Robert Morse, who plays Bert Cooper, spoke with AMCtv.com about Cooper’s unexpected resignation and that mysterious orchiectomy.
Q: Bert Cooper quits! Did you have any idea that was coming?
A: You never know with Matt [Weiner] what is going to happen, and you never know what the future will bring, whether I’ll be going to the unemployment line looking for another job or whether I’ll be coming back or anything. So all I do is pick up my shoes and say good-bye to everybody and I’m out of the office. What happens next year I don’t know. I hope I get a phone call. I think it’s the best show in the world. … Maybe we’ll have to get a thing going: bring Robert Morse back.
Q: How did your fellow cast members react when they found out Cooper quit?
A: Most of the guys and gals say, “Oh you’ll be back, don’t worry. We like you, and you’re such a good addition to the show.” But then again they say you never know what’s up Matt’s sleeve. In The Sopranos, when he was working on that show, it was easy to get rid of somebody. They just shoot ‘em. On this show we don’t shoot people. Not yet.
Q: Have you ever quit a show or a production?
A: Not that I remember. I would never do that. … I’ve been fired. Most actors have been fired during their career. I think Julie Harris was fired about 10 times. I’ve done things years and years ago where they said no it isn’t working out, or what have you, and that’s the way life is. You’ve gotta just realize you’re not alone.
Q: Cooper didn’t have an office this season…
A: That must have been a portent of things to come. [Laughs.] I wanna tell you what I really think about Jon Hamm. Jon Hamm did a scene [in Episode 6, "Waldorf Stories"] where he was inebriated. I’ve seen a lot of movies and a lot of TV and a lot of actors play drunk scenes, but I have never seen one as brilliant as Jon Hamm in that episode. It should be commended. Sometimes things go by the way and you don’t notice it, you take it for granted, but that was brilliant, the way he handled that. I even think he was better than Ray Milland and Jack Lemmon when they play the alcoholics.
Q: How did you react when you found out Bert Cooper had an orchiectomy? Did you know what that was before reading the script?
A: I don’t even know what it is now. [Laughs.] They mentioned it and I never went to Google to look it up. … As far as I know it’s a procedure down there, and down for there for me at my age is really down there. You can say that.
Q: A lot of fans wondered who Dr. Lyle Evans was when the name first came up in the meeting about Honda. Were you told right away who he was?
A: No, I wasn’t told anything. It was just passed out across the table and I asked and no one told me. They said more will be revealed. They always say this to you: “More will be revealed,” in capital letters. Don’t ask. More will be revealed. Why am I barefoot? More will be revealed.
Q: Much of this season has been about Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce scrapping for new business. You’ve been in show business for a while. Have you ever had to scrap for work?
A: Oh my god, you always have to. I think you always have to keep your eye open and take advantage of anything that may come your way. I remember the actor Burgess Meredith used to say to me, “Bobby, you know something? I never, ever turn down a job.” I went, really? “Bobby, I never turn down a thing.” Now I won’t say I’ve never turned down anything, but I’ve always remembered that motto and looked carefully when things were offered to me.
Q: Great things have come out of your role as Bert Cooper, including Emmy nominations. Congrats on the second one earlier this year.
A: [The winner] John Lithgow was absolutely wonderful in Dexter, there’s no doubt about it. I hate competitions between actors and I have no negative feelings like, “Dammit, I should have won,” or anything like that. I’ve got an Emmy. I’m very happy with two Tonys and an Emmy.
Q: Where are the statues?
A: I’m looking at them. They’re up on top of a cupboard over there, gathering dust.
Q: Do you ever think about doing theater again?
A: I haven’t absolutely ruled it out, but at my age there are not that many parts offered to you. Also [there's] the fact of doing eight shows a week and maybe being away from my family at this age. Right now I’m so happy with Mad Men and I hope I continue, but we’ll see. That’s all up to Matt.