How they got their start: Kathryn Morris

By: Start TV Staff     Posted: October 11, 2018, 3:29PM

Image: Universal Pictures

As Lilly Rush on Cold Case, the actress Kathryn Morris was essentially a time traveler, more widely traveled than even Dr. Sam Beckett of Quantum Leap. The crime drama pivots around Morris, showing two sides of her investigation: what happened in the past and what the homicide detective is doing now to resolve it. As the cold case sleuth Lilly Rush, Kathryn Morris had a motto: "People shouldn't be forgotten."

Today, we're applying that motto to Morris' career, taking a look back at her earliest roles to see how one of our favorite TV detectives got her start as an actress. For Morris, it all began in 1991 with a part in the TV movie Long Road Home, where she played the daughter of a has-been rodeo star. That same year, she leapt straight to the big screen, though, in a film that's likely much more memorable because it was so extremely of the moment for any kid who grew up in the 1990s.

Yes, we're talking about Cool as Ice, the Vanilla Ice vehicle that served as a rough remake of the Marlon Brando classic The Wild One. In it, Morris plays Jenny, one of the cool kids and friend of Ice's love interest. The movie was not just Morris' big-screen debut, but Ice's too (and Naomi Campbell, who appears briefly as a nightclub singer!). It features Vanilla Ice rapping and jumping cars on a motorcycle, and at just 22, it's easy to recognize Morris, hanging out in a retro 1950s haircut, one of the few nods to the era of Brando's film.

Although Cool as Ice was definitely not a box office smash (it only made back a tenth of its $6 million budget in its opening weekend), it wasn't a career ruiner, which is what Gwyneth Paltrow's father insisted when he forbid her from accepting the part as Vanilla Ice's love interest. Instead, Morris continued working in TV and movies throughout the 1990s, building up to bigger parts in the 2000s in films like Minority Report, Paycheck and Mindhunters. In 2003, she was cast on Cold Case, quickly becoming a favorite among TV critics. 

This year, Morris made her return to TV on the new sci-fi series Reverie, where she plays a Defense Department official intrigued by a virtual reality simulator being used in an experimental project to solve crimes. As both an actress and TV crimefighter, at least, she's proven to share one thing in common with her first-ever Hollywood costar. As Vanilla Ice sang, "I don't sweat it under pressure / 'Cause I'm cool as Ice."

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