Ms. Morris is a 6th generation Staten Islander, whose roots go back to the last slave sold on Staten Island. After more than 30 years in the television industry, 5 Emmys and 3 Peabody awards later, Morris retired from 15 years at HBO. Following the tradition of her family, she turned to community involvement. Morris serves on 5 community boards. Three years ago she wrote a book about her father’s WW II story. The Soldier that Wagged Her Tail has been read by hundreds of Staten Island school children and loved by adults as well.
In Hunter college, my major (after realizing pre-med wasn’t for me) was physical anthropology, not media, not broadcasting, are any of those subjects one associates with a career in production. A few years after graduation I was teaching in San Francisco at an alternative school and started a children’s theater production called The Follies. After doing this for a few years one of the parents was so impressed that they suggested I really try to go into television.
Soon I was back in New York interviewing at Children’s Television workshop now called Sesame Workshop and I got my first job, story researcher for their science show 3-2-1 contact that was the beginning. After 2 years there I went to ABC TV and started as a manager of children’s programming and left after 8 years as Director of children’s programming producing such things as the Award-winning ABC After school special and Weekend specials. I was recruited by Disney and moved to Los Angeles to work in Disney TV. That was the most terrifying and torturous job I’ve ever had! Started as and director of TV, when I left, I was VP of TV animation.
After an earthquake, I came back to New York to CTW as VP of original programming but was soon scooped up by HBO to create a family channel. I spent 13 years at HBO — the best job I ever had, 5 Emmys and 3 Peabody Awards later for my children’s specials. After retirement from HBO, I acted on the promise I’d made to myself to give back to the community. I serve on several community boards; the Staten Island Foundation, Staten Island Museum, CSI foundation and the Historical Tappen Park foundation. Two years ago, I published my first book. The subject matter, the story of my father and his World War II adventure. The book is titled, “The Soldier that Wagged Her Tail.”