Tracy Morgan is an American actor and comedian best known for his eight seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live (1996–2003), 30 Rock (2006–2013) and his 2010 buddy cop film Cop Out. He was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2009 for his work on 30 Rock. He has appeared in numerous films as an actor and voice actor.
Morgan was born in the Bronx and raised in a housing project in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His father named him Tracy in honor of a platoon mate and friend who shipped off to Vietnam with him and was killed in action days later. He is the second of five children of homemaker Alicia (née Warden), and Jimmy Morgan, a musician who returned from military duty in the Vietnam War as a recovering heroin addict, causing him to leave the family when Morgan was six years old.
The target of bullies as a child, Morgan attended DeWitt Clinton High School. In 1985, at age 17 in his second year, he learned his father had contracted AIDS from hypodermic needle use. His father died in November 1987, at age 39. Morgan married his girlfriend Sabina that year and dropped out of high school just four credits short of his diploma to care for his ailing father. Already raising their first son and living on welfare, Morgan sold crack cocaine with limited success, but began earning money performing comedy on the streets after his best friend was murdered. He said in 2009: “He would say to me, ‘Yo, Tracy, man, you should be doing comedy.’ A week later, he was murdered. And that for me, that was like my Vietnam. I had my survival guilt when I started to achieve success. Why I made it out and some guys didn’t.”
Morgan embarked on a stand-up comedy career, successfully enough that he “finally moved to a nice community in [the Bronx neighborhood of] Riverdale, from a run-down apartment next to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx”.