David Mark Morrissey – The Governor Walking Dead Actor

David Morrissey or David Mark Morrissey is an English filmmaker and an actor. He was born on the 21st of June, 1964. The British Film Institute describes him as being one of the most versatile movie actors around in his generation. David is well-known for the detailed research and meticulous preparation that he undertakes for each of his roles.

David Morrissey was cast in One Summer, which was a television series in 1983. He was barely 18 years of age at that time. He went on to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before he decided to act with the National Theater and the Royal Shakespeare Company for almost four years. During the 1990s, David was often seen playing the role of either soldiers or policemen. However, he also played other roles every now and then, such as Bradley Headstone in Our Mutual Friend in 1998 and Christopher Finzi in Hilary and Jackie in 1998.

David went on to work in various other projects, such as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin in 2001 and Some Voices in 2000. He also played the roles of Gordon Brown in The Deal and Stephen Collins in State of Play, both of which happened in 2003. Both the roles were considered critically acclaimed roles. Playing the role of Stephen Collins earned David Morrissey a Best Actor nomination at the British Academy Television Awards. On the other hand, the role of Gordon Brown helped him earn a Best Actor award from the Royal Television Society.

Early Life of David Morrissey

David Morrissey was born in the Kensington area of Liverpool. His father was Joe Morrissey, who was a cobbler and his mother was Joan Morrissey, who worked for Littlewoods. David Morrissey was their fourth child after Tony, Paul, and Karen Lane. All of them lived at 45 Sheldon Street in Kensington. The house where they lived belonged to the family since the turn of the 20th century. According to a writing by Morrissey, his grandmother got married at the house and his mother was also born there. However, during the year 1971 all of them shifted to a more modern and bigger house on the new estates of Knotty Ash. Later, Sheldon Street got demolished altogether.

Since his childhood days, David was extremely interested in movies and television. He also had great interest in Gene Kelly musicals. One day, after having watched a broadcast of Kes on the TV, David decided to pursue the career of an actor. When he was in primary school at St. Margaret Mary’s School, David was encouraged by Miss Keller, one of his teachers, to act by giving him the role of a Scarecrow in an adaptation of the story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. he was barely 11 years old at that time. However, soon after that Keller had to leave school that left David without much encouragement and support in his mission or pursuing acting.

By the time he reached the secondary school at De La Salle School, there were no drama classes. In fact, it was more of a school where David feared over exhaustion due to studying. After getting some advice from a cousin, Morrissey decided to join Everyman Youth Theater. He was pretty shy for the first few weeks and simply refused to join any of the workshops. However, by the time he decided to participate, David was cast in the theater’s own production Fighting Chance, which was a play based on the riots of Liverpool. He usually went to the theater on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

By the time David Morrissey reached the age of 14, he became one of the two theater members who are required to sit on the board of the Everyman Theater. Some of his contemporaries include Cathy Tyson, Stephen and Mark Mc Gann and Ian Hart, with whom David had been friends since the age of five. The McGann brothers were the ones who introduced Morrissey to their brother Paul at the time when Paul was on a break from studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. By the time David reached the age of 15, his father developed a terminal blood disorder. After being ill for quite some time, his father passed away due to hemorrhage at an age of 54 years. Morrissey left school when he was 16 years old and joined Wolver Hampton Theater Company. He worked on the costumes and the sets at the theater.

Acting Career


Morrissey auditioned for One Summer in 1982, which was a television series by Willy Russell. The series was made for Yorkshire Television and Channel 4. The story was all about two boys from Liverpool who ran away to Wales one summer. Russell was attached with the Everyman Theater for several years and David often used to see him working behind the bar downstairs from the theater, although both were never introduced to each other formally.

Morrissey had been to almost eight different auditions, one of which was for the role of Icky opposite Paul McGann, who was going to play the role of Billy. Although being five years elder than Morrissey, McGann believed that he was too old to play the role of Billy and finally stepped back from the production. Thus, the role was finally awarded to Morrissey. Spencer Leigh finally played the role of Icky and the role of Rabbit was played by Ian Hart.

Russell basically had a professional disagreement with both the director and the producer, Gordon Flemyng and Keith Richardson over the casting of 18-year old Leigh and Morrissey. He was of the opinion that the sympathy of 16-year olds running away from home is lost by casting older actors for such roles. Subsequently, Russell got his name removed from the credits of the original broadcast. After having filmed One Summer for almost 5 months, Morrissey travelled to Kenya with his cousins. After returning to Britain, he found out that One Summer was being broadcasted on television and he experienced a new feeling of getting public recognition.


After having worked in The Widowmaker, he received plenty of roles in which he was asked to play different obsessive characters. He played the role of a police officer in Framed, Out of the Blue, Between the Lines and Black and Blue. He also played the role of a soldier Andy McNab in The One That Got Away in 1996. While playing the role of Detective Sergeant Jim Llewyn, Morrissey met Peter Bowker for the first time. Bowker was a screenwriter by profession. In 1994, David went on to play the role of customs officer Gerry Birch in the first series of The Knock. In the six-part ITV series Finney, he also played the main role of Stephen Finney. In the same series, Morrissey had assumed the role originated by Sting in Stormy Monday. He had to learn to play double bass for his role in the show.


It was in 2002 that Morrissey returned to the world of television. He started off by playing the role of Franny Rothwell, who was a factory canteen worker wishing to adopt his dead sister’s son. However, his role was only for one episode in the series Clocking Off by Paul Abbott. The Independent described his performance as a rather powerful one. He was also a part of a BBC serial Murder in which he played the part of a tabloid journalist by the name of Dave Dewston. In the single drama Out of Control, David played the role of Mike who was a prison officer.

He did extensive research for the latter part by shadowing prison officers in a young offenders’ institution for almost a week. During the early part of 2003, David played the role of Richie MacGregor in the television drama This Little Life. It was all about a mother who had to cope with his baby who was 16-week premature. Morrissey actually did extensive research on premature babies by discussing with several pediatricians at the Royal Free Hospital located in Hampstead.

Personal Life

David Morrissey married Esther Freud, who was also his girlfriend for more than 13 years. She was a novelist by profession. They married on the 12th of August 2006 on Southwold Pier in a proper ceremony. The two had originally met each other when they were actually set up at a dinner party that was held by Danny Webb who was also Morrissey’s co-star in Robin Hood. David and Esther have three kids till date. Anna, their daughter and Albert and Eugene their two sons.

After marrying Esther, David became in-laws with Susie and Bella, Lucina the painter and Sigmund the psychoanalyst. Morrissey’s family always used to split its time between two homes, North London and Walberswick, Suffolk. Morrissey, along with a team of filmmakers, ran a number of drama workshops in 2009 for the Palestinian refugee children in Beirut. This was in conjunction with UNRWA. After he returned to Britain, David set up CAST or the Creative Arts School Trust.

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