Stanley Morner [Dennis Morgan] (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 09, 2022

Stanley Morner stepped from a Milwaukee lumber yard to motion pictures. But not all in one stride; from worker in the yard he rose to be a lumber buyer, then stepped before a radio microphone, next into opera and thence into pictures.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. F. E. Morner, Stanley was born on December 20, in Prentice, Wisconsin. His great-grandfather, O. S. Van Dusen, still lives there.

Young Morner went to work in Milwaukee, choosing the lumber business for a career. But at Carroll College, Waukesha, the school which gave the theatrical world Alfred Lunt and Fred MacMurray, he studied dramatics and was found to have an excellent tenor voice. He finally won a place on the WTMJ radio programs, and was soon appointed announcer as well as soloist. There Morner sang and announced for two and a half years, meantime studying under William Wegener.

Discovered by Garden

Engaged by the State Lake Theatre in Chicago, he started his theatrical career. Soon his voice was hailed as of grand opera quality. He joined an opera organization, toured the Middle West in “Faust,” then returned to Chicago, and was engaged to sing in the Empire Room of the Palmer House, where he was soloist for 48 weeks. Following this he was starred in concerts on tour, and was next engaged for NBC programs. He also sang the lead in the production of “Xerxes.”

When Mary Garden visited Chicago and heard him sing, she arranged for him to sing with her in a contemplated tour in “Carmen.” However, this tour had to be cancelled. But Miss Garden, then in negotiation with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios, wrote enthusiastically regarding her tenor find. So Morner was sent to New York, where he made a screen test. The result was that he entrained for Hollywood.

‘Ziegfeld’ His First

He was at once chosen for the cast of The Great Ziegfeld, which was followed by a role with Jean Harlow in Suzy, then a musical short, “Annie Laurie,” “Piccadilly Jim,” “Old Hutch,” “Mama Steps Out,” “Song of the City,” and “Navy Blue and Gold.”

Young Morner is six feet two inches tall, with brown hair and blue eyes. Aside from his singing, his dramatic perception is keen and his training makes him an actor of more than ordinary ability.

In college he was a member of Beta Pi Epsilon, and the Theta Alpha Phi national honorary dramatic fraternity. He played football, basketball and baseball. In 1933 he married Lillian Vedder. They have one child, Stanley, Jr.

Plays Slide Trombone

His favorite sports are tennis and baseball. Aside from singing, for fun he plays a slide trombone.

Morner finds Hollywood a place of hard work, for he is intensely ambitious. He took up dancing under Dave Gould, the studio’s dancing expert, to achieve greater grace of carriage — also to be ready if called for a musical comedy role. He also worked with Oliver Hinsdell, the studio’s dramatic coach.

A hard-working young man, Morner is intensely serious about his career. He studies several times a week with his “discoverer”, Miss Garden, who is confident he will soon become a motion picture singing-star.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937