Frank Lee Morris

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Franklin Lee Morris

Also Known As: "Frank", "Frankie"
Birthplace: Gallinger Hospital (currently known as D.C. General Hospital), Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
Death: Missing-presumed drown-body never found
Immediate Family:

Son of unknown father and Clara, mother of Franklin Lee Morris

Occupation: Laborer (Shoe Repair), Mechanical Draftsman
Note: Escaped June 11, 1962. Living status unknown.
Managed by: Livio Scremin
Last Updated:

About Frank Lee Morris

Franklin "Frank" Lee Morris quick facts- Born 9/1/1926 Gallinger Hospital Washington D.C. Orphaned at or about age 11 His vocation was a laborer in shoe repair. Frank was also trained in Mechanical Drafting. Frank Lee Morris was documented as having an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of 133 Height: between 5 feet , 71/2 inches and 5 feet, 8 inches.

Jail Record-A lifetime of Delinquency Below is a partial listing of Frank's incarcerations; 11/13/1940-sentenced to National Training School for Boys, North Eastern Washington D.C. 1943-Reform School at Chillicothe, Ohio 1945-National Traing School for Boys, North Eastern Washington D.C. 11/19/1945 thru 7/12/1948 Inmate Louisiana State Penitentiary later in the year 1948- Florida State Penitentiary 6/13/1952 Louisiana State Penitentiary This being a partial listing, Frank eventually is sentenced to Alcatraz.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  • Frank Morris mugshot taken at Alcatraz, 1960
  • Born Frank Lee Morris
  • September 1, 1926
  • Washington, D.C., United States
  • Criminal charge Possession of narcotics, armed robbery
  • Criminal penalty Life imprisonment
  • Imprisoned at Last imprisoned at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary until escape in 1962

Frank Lee Morris (born September 1, 1926) is an American criminal who took part in the June 1962 Alcatraz escape with fellow prisoners and accomplices John and Clarence Anglin. The fate of Morris remains a mystery that has become a part of American folklore; he was never seen nor heard from again, and is presumed deceased.

The three men who took part in the escape attempt are officially listed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as missing and presumed drowned. The United States Marshals Service continues, however, to investigate and considers their missing status to be an open case.[1]


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Alcatraz
  • 3 Popular culture
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Early life Frank Morris was born in Washington, D.C.[2] He was abandoned by his mother and father during his childhood, and was orphaned at age 11.[3] He spent most of his early years in jail serving lunch to prisoners. The associate warden's record card at Alcatraz Prison lists his "Crimes Involved" as "Juv. Deliq.-2; Runaways-2; Breaking & Entering-1; Burglary-1; Narcotics & Armed Robbery-1; Unlawful Flight, Mann Act, & Bank Robbery-1."[4] Morris was said to have an IQ of 133, which is in the top 3%.[5]


Cell vents

On January 3, 1960, Morris was shipped to Alcatraz, where he became prisoner AZ1441. Morris reportedly began planning his escape within a year of his arrival at Alcatraz.[6] Three others were involved: John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Allen West (who may have masterminded the plot[7] but was the only conspirator who did not participate in the escape, as he was unable to finish removing the ventilator grill in his cell in time to join the other escapees.[8]). The escape was long and complicated and one of the most intricate ever devised. Over a period of two years, Morris, West and the Anglin brothers created a raft and constructed lifelike dummies created in their image out of paper mache and human hair collected from the prison's barbershop to place in their cells, and stole prison tools for digging. So many escape materials had been used by the conspirators that they had created a workshop above their cell row.

Allen West was cleaning above their cell row and asked wardens if he could cover the area with blankets. West explained his cleaning area was extremely dusty and dust was falling down on the prison floor. These blankets completely covered West's workshop area. By May 1962, they had dug through the air vents at the back of the cells, working in shifts, with someone keeping lookout while others dug. On the night of June 11, 1962, the attempt went ahead. The group placed the dummies in their beds, escaped through the vents at the back of their cells and into the utility corridor. They then proceeded onto the roof and down to the bay. There they boarded the raft they had constructed and disappeared into the night.

The following morning prison officers found dummies lying in the beds and the prisoners missing. The raft and two of the life preservers were later found in the bay together with a waterproof bag containing personal effects of the Anglins. The FBI authorities were certain the men had drowned.[9] They cited the fact that "the individuals' personal effects were the only belongings they had, and the men would have drowned before leaving them behind."

However, when authorities searched for bodies, none were found. Harlem crime boss Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson claimed to have known of the plot and told authorities that he had arranged for a boat to pick the men up from the bay. However, his testimony was given little credit due to his background and prior attempts of lying to gain favor or plea deals. The FBI said in their report that on July 17, 1962, a Norwegian ship spotted a body floating in the water 20 miles northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge. Although they did not retrieve the body and did not report the sighting until October, they told the police the body was dressed in clothes that prisoners on Alcatraz used, and that the body resembled that of Frank Morris.[10]

According to the 2011 National Geographic documentary, Vanished from Alcatraz, bones from a human were found eight months after the escape on the shore near the place where the Norwegian ship had spotted a body. The bones were recovered and buried and on Vanished from Alcatraz, the bones were dug up, and DNA from the bones was compared to one of Morris's paternal relatives. The DNA did not match and so the bones were not Morris's, although it is not certain if they belonged to the floating body at all.

Dummy head found in Morris's cell.

In the end, authorities pointed out that the chances of the prisoners surviving the trip across the bay were slim. The men were habitual criminals yet were never arrested again. The FBI officially closed the case on December 31, 1979, concluding that "no credible evidence emerged to suggest the men were still alive" (though there have been many subsequent reconstructions and yearly triathlon events held to commemorate the event). There have been sightings of the three men over the years which provides circumstantial evidence that they might have survived. [11] If Morris did survive the escape and is still alive today, he would be 89 years old.

Popular culture

Main articles: Escape from Alcatraz (book) and Escape from Alcatraz (film)

In 1963, J. Campbell Bruce published his book Escape from Alcatraz about escapes from Alcatraz Island, including that of Morris and the Anglin brothers.[12] The 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz starred Clint Eastwood, Fred Ward, and Jack Thibeau as Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin respectively. Allen West was played by Larry Hankin; his character's name was changed to Charley Butts.[13]

Frank Morris and the 1962 escape were examined in a 2011 National Geographic Channel program titled Vanished from Alcatraz. According to the newly uncovered official records discussed on the program, a raft was discovered on Angel Island with footprints leading away. There was also a report of a stolen car in the area that night, which could have been used by Morris and the other escapees. While confirming these facts, which were hidden from the officials for quite some time, the findings of further investigations remain inconclusive. As a result, the U.S. Marshal’s office is still investigating this case, which will remain open on all three escapees until their 100th birthdays.[14]

The TV show MythBusters showed that in similar conditions a raft made of raincoats could be paddled across to the Marin Headlands with three men aboard. Also mentioned at the end of the show, was a compelling report of a paddle found on a part of Angel Island where the current led directly (and only) from the Marin Headlands. The show concluded it is “plausible” that the prisoners may have survived their escape attempt.

In 2008, the pop rock band Capital Lights released the song "Frank Morris" on their album This is an Outrage!. The song is evidently about the famous prison escape Morris took part in.

In 2011, an 89-year-old man named Bud Morris, who claimed he was a cousin of Frank Morris, claimed that on "eight or nine" occasions prior to the escape he delivered envelopes of money to Alcatraz guards, presumably as bribes. Morris further claimed to have met his cousin face to face in a San Diego park shortly after the escape. Bud Morris's daughter, who was "eight or nine" years old at the time, said she was present at the meeting with "Dad's friend, Frank", but "had no idea [about the escape]".[15]

See also

  • List of Alcatraz escape attempts
  • List of people who disappeared mysteriously
  • Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe


  • Jump up ^ Pruitt, Sarah (October 9, 2015). "Escape From Alcatraz: June 11, 1962". A&E Television Networks, LLC.
  • Jump up ^ "Alcatraz Escape Part 2 of 17" (PDF). FBI Records: The Vault. p. 52. Retrieved 2011-08-06. In 1955 Vital Statistic Records, Washington, D. C., revealed FRANK MORRIS was born September 1, 1926, Gallinger Hospital, Washington, D. C.
  • Jump up ^ McFadden, Robert D. (June 9, 2012). "Anniversary of a Mystery at Alcatraz". The New York Times.
  • Jump up ^ "The Great Escape From Alcatraz". Ocean View Publishing Company. p. 1. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  • Jump up ^ McFadden, Robert D. (June 9, 2012). "Tale of 3 Inmates Who Vanished From Alcatraz Maintains Intrigue 50 Years Later". New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  • Jump up ^ Ocean View Publishing Company. "The Great Escape from Alcatraz". Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  • Jump up ^ "Alcatraz: Living Hell". National Geographic Channel. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  • Jump up ^ "The Great Escape from Alcatraz". Ocean View Publishing Company. p. 2. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  • Jump up ^ "A byte out of history – Escape from Alcatraz". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
  • Jump up ^ Unsolved Mysteries-episode about the escape on YouTube
  • Jump up ^ History Channel documentary on YouTube
  • Jump up ^ Bruce, Campbell J. (1963). Escape from Alcatraz. ISBN 1-58008-678-0.
  • Jump up ^ "Escape from Alcatraz (1979)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-12-07.
  • Jump up ^ "Vanished from Alcatraz (2011)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  • Jump up ^ "Rome man claims he had role in escape from Alcatraz (2011)". WXIA-TV. Retrieved 2011-12-31.

External links

  • Morris profiled at America's Most Wanted
  • The Great Alcatraz Escape
  • Frank Morris: Born in D.C., Escaped From Alcatraz - short bio on Frank Morris by Ghosts of DC
  • Frank Morris at Find a Grave

1979-The Film "Escape from Alcatraz" [] Actor Clint Eastwood plays the role of Frank Lee Morris []

The following I include for entertainment value, its content contains no merit. 2010-Frank Lee Morris "found alive" [] 2/28/2010-Mafia Today-this article surfaces on the Internet;

Breaking News! Frank Morris Alcatraz Escapee found living in Ireland! Capo | February 28, 2010 | 47 Comments Frank_MorrisFrank Morris the most famous convict ever to escape from Alcatraz prison and who was presumed to have drowned by authorities has been found to be living under the assumed name of Padraic Welsh in a remote part of Connemara on the western coast of Ireland.

Frank now 83 years of age decided the time was right to break the silence and put the record straight after 47 years living a tranquil life in a remote part of the west of Ireland. Recounting the night of June 11, 1962, Frank said the escape went ahead as planned and along with fellow escapees brothers John and Clarence Anglin they placed the dummies in their beds, escaped through the vents at the back of their cells and into the utility corridor. They then proceeded onto the roof and down to the bay. There they boarded the raft they had constructed and disappeared into the night to rendezvous with a boat which they had arranged to pick them up, they then destroyed the raft and scattered personal belonging into the bay to throw the authoritys off their trail.

Frank having relatives from the west of Ireland and an aunt living in Connemara had already organised passage to the Emerald Isle prior to escaping as for John and Clarence Anglin he never heard from them since and often wonders what became of them.

As for plans for the future Frank says he is quiet happy in the west of Ireland and is totally fluent in the Gaelic language and keeps fit by taking a swim every single day in the Atlantic.

There is a sparkle in his voice as he talks about the blockbuster movie “Escape from Alcatraz” where Clint Eastwood famously portrayed Frank and how much he would love to meet Clint and perhaps return to visit Alcatraz some day.

Tags: Alcatraz, Alcatraz Prison, Blockbuster, Clarence, Clint Eastwood, Connemara, Convict, Emerald Isle, Escape From Alcatraz, Escapee, Escapees, Gaelic Language, Living In Ireland, Media Television, Padraic, Raft, Rendezvous, Single Day, Tranquil Life, Utility Corridor, West Of Ireland Category: General

About the Author (Author Profile) Comments (47) Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed The Boss says: February 28, 2010 at 9:09 pm Great Story this, Managed after an hour of ringing to get through to chat with Frank himself for

radioheaddouche says: February 28, 2010 at 10:35 pm SOOOO will he be extradicted?

Jimmy Pats says: February 28, 2010 at 11:02 pm What a story !

The Boss says: February 28, 2010 at 11:17 pm Connemara is part of Galway in the west of Ireland which is famous for its 14 tribes one of which is Morris, which ties in with his Irish Roots.

Just pulled this from Wikipedia:

The Tribes of Galway (Treibheanna na Gaillimhe) were fourteen merchant families who dominated the political, commercial, and social life of the city of Galway in western Ireland between the mid-13th and late-19th centuries. They were the families of Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D’Arcy, Deane, Ffont, Ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martyn, Morris and Skerritt.

Jimmy Pats says: March 1, 2010 at 12:07 am Wow i have just relised how big this is really, these guys really did survive hahaha thats amazing. They had peoples minds boggled for 47 years, i wonder what will happen to him :\ .. What does people think ? Good on him though !!

C says: March 1, 2010 at 3:04 am Whwer is this story on the Internet , WHEEERRREEE ????????

The Boss says: March 1, 2010 at 6:04 am Guys, I was just checking to see which of you were awake, unfortunately as much as I would like it to be, this is just me using my active imagination seen as there were no other stories of interest to post, I thought I would invent one!

Yes its just a hoax, if it was real it would be on every news station around the world.

I suppose its quite possible that he is alive as he would still be only 87

Make sure your all awake on April 1st I might post they found Jimmy Hoffa!

Martin says: March 1, 2010 at 8:34 am Good one. hahahaha Great story.

C says: March 1, 2010 at 6:33 pm Lame

Jimmy Pats says: March 1, 2010 at 6:46 pm hahahaha you had me going !

Artie says: March 1, 2010 at 9:17 pm you made me look stupid when I told somebody this. clown

jtdizal says: March 1, 2010 at 11:35 pm of course you havent talked to him,because im him and im living in north detroit under the name bill bixby!!!!!! catch me if you can biatches!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 hahahaha

jtdizal says: March 1, 2010 at 11:38 pm and if you believe that one ive been chillin with whitey bulger and bigfoot livin off food stamps and reading MAFIATODAY everydaaaaayyyyyy

radioheaddouche says: March 1, 2010 at 11:39 pm Really??? I agree, lame. I’m dissappointed in the BOSS

nicky gallo says: March 2, 2010 at 1:09 am No respect for crime

Ms.Mari says: March 2, 2010 at 1:53 am Is this true?

radioheaddouche says: March 2, 2010 at 3:40 am YA KNOW?

Eamonn Morris says: April 9, 2010 at 7:03 am Truly amazing story . Since my family are from Mayo [Ballinrobe] there is an outside chance we are distant relatives ??? Several of my Morris Great Aunts and Uncles emigrated to the US around 1890-1904 and I have been trying to trace any living relatives . If you read this Frank I wish you well and if there is any connection please do get in touch .

BJ Rossetti says: April 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm HA! TO: E. MORRIS, hate to do this to ya pal but that story was just that…a “STORY” made up by an idiot with a fantastic imagination. It was a hoax! Nevertheless, I had to laugh at your request to “Frank” to get in touch with you. LOL

Kind Regards~~

Eamonn Morris says: May 18, 2010 at 3:33 pm Great story – had me believing . What an idiot ;-)) lol

Hamish says: November 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm Frank Morris, Clarence and John Anglin made the most daring escape attempt from Alcatraz ever. It provoked one of the biggest FBI manhunts in history. What these guys did was truly incredible, an amazing and ingenious escape. Personally it is hard to believe that these guys made it, but Frank Morris had an IQ of 133, and had made a few pervious escape attempts before he went to Alcatraz. Frank was a very clever guy, and if they made it into the raft and the raft stayed afloat, then there is every possibility that theymanaged the scape. I think that Franks plan was not (as reported) to try and get to Angel island…its too far away and the tides on that day would have made it impossible in there make shift raft. I think that Frank managed to research the tides and used then to get to the shore of San Francisco. I really hope he is alive. Oh, and i also read a book called ” Last Train to Alcatraz” I suggest you read it, Whitey was an inmate on Alcatraz and tells the storyof living behind bars from a brutal perspective. I was saddened to here he has now died.


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Frank Lee Morris's Timeline

September 1, 1926
Gallinger Hospital (currently known as D.C. General Hospital), Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States