Morris K. Udall: A Lifetime of Service to Arizona and the United States
Special Collections Online Exhibits

Biographical Information


Morris K. Udall with a Cub Scout from Arlington, Virginia, 1960s

Morris "Mo" King Udall of Tucson, Arizona was born in St. Johns, Arizona on June 15, 1922. He is the great-grandson of David Udall and Eliza King who converted to the Mormon faith in England and emigrated to the United States in 1851; the grandson of David King Udall and Eliza Luella Stewart, noted Mormon pioneers and church leaders in northern Arizona; and the son of Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Levi Stewart Udall and Louise Lee, granddaughter of John D. Lee and Jacob Hamblin. The papers of David Udall, David King Udall (MS 294), and Levi S. Udall (MS 293) are also housed in Special Collections at the University of Arizona Library along with the papers of his brother, former Congressman and Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Lee Udall (AZ 372).

He attended public schools in St Johns, Arizona and was awarded a J.D. degree from the University of Arizona in 1949 where he was President of the Associated Student Government and co-captain of the basketball team.



Morris K. Udall, 1960s

He entered the United States Army-Air Force as a private in 1942 and was discharged as a captain in 1946, having served in the Pacific Theater.

Mo played professional basketball for one season (1948-1949) with the Denver Nuggets and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

He started a law firm with his brother, Stewart in Tucson, Arizona in 1949 and served as Pima County Attorney from 1952-1954. He served as vice-president of the Arizona Bar Association in 1961 and was the cofounder of the Bank of Tucson and the Catalina Savings and Loan Association and served as president of the Tucson YMCA in 1960.


Senators versus Congressmen baseball game, 1960s

When his brother, Stewart resigned from the House of Representatives (District 2, Arizona) to serve as Secretary of the Interior in the Kennedy Administration, Morris K. Udall was elected to his seat in the 87th Congress (1961-1962). He served in each succeeding Congress until his resignation on May 4, 1991.

Morris K. Udall served as chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs from 1977 to 1991. He also was the ranking member on the Committee of the Post Office and Civil Service, chairman of the Office of Technology Assessment as well as a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

He was a candidate in the Democratic primaries for President in the 1976 national campaign. He was the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in New York in 1980. In 1992, a special tribute was paid to Morris K. Udall by the Democratic Party at their national convention.

Morris K. Udall died December 12, 1998.