Lamorne Morris trained at Chicago's famous Second City, had his own show on BET, hosted a game show on the Cartoon Channel, acted in award-winning independent films and performed in commercials for Miller Lite, McDonald's and many other companies.
But he credits his life in Glen Ellyn and his years at for his success, including being a co-star in the new Fox comedy series, New Girl, which premieres Sept. 20. He plays Winston, one of three guys who share an apartment that also becomes home to Jess (Zooey Deschanel), who just broke up with her boyfriend.
"My entire career, since I started professionally at age 20, has been because of Glen Ellyn," he told the Glen Ellyn Patch. "It contributed everything to who I am now. All of my friends, my teachers, the neighborhood all made me who I am now. I give everything to that."
Morris recalled that, when he went to Glenbard South, he and his brother were among the handful of African-Americans to attend the school. That only increased his appetite for getting even more attention.
"I used to make a lot of jokes in class," he recalled. "I'd get kicked out of class. Some teachers would just send me to detention but one teacher would give me minutes in class to tell jokes." That was Robert Dobosz, his math teacher.
"Lamorne was a bright student with little desire to use any math in the future,' recalled Dobosz. "That was fine with me as long as he did enough to pass and graduate so he could move on with his career choice. He was always practicing his routines and I truly could see the potential he had in the field."
Morris said his math teacher pointed him toward Second City. "I may have made the comment about trying out for amateur night at Second City in jest or it might have had a bit of seriousness to it," Dobosz said. "He was the first of my students to 'earn' that line from me and I now use it whenever I encounter a student with similar wit."
It was good advice at the right time. During high school he didn't know what his career should be. "I thought I was going to play basketball but I wasn't that good," Morris said. "So I went to Second City specifically because of the advice I'd been given at Glenbard South."
Being cast in New Girl is his biggest break yet but it took a little luck to get it. Morris is not in the pilot episode of the series, which features Damon Wayans Jr. as one of the occupants of the apartment. Wayans, however, had to drop out when ABC decided to renew Happy Endings, a show to which Wayans was previously committed.
Producers of New Girl remembered Morris' previous auditions and chose him to play a new character, rather than the character played in the pilot by Wayans.
"The coolest part is I didn't have to change too much of who I was," said Morris. "My type of comedy meshed very well with the rest of the cast.
Brett Baer, an executive producer of the Fox show, said they auditioned 200 to 300 people for the role that Wayans eventually got. Morris was one of them and he made an impression on the producers.
"So it just happened to work in our favor that he was available to us and he was somebody we wanted to work with," Baer said. Baer said Morris genuinely impressed him and the crew because he was hilarious right out of the gate.
Proof positive that taking good advice in high school can pay off.