June 30, 1927 – May 1, 2021
Bobby Morris, 93, entertainment industry icon, author, show producer, entertainment director, agent/manager, and drummer extraordinaire, passed away peacefully on May 1, 2021 in San Diego, CA.
Bobby was Elvis Presley’s original conductor of his own 48-piece orchestra, plus the Sweet Inspirations and Imperials at the International Hotel’s opening season in July 1969.
He was born on June 30, 1927 in Wilno, Poland to David and Bertha Stempelman and came to America in 1937 at the age of 10, not knowing a word of English. On the streets of New York, he shined shoes, delivered newspapers, and mowed lawns to earn enough money for a weekly drum lesson. While honing his skills as a drummer at the Catskill Mountains resorts, he toured with several big bands before discovering a “little town” out west called Las Vegas in 1950.
He became the driving force on all the Capitol recordings of Louis Prima and Keely Smith, even creating his own signature drumbeat, henceforth known as “The Morris Shuffle.” He is also credited with laying down some of the very first beats of Rock and Roll (“Roots of Rock Drumming” Hudson Music Publishing-cover photo-2013).
Bobby played drums for Frank Sinatra, Eddie Fisher, Bobby Darin, and was chosen by Buddy Rich to perform with his band. He worked with dozens of stars on the Las Vegas Strip, including Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Robert Goulet, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, Danny Thomas, and an a actor in western movies, doing a soft-shoe dance in the 1950’s named Ronald Reagan. With Louis and Keely he, played the Kennedy inauguration and appeared on countless Dinah Shore shows, Frank Sinatra specials, and Ed Sullivan shows. For his work during this era, he was recently named by Stick ‘N’ Skins Magazine as “One of the most influential drummers of the 20th century.”
He ran the successful Bobby Morris Agency, Inc. from his own building in Las Vegas since1965 and was involved in management, booking, and entertainment direction of many major hotels on the Strip. In 2019, his autobiography, “Bobby Morris - My Las Vegas”, as told to J.J. Grant, published by Hudson Music and distributed by Hal Leonard Corp. was released a #1 in the musical genre category of Amazon.com cementing his legacy as a true music icon.
Bobby is predeceased by his parents and his brother, Joe (Rae) Sands. He is survived by his wife, Joan; three sons, Steve, Robbie, and Daryl; four grandsons, Ryan, Bryan (Alexa), Kyle, and Alex; two great-granddaughters, Chloe and Sophia; brother, Arthur Sands; and two nephews, Charlie (Mary) Sands, and Arne (Jan) Youngerman.
Services will be held on Thursday, May 6, 2021at 1PM at Palm Mortuary and Cemetery, 7600 S. Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89123. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to an animal welfare organization of your choice. Due to Covid restrictions, attendance will be limited to 175 guests in the large chapel, face coverings are required, and social distancing is requested. Arrangements are being handled by King David Memorial Chapel.
- Davidr Stempelman, Father (deceased)
- Bertha Stempelman (nee Sterensuz), Mother (deceased)
- Joan Cipriani, Wife
- Steve Morris, Son
- Robbie Morris, Son
- Daryl Morris, Son
- Arthur Sands, Brother
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Thursday, May 6, 2021