Funny man Tracy Morgan has known fame and foibles

Story highlights

Emmy-nominated comedian is in critical condition following a multivehicle accident

Actor is best known for starring on 'SNL' and '30 Rock'

Entertainer has weathered controversy over the years

Tracy Morgan is a father of four

CNN  — 

There’s no disputing Tracy Morgan’s comedic voice is one of a kind.

Whether playing animal enthusiast Brian Fellow or imitating Star Jones of “The View” on “Saturday Night Live,” or just an exaggerated version of himself as Tracy Jordan on “30 Rock,” Morgan has commanded the stage and small screen.

He was a series regular on “SNL” for seven years and earned an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor in a comedy for his “30 Rock” role.

Known for over-the-top characters (Astronaut Jones, Dominican Lou) and outrageous celebrity impressions (Mike Tyson, Oprah Winfrey and Marion “Suge” Knight), Morgan performs his standup routines with the same characteristic ‘no holds barred’ attitude.

The actor also starred in “The Tracy Morgan Show” from 2003-2004 and has hosted and executive produced the hidden camera show “Scare Tactics” on SyFy.

A multivehicle accident on the New Jersey Turnpike left Tracy Morgan, 45, in critical condition on Saturday, authorities said. One person was killed. Morgan and two other passengers in a limo bus remained hospitalized late Saturday.

Morgan performed a comedy act Friday night at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware, according to the venue.

The actor-comedian-producer grew up in New York City – raised by a single mom, along with his four siblings.

In 2009, he published an autobiography titled “I Am the New Black” chronicling his rise from a Brooklyn housing project to starring on the “SNL” stage from 1996 to 2003.

His father died of AIDS when Morgan was 17. In an interview, Morgan said his father taught him the key to survival was to learn from your mistakes.

The comedian is no stranger to controversy.

After being arrested twice for drunk driving and ordered to wear an ankle monitoring device, Morgan said it took tough talk from his then-teenage son to sober him up. The comedian credits his son for confronting him about his drinking and saving his life.

In a 2010 PBS interview, Morgan referred to fame as the “worst drug known to mankind,” saying it led down the path of “partying and hanging out” and the end of his first marriage. He was previously married for 21 years to his high school sweetheart, Sabina Morgan, mother of his three sons – Gitrid, Malcolm and Tracy Jr.

“I started to hurt even people that I love. I was changing and I’m glad that I caught it in time,” Morgan said.

In 2011, Morgan received backlash from a standup routine he performed in Nashville. An audience member recorded Morgan’s show in which he went on a homophobic rant which included a comment that he’d “stab his son to death if he said he was gay.” The audio of Morgan’s routine was later picked up by several websites.

A few weeks later, Morgan returned to Nashville to meet with members of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and deliver a face-to-face apology to people who were in the audience the night of his performance. “I don’t have a hateful bone in my body,” Morgan said. “I don’t believe anyone should be bullied or made to feel bad about who they are.”

After that meeting, Morgan vowed to change his comedy routine, saying the controversy, gave him the “opportunity to change my message onstage.”

“In my heart, I really don’t care who you love, same sex or not, as long as you have the ability to love, that’s the important thing here,” he said.

Over the years, Morgan has had his share of health challenges, battling diabetes and surviving a kidney transplant in 2010.

In 2012, the actor was rushed to the hospital at the Sundance Film Festival after collapsing after giving an awards acceptance speech, according to industry trade publication Variety. Morgan’s representative told CNN that the actor sought medical attention for “a combination of exhaustion and altitude.”

The father of four is engaged to model Megan Wollover and the two have an 11-month-old daughter, Maven.

According to a statement by his publicist, Morgan’s “family is with him and he is receiving excellent care.”

Actor Tracy Morgan in critical condition after wreck in New Jersey

CNN’s Alan Duke contributed to this report.