PORTRAYED PRINCIPAL MORTON IN 'CARRIE'
Stefan Gierasch, the character actor who played Principal Morton in Brian De Palma's Carrie, has died at the age of 88. His wife of 33 years, Hedy Sontag, told The Hollywood Reporter that Gierasch passed away at his Santa Monica home on September 6, of complications from a stroke. As Principal Morton, in one brief scene, Gierasch memorably created a distinctly inept authority figure who is so flustered by the sight of blood on the gym teacher's shorts, and the just-prior situation in the locker room, that he consistently calls Carrie "Cassie," drawing her rage. Gierasch's facial expressions in this scene say it all, but his line, "We're all sorry, Cassie," becomes a key echo in the kaleidoscope of voices in Carrie's head after the blood spills over her at the prom. Principal Morton is later electrocuted trying to take control of a microphone amid Carrie's vengeful carnage.
Prior to Carrie, Gierasch appeared with Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman in Robert Rossen's The Hustler, which also starred Carrie's Piper Laurie. Post-Carrie, Gierasch, who did tons of TV work throughout his long acting career, appeared on an episode of the TV series The Greatest American Hero, which starred Tommy Ross himself, William Katt.
Other films Gierasch appeared in include Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up Doc?, Richard Fleischer's The New Centurions, Sydney Pollack's Jeremiah Johnson, and Clint Eastwood's High Plains Drifter. He also appeared on an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1963, as well as an episode of Alfred Hitchock Presents in 1985.