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Howard Morris Obituary

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Howard Morris, best known for playing poetry-spouting hillbilly Ernest T. Bass on the "Andy Griffith Show," died at his home in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. He was 85.

Morris died Saturday of natural causes, his son David said Monday.

He enjoyed a long show business career, but is best-remembered as the love-challenged hillbilly on "Andy Griffith." His fan Web site is named for the character that appeared in just a few episodes, but made a big impact with viewers.

Morris served in the Army's entertainment unit during World War II and was stationed in Hawaii. After the war, he had a brief stint as a Shakespearian actor.

In the 1950s, he joined a comedy sketch group including Carl Reiner and Imogene Coca on several TV variety shows, including "Admiral Broadway Review," "Your Show of Shows" and "Caesar's Hour."

After his work on "The Andy Griffith Show," Morris provided the voices for several animated television show characters, including Beetle Bailey and Atom Ant. He is also credited as the "third buffalo" in a Flintstones episode that aired in 1963.

He also directed TV shows and films, including the pilot episode of the Mel Brooks series "Get Smart," the Doris Day film "With Six you get Eggroll," and the film version of Woody Allen's "Don't Drink the Water," starring Jackie Gleason.

Morris was born in New York City on Sept. 4, 1919. He married and divorced five times.

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press

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