Popular musical theatre performer in the 1960s and 1970s, who also starred in numerous pantomimes and frequently appeared on television
A popular actor and singer in musical theatre in the 1960s and 1970s, David Morton was born Peter Harold Morton in London.
He made his theatre debut aged 12 with Steffani’s Silver Songsters, a touring variety troupe. Already more than 6ft tall, he was billed as “The tallest boy soprano in captivity”. After his national service, which he spent in the War Office, Morton became a full-time actor working under the stage name of David Morton, appearing with various regional repertory companies until he got his London break in the musical Zuleika, based on Max Beerbohm’s novel, playing the Duke of Dorset, the romantic lead, opposite Diane Cilento, in 1957. The cast also included Patricia Routledge.
He met his future wife, Barbara Robinson, also an actor, in the comedy revue Carry on Laughing, starring Ted Rogers, at Bournemouth Pier Theatre in 1960. They married three years later. Morton went on to enjoy a variety of leading West End musical roles, such as Henry Spofford in the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1962), Captain Surtees Cook in Robert and Elizabeth (1964), Cornelius Hackl in Hello Dolly (1965), the Rev Rupert Bingham in Oh Clarence (1968), Richard Henry Lee in 1776 (1970), Ferdinand Gadd in Trelawny (1972), and Sir Clamsby Williams in Salad Days (1976).
He was also a panto regular for E&B Productions, known for playing dames. Producer Paul Elliott recalls: “I was fortunate enough to have cast David in many pantomimes for E&B from 1974 onwards. As an Ugly Sister he towered above the other artists, and he was a superb Widow Twankey. He was a terrific actor, with great comedy timing, as well as being a really nice man.” Despite being listed by his agent as “TTFT” – too tall for telly at 6ft 6in – he made many appearances on television, including the 1967 series Uncle Charles with Raymond Huntley and Terence Alexander, Father Brown in 1974 with Kenneth More, and the 1977 TV movie Come Spy With Me with Danny La Rue.
Old age and dementia forced his retirement in the mid-2000s.
Peter Harold Morton, known professionally as David Morton, was born on June 13, 1931, and died on March 23, of Covid-19 complications in hospital in Brighton, aged 88. He is survived by his two children, Gareth and Cluny, and his ex-wife Barbara, who all live in Australia.