Tom Morga has worn his share of legendary masks as a part of many of the most iconic movies and TV shows of all time, and he holds the distinction of being the only performer to play Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, and Michael Myers on screen.
After playing Jason and “Pseudo Jason” Roy in 1985’s Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning and appearing as Leatherface in the opening scene of Tobe Hooper’s 1986 Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Morga was hired to be the new Michael Myers in the 1988 sequel that would resurrect The Shape and serve as an entry point to the franchise for a whole new generation.
While his name may not come up as often as that of George P. Wilbur when discussing Halloween 4, Tom Morga was absolutely instrumental in The Return of Michael Myers, as he is the first Myers seen on screen in the opening ambulance sequence and he is The Shape wrapped in gauze at the gas station and in that memorable diner scene with Donald Pleasence’s Dr. Loomis. It is also Morga who puts on the Myers mask just before spooking young Danielle Harris (as Jamie Lloyd) as she’s looking for her costume in the drug store.
Much like Halloween II‘s Dick Warlock (who was stunt coordinator on Friday the 13th: A New Beginning; read our interview here), Morga’s massively impressive filmography goes far beyond the horror genre (though he was also in The Exorcist III and killed by Chucky in Child’s Play 3). He has appeared in more Star Trek films and TV shows as more different species than anyone ever, not to mention work on all four of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean films, as well as Ghostbusters, Commando, Army of Darkness, Independence Day, Spider-Man, The Shawshank Redemption as Tim Robbins’ stunt double, and The Lost World: Jurassic Park as Jeff Goldblum’s stunt double, to name a few.
In a twisted mingling of revered franchises, he worked on Jaws 2, following Warlock’s work on Spielberg’s original Jaws, and then was a stunt double on Jaws: The Revenge for Lance Guest, who co-starred in Halloween II with Warlock.
I talked to Tom Morga at this past October’s historic H40: Forty Years of Terror Halloween anniversary event in Pasadena, CA., where he was among a total of 19 actors and stuntmen that played Myers throughout all 11 films of the franchise that were in attendance along with over 50 other cast and crew, the largest gathering of its kind in history.
Read on for our interview with Tom Morga.
So you and George Wilbur shared the role of Michael Myers in Halloween 4. How did that come to be?
I was doing the movie, and they changed several things. The director of photography wasn’t satisfying the director or the producers right, so they had some changes with him, and something else. Then, for whatever reason, they decided to get a different person for Michael.
I never was told (why). I did half the movie, and then George came in. They said, ‘George is going to take over and do the rest of this.’ So I said, ‘Okay.’ At the time, I didn’t think it was that big of a thing. I didn’t do anything to get myself replaced, I thought. But for whatever reason, they were going to do it. So I had done about half the movie.
Then later down the line, I hear that there are conventions and that George has been going to conventions. I said, ‘Really?’ Then later on, I was asked to go (to the conventions). So it comes full circle.
And you’ve not only played Michael Myers, but you also played Jason and “Pseudo Jason” Roy in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.
With Jason, Dick Wieand played the ambulance driver (unmasked Roy), because in the film, it wasn’t the real Jason (doing the killing). He was a copycat killer. And I did all of the stuff in the mask.
So Dick did the conventions for years and signed pictures, and finally somebody asked, “Who’s this guy that doubled for Roy?’ And he said, ‘Well it was a stunt guy.’ And they said, ‘And he wore the mask?’ So then I was asked to come to conventions. But I had no idea it was going to be like this.
Here we are again today, 40 years after Halloween.
And it’s been 30 years since Halloween 4. It’s unbelievable that all of this has come from that.
I’ve done a lot of different shows. I did over 20 years of Star Trek stuff, and they used to have the conventions for that. And horror movies, I was in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and I did Chucky and got killed (in Child’s Play 3). You book around and you do a lot of stuff, and you don’t know what’s going to be big or what isn’t.
I’ve done movies that I thought were (going to be) complete bombs. When I did Ghostbusters (as Harold Ramis’s stunt double), we had no idea that it was going to be a good movie at all, because they were using computer graphics for the first time. They tell you, ‘Just look at the wall. There’s going to be something there.’ And everybody says, ‘This is a joke. Just make sure you cash the checks.’ Then out comes Ghostbusters. (laughs) You never know.
For more Halloween news, follow @HalloweenDaily.