Glen Morgan

Glen Morgan Headshot

Writer • Producer • Director

Birth Date: July 12, 1961

Age: 62 years old

Birth Place: Syracuse, New York

Along with writing partner James Wong, Glen Morgan carved a name for himself as one of the foremost talents behind the science fiction phenomenon "The X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002), seeding a career as producer-writer of some of most textured, and critically lauded television shows of the early 2000s. Morgan and Wong, his friend since high school, emerged from Stephen J. Cannell Productions' flurry of early 1990s primetime network shows, among them "21 Jump Street" (Fox, 1987-1991) and "The Commish" (ABC, 1991-95), to land onboard Chris Carter's incipient sci-fi franchise "The X-Files" in 1993. Fox made Morgan and Wong the first of Carter's voluminous talent pool to graduate to their own shows, with the duo creating the short-lived "Space: Above and Beyond" (1995-96). After a brief return to "The X-Files," they took the helm of Carter's subsequent spookfest "Millennium" (1996-1999). Morgan and Wong veered into feature films in the new century, conceiving the "Final Destination" film series and putting slick modern twists on horror classics with "Willard" (2003) and "Black Christmas" (2006), with Morgan taking the director's chair for both. Ensconced as a sci-fi expert, Morgan, sans Wong, would be lured back to television to produce some short-lived genre programs like "The Bionic Woman" (NBC, 2007) before landing a co-executive producer spot with the Steven Spielberg-produced adventure series "The River" (ABC, 2012). Like so many of the "X-Files" creative team, Morgan's would make his signature stamp on American sci-fi and horror, typically bespeaking textured characters and visionary storylines.

He was born Glen Alan Morgan on July 7, 1961, in Syracuse, NY. His father, Wayne Morgan, an insurance salesman, moved the family to the San Diego suburb of El Cajon in 1975. An avid film buff, the father took Glen and younger brother Darin to the movies often, sharing his love of cinematic classics with his sons. Morgan attended El Cajon Valley High School, where, in the 10th grade Honors English class, he met James Wong when the two were assigned to critique each other's stories. They became fast friends, and though Wong busied himself with sports, Morgan convinced him to take classes with drama teacher Bob Howard, who encouraged students to write and produce their own works. Upon graduation, they both matriculated at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where they roomed together. Morgan majored in film and Wong in engineering. An advance screening of "Apocalypse Now" (1979) during their first semester, however, lit Wong's creative fire and he switched to film as well. They cut their teeth in the industry doing production assistant work for B-movie maestro Sandy Howard at Republic Entertainment, who would produce their first feature script. Up-and-coming director Penelope Spheeris would direct their "The Boys Next Door" (1985), the story of a couple of bad-boy high school graduates (Charlie Sheen and Maxwell Caulfield) who take a road-trip to L.A. that that turns into a killing spree.

Morgan and Wong helped friends make a low-budget horror film, "Trick or Treat" (1986), with Morgan taking a featured supporting role. By decade's end, both landed with the prolific and writer-friendly TV production company Stephen J. Cannell Productions. They worked on a number of Cannell shows, mostly shot in Vancouver, Canada. They took executive story editor jobs on the company's "21 Jump Street," a show about youthful-looking cops working undercover in high schools, as well as on a "Jump Street" spin-off, "Booker" (Fox, 1989-90) - and in the process, became known affectionately in-company as "the Wong Brothers." Morgan and Wong did a brief stint as supervising producers on the last season of Cannell's CBS drama "Wiseguy" (1987-90). As co-writers, they contributed scripts to "Jump Street" and a subsequent Cannell show, the offbeat cop drama "The Commish," for which they served as supervising producers. In 1993, a new Fox production arrived in Vancouver, helmed by newbie producer Chris Carter. Carter poached Morgan and Wong, making them co-executive producers of "The X-Files." The show would follow two FBI agents, Mulder and Scully (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, respectively), as they investigated different paranormal cases each week - some stand-alone stories characterized as "monster-of-the-week" episodes; others bound by what was dubbed "mythology." Wong, Morgan, writer and later producer Frank Spotnitz and Carter would be key architects of the Byzantine arc that would run the agents afoul of a powerful shadow-government cabal, alternately complicity with a stealth alien invasion and attempting to develop alien/human hybrids to fend it off.

Tucked into Fox's Friday night lineup, the new show did not fare well in the ratings initially but swiftly developed a cult buzz helped along by the newly emerging Internet. In the second season Morgan scored a role for brother Darin as the monster-of-the-week, Flukeman, an ultra-creepy human-worm hybrid; the younger Morgan would go on to be an Emmy-winning writer for the show. As ratings for "The X-Files" climbed, Fox gave Morgan and Wong a chance to create on their own shows, inking their production company Hard Eight Pictures to a four-year, $8 million deal. They conceived the idea of recasting World War II in space, a show that would follow one platoon of marine fliers battling relentless alien foes. "Space: Above and Beyond" premiered on Fox's 1995 fall schedule, wielding impressive special effects and drawing some critical appreciation, but the show never found a footing and only lasted a season. Morgan began a relationship with one of his cast members, Kristen Cloke; the couple married in 1998.

Carter's Ten Thirteen Productions became a skunk works of rotating talent as the growing pop cultural currency of "The X-Files" afforded him new projects. Morgan and Wong returned to "The X-Files" in the 1996-97 season, ushering many of their "Space" cast - including Cloke - to featured guest roles on the show. The next year, Carter made them showrunners on "Millennium," his new Fox series about a profiler of serial killers (Lance Henricksen). The Wong Brothers introduced a mythology arc to that show as well, plus a new character played by Cloke, while continuing to contribute scripts to "The X-Files" and developing pilot concepts for Fox, none of them greenlit. One of their greatest creations to "The X-Files," the conspiracy-nerd whistleblower bloggers The Lone Gunmen, would also be spun-off briefly into their own series in 2001. In 1999, Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks signed Morgan and Wong to develop TV projects. The next year, they took executive producer roles on "The Others" (2000), which followed the exploits of a cloister of people with otherworldly abilities prepping themselves to combat a looming supernatural darkness. The show did not survive past 13 episodes as a mid-season replacement. They had also begun playing with a story idea pitched to "The X-Files" by writer James Reddick but rejected. Morgan, Wong and Reddick sold it to New Line Cinema as the feature "Final Destination," a horror outing in which a teenager (Devon Sawa) stops a number of his high school friends and a teacher from boarding a plane that crashes soon after takeoff, making them targets of an incarnate Death out to set his ledger right via a series of Rube Goldbergerian "accidents." The teacher, suffering a peculiarly grizzly end, was played by Cloke, who would continue to be a regular cast member in Morgan's projects. With the film making $113 million in total global box-office receipts, a tidy profit off a $23 million budget, New Line spun "Final Destination" into a franchise, making four sequels. Morgan and Wong returned to write, produce and direct (Wong) the third outing in 2006.

The talented duo reprised their producer-director setup their next co-written script, the sci-fi actioner "The One" (2001), which starred Jet Li in dual roles as cop attempting to track down his alternative universe doppelganger who has become a superpowered killer. In 2003, the team put a new spin on the 1971 horror film "Willard," the story of an awkward young man who becomes the master of a horde of rats - this time with Morgan directing. Morgan would helm another collaborative retro-retread, "Black Christmas," centered around a psycho-killer preying on the girls of a sorority house. With his credentials in reboots established, NBC hired Morgan as showrunner on its action series "The Bionic Woman" (2007), but Morgan disliked the creative direction of the show, as did most critics and fans, and he departed after four episodes. In 2010, Morgan was lured back to TV by producer-writer Paul Dini, who made him showrunner - and brother Darin a writer and supervising producer - on "Tower Prep." The innovative Cartoon Network (live-action) show followed a troubled teen who finds himself shanghaied to a mysterious high school for "problem children," where he must not only deal with the typical trials of growing up but also how and why he came to be there and how to escape. When that show shuttered after a season, Morgan again went to work for Spielberg on an ambitious Dreamworks series, "The River." Set in the dark, remote tracts of the Amazon River basin, the show premiered in February 2012, revolving around a documentary crew tracking down a TV host/scientist who has seemingly disappeared into the vast jungle.

By Matthew Grimm

News aboutGlen Morgan