b. Ursula Eileen Patricia Augusta Fraser Morison, 19 March 1915, New York City, New York, USA. Born into a showbusiness family, Morison’s father was an actor and playwright, her mother a theatrical agent, she attended drama school and also studied dance under Martha Graham. She made her Broadway debut in the early 30s and late in the decade was signed by Paramount Pictures. The stage shows in which she appeared included The Two Bouquets (1938), while among her films were The Magnificent Fraud (1939), One Night In Lisbon (1941), Beyond The Blue Horizon (1942), The Fallen Sparrow, The Song Of Bernadette (both 1943), Lady On A Train (1945), Dressed To Kill (1946) and Song Of The Thin Man (1947). Meanwhile, she had made occasional return trips to New York for shows such as Allah Be Praised (1944), but with her film career going nowhere thanks to being cast in indifferent films, she decided to concentrate on Broadway and won the leading role in Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate (1948).
As Lilli Vanessi/Katherine, she co-starred with Alfred Drake; songs that she introduced included ‘Wunderbar’, ‘So In Love’ and ‘I Hate Men’. This show was not only a box-office success, it was also a personal triumph for Morison. Thereafter, she was mostly seen on the stage, including taking over as Anna in 1954 in The King And I, with which production she also toured. She and Drake reprised their roles for a critically acclaimed NBC-TV production of Kiss Me, Kate (1958). Morison made some more movies, including Song Without End (1960) and Won Ton Ton, The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976). She also made appearances in concert into the 90s, singing the Porter songs with which she was still most readily linked.