If you thought Bert Cooper’s sweet song-and-dance farewell on Sunday’s episode of Mad Men was a tribute to actor Robert Morse’s decades on Broadway, you would be correct. Creator Matthew Weiner originally cast Morse in part because of his reputation on the stage, which includes a Tony-winning turn as J. Pierrepont Finch in 1962’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. And when it was finally time for Bert to go into the great beyond, following Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon in 1969, Weiner thought there might be a way to serve both story and actor.
Morse’s initial reaction to wrapping the final scene of his seven-year run was one of relief and elation. “You’re just thrilled that you got through, that you’re still walking, that you still did it,” he says. “It’s what I love, and it was great to have a taste of singing and dancing at the end. And my respect to Luigi’s Jazz Class in New York 40 years ago. I wouldn’t be where I was today [without him], so shout out to Luigi — and thank him for all my movement and style.”