Edward L. Morris

Pioneering Chicago television executive and educator

Edward L. Morris, pioneering Chicago television executive and educator, died Monday April 22 at his home in Chicago. He was 80.

Joining the Chicago public TV channel WTTW as public relations director in 1958, Morris later became program director and station manager. During his tenure there, he created several highly successful series, including the influential “Book Beat,” which won a Peabody Award and ran nationally on PBS for 15 years.

In the late ’60s, Morris moved to New York to work for Time-Life Films, where he developed the “America” and “Civilization” series and won another Peabody for the special “Search for the Nile,” made jointly with the BBC.

He returned to Chicago to become vice president and general manager of WSNS Channel 44, which he ran 1972-84. He then became chair of the television department at Columbia College, where he continued to teach until very recently.

Morris served as president and governor of the board of the Chicago chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and was a longtime member of the org’s national board. He was a recipient of the Academy’s Governors’ Award for distinguished service to the Chicago TV industry.

He is survived by his wife, Marsha; son Christopher, a writer for Billboard and other music publications; and two grandsons.

Contributions may be made to the Edward L. and Marsha E. Morris Scholarship Fund, Columbia College, 600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill., 60605.

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