage in 1989.
"His Capote, a wickedly funny imp, is ready to deliver an offbeat joke about Queen Mum, zing Robert Goulet, or rhapsodize on the time he tap-danced with Louis Armstrong. ...," Associated Press drama criticism Michael Kuchwara wrote his review. "But there is a desperate side to Capote and Morse rises up to the pain."
Morse won an Emmy in 1993 for his performance as best actor in a miniseries/special. (Meanwhile, Matthew Broderick, the Tony winner for "How to Succeed ..."" on Broadway in 1995, won another Emmy.
Television's "Mad Men," Morse returned to Manhattan office politics in the "How to Succeed," era, 1960s-style.
Hedda Hopper, a columnist, predicted that Robert Morse would land in Hollywood in 1963 after his triumph in "How to Succeed." She said in 1963, "If Robert Morse arrives on screen as he does in stage, there will be teenagers screaming and mothers wanting to adopt him." He is a comedian with a funny face.
His 1965 black comedy "The Loved One" was one of his most popular. It is a 1965 black comedy about an Englishman's encounters with Hollywood and the funeral business, which was based on Evelyn Waugh's satirical novel.
Morse said to the Los Angeles Times that he didn't consider whether the picture would help or hinder his career. "I think about who I'm working alongside." Jonathan Winters, John Gielgud, and Tab Hunter were among his "Loved One” co-stars.
Morse was born in Newton, Massachusetts on May 18, 1931. He made his Broadway debut with "The Matchmaker" in 1955.
For his roles in "Say, Darling" and "Take Me Along," he received back-to-back Tony nominations. In 1959, he won best featured actor in a production, while in 1960, he was nominated for best actor in musical.
"Say, Darling" is a comedy about the experiences of a young writer as his novel becomes a Broadway hit. The play was inspired by the creation of "The Pajama Game." Morse, who was a "boy producer" but hated being called that, was modelled on Harold Prince, a co-producer of "The Pajama Game".
Morse said to The New York Times, 1989: "Things have changed." I was never able to play a role in a picture or play where I had a family or felt or showed something. I was a wild child and never got to see the light of day.
He stated that he had overcome alcoholism and drug abuse but said, "I don’t believe drinking got in my way of doing my job." I did my job. It was the 22 additional hours that I had a problem with."
He said that he didn't believe his career would end. I kept going. You hear "We love Bobby" one day and the next you are doing voiceovers.
Five children survived him, including a son Charlie, and four daughters, Robin, Andrea and Hilary.