As Director of Photography and Lighting Designer, among other roles, Donald (Don) A. Morgan’s artistic vision, lighting design and technical skills have made a mark on the last 35 years of American television. From starting out as a lighting engineer on hit ‘70s series like Maude, One Day at a Time, and to becoming lighting director and director of photography on Good Times, The Jeffersons, Three’s Company, Silver Spoons, Gloria, The Facts of Life, Golden Girls, Home Improvement, Wife and Kids, Girlfriends, Malibu Country” and “Last Man Standing” (to name a few), Don has broken barriers in the industry and opened the door for many behind him to follow. As one of the first African American lighting directors at a major network in the early ‘80s to disregarding the industry’s limited view of television cinematographers and successfully shooting film and awards/variety show projects, Don has shot four to five pilots annually for 20+ years and over 1,500 television episodes. He’s shaped a majority of both the popular television series Generation X grew up with and today’s hit shows.
In 1985, Don was awarded 11 Emmy wins including one for the Pilot/series shared with George Spiro Debie, ASC “ Mr. Belvedere” first Emmy Award, for outstanding lighting design in a nighttime series. Don went on to earn another Eight Emmy Awards for his work on Home Improvement and Three for the Netflix series The Ranch He’s also been nominated by his peers at the Television Academy 23 Emmys for his work on Girlfriends, Baghdad Café, Saved By the Bell and Home Improvement and “The Ranch”. The Conners, The Upshaws, to name a few.
Not allowing the industry stereotype of “television cinematographers” only being valuable in television to narrow his opportunities, Don’s portfolio also includes shooting the annual two-hour, live NAACP IMAGE Awards program at the Kodak, The Shrine, Dorthy Chandler Theatres every year between 2001-2011, variety shows, MTV productions, and feature films he takes on during the summers. He has traveled the world for Sony International Pictures to consult on high-definition TV; and he was also the first to do a four-camera Hi Def sitcom. His most recent film projects include the narrative short film Lopez and Lopez for NBC, and The Conners ABC
Don consistently pushes the envelope of foot candles in this medium. Prompting lens and filter companies to evolve to accommodate lower levels of light which allows for atmospheric looks in four camera settings. Morgan’s lighting innovation ’bounce front fill’ has become an industry standard. That type of light has become de rigueur.
In 2020 Don was honored with the ASC Career Achievement in Television Award and in 2022 was Inducted into The Television Academy’s Hall of Fame. He is currently co-chairman of the DEI committee for Local 600, International Cinematographers Guild.