The nephew of New Zealand singer Howard Morrison, Tem has a pretty decent singing voice himself as witnessed in his role as Jake "the Muss" Heke in "Once Were Warriors".
Although he began his career singing with his uncle, Morrison decided early on to be an actor and studied
Temuera blames his failure to make himself a lasting career in Hollywood on his own laziness. He could never manage to learn to speak with an American accent, which very much limited his opportunities in US feature films. Temuera says, " just couldn't master it really," he tells the Star-Times, switching to a mock accent: "I thought I could get away with things. I should have learned the American accent; I couldn't be bothered. In the downtime you should be working your craft, that includes your voice."
Tem grew up in Rotorua, and had seven siblings, one brother and six sisters.
Temuera was one of the celebrity spokesmen for the Child Cancer Foundation's Fight the Monster advertising campaign that got some criticism in New Zealand. Critics objected to the disease being likened to a monster, but the campaign, using animated likenesses of celebrities Morrison, actress Kerre Woodham and radio personality Mikey Havoc brought in more money than previous years.
He was nominated in the 2006 New Zealand Screen Awards for "Best Presenter (Entertainment/Factual)" for his show Mataku.
In 2002, the New Zealand Herald did a top ten poll of favorite Shortland Street characters. Temuera's Dr Hone Ropata was voted number six, because "he managed to play Hone with a barely concealed sense of amusement and a faraway, pining for Guatemala look in his eye."
Temuera is of Maori descent, and has worked for the government of New Zealand in the Departments of Justice and Maori Affairs. He is part of the Te Arawa iwi (tribe).
Temuera is quite athletic, and enjoys boxing, rugby, martial arts, and water skiing.
Awards: 1994 NZ Film and Television Award for Best Actor in Film for Once Were Warriors. 1994 Entertainer of the Year Awards for top Award of Best Entertainer of the Year. 1999 Nokia Film and Television Awards Best Actor in Film What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
Temuera is represented professionally by the Robert Bruce Agency of Auckland.
Temuera was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1996 for his Services to Drama.
Temuera was given the honor of welcoming Prince Andrew of England to Rotorua's Te Papaiouru Marae. The prince was in town to award a bravery citation to the son of World War II legend, Lance Sergeant Haane Manahi. Upon arrival at Te Papaiouru Marae, Rotorua-born Morrison greeted him with a powhiri, which is an official Maori welcome.
In 2001, Temuera, his uncle Sir Howard Morrison and Lucy Lawless ("Xena") gave three musical performances to help raise money for the Starship children's hospital annual appeal.It was a personal matter for the Morrisons, since Sir Howard's own 21-month-old granddaughter was admitted to the hospital.
After the release of Star Wars Episode II in which Temuera played the role of Jango Fett, he went on a convention tour with Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett in Episodes V and VI. Often they would end their appearance with a mock fight to decide which Fett was the better bad guy. The crowd usually rooted against Tem, despite his humorous war cry, "Who's your daddy?!"
Temuera says that his reaction to the news that he had won the role of Boba Fett's father in Star Wars Episode II and III was, "Yes! I got Boba, Boba Fett! Yes... who the? Who's Boba?!" He immediately rented and watched Star Wars Episode IV and was very disappointed when Boba wasn't in it, which forced him to rent the next movie.
Tem, as one of the stars of Once Were Warriors and the blockbusters Star Wars: Episode II and III, has lent his face to the "Buy Original, See Original" campaign aimed at curbing movie piracy in New Zealand. As one of the campaign's spokemen, he says that piracy is not "a victimless crime", and that jobs are threatened by it.
Temuera laments the fact that he always seems to die in his movies. But he says that dying in a movie is not nearly so bad as filming a number of scenes and having them end up on the cutting room floor, which has happened to him as well.
Tem did his voice work for Star Wars Episode III over the phone- he being in New Zealand, speaking to the studio in LA!
Before action scenes, Tem sometimes does a "Haka" dance, which is a Maori dance performed by warriors to intimidate the enemy.
In early 2004, Temuera was in a motorcycle accident. He broke one of his legs in two places, and had to have a pair of pins inserted into it.
Temuera was the best man at the wedding of fellow Kiwi actor Jay Laga'aia.
Temuera dated actress Angela Dotchin for quite a while, but after six years together they separated. The reason for the break-up wasn't made public, but Angela did point out that Temuera moved to LA to promote his career, while Angela chose to stay in New Zealand.
Tem does voices in the video games - Star Wars: Battlefront I and II, Star Wars: Empire ar War, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter and Star Wars: Republic Commando.
Temuera Morrison voiced over the original Boba Fett in the 2004 DVD release of the Star Wars trilogy.
Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m) with black hair and brown eyes.
Temuera: (referring to his days on "Shortland Street") I used to walk around the place on telephone books or I would have telephone books all over the set when I was in a scene with actors taller than me so it happened quite a lot.
Temuera: (when asked if he got paid for each clone for "Star Wars Episode III") You know what, I should have got paid for all of those roles! You know what, I'm just gonna have to save that for my next film. And when I have an emotional scene, I'll just think of the fact that I missed out on so much, and the tears will start flowing!
Temuera: (referring to his movie roles) I just hate dying. One day someone's going to put me in a movie where I get the girl at the end and we walk away into the sunset. But I'm still waiting for that.
Temuera: (when asked about his "Star Wars" action figure) I'm the only guy that can play with myself in public and get away with it!
Temuera: (on shifting between characters) Finding the anger and pain of Jake (from "Once Were Warriors"), and then losing it after the filming finished was tough. I got back to Shortland Street after finishing the movie and I wanted to swear at all of the nurses and patients!
Temuera: (on his role as the clone commandos for "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith") I'm not in it a lot, but there's a lot of me in it.
Temuera: You know Star Wars is the only movie you can be in for two seconds and be famous.
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