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Tracy Morgan’s mom: ‘I’m trying to find the answer’



Published: Fri, February 3, 2012 @ 12:09 a.m.

By GUY D’ASTOLFO

dastolfo@vindy.com

  Tracy Morgan's Mother Speaks Out

Alicia Warden, mother of 30 Rock actor Tracy Morgan, speaks out about a possible foreclosure on her Youngstown, Oh. home.

Alicia Warden, mother of 30 Rock actor Tracy Morgan, speaks out about a possible foreclosure on her Youngstown, Oh. home.

YOUNGSTOWN

Alicia Warden’s house is warm, tidy and inviting.

Photos line the mantel, and knickknacks crowd one another on shelves. The living room is embellished with the ornate woodwork typical of the older houses on the city’s South Side.

Outside, it’s another story.

Metal bars block her windows and doors because the street, dotted with abandoned houses, is a dangerous place. Shootings are a regular occurrence in the gang-ridden area.

It’s hardly the kind of neighborhood in which one would expect to find the mother of a multimillionaire television star.

But it is.

The 61-year-old Warden is the mother of comedian- actor Tracy Morgan of NBC’s “30 Rock” and a former regular on “Saturday Night Live.”

And she is on the verge of losing her house because she no longer can afford to pay her mortgage.

She said she had asked Morgan for some financial help, but his meager response left her cold.

In the last two days, Warden has talked to the national media about the situation, in what has become a story that has the tabloid-TV shows salivating.

On Thursday, Warden sat down with The Vindicator and talked freely about her life, her relationship with her wealthy son, and how it has gone so wrong.

A cancer survivor — she had surgery on her colon in 1995 — Warden was laid off about a year ago from her job in the kitchen of Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Program. Her only source of income since then has been unemployment and survivor benefits.

“I called Tracy last March or April to ask him if he would help pay my mortgage,” she said. “I never gave him an amount — I just sent him the [billing statement], and he said he would do it. But he never did.”

The monthly bill is $463, and Warden owes about $25,000 on the house.

In November, the unemployment benefits expired, and the mortgage has since gone unpaid.

“I pay my bills to keep the lights on and the heat on,” said Warden. “I’ve gone without my medicine. My doctor told me Monday my blood pressure is up so high I look like I’m on the verge of a stroke.”

Warden said she again asked Morgan for help in recent weeks. In response, she got a call from her son’s accountant offering a one-time gift of $2,000, she said. She turned down the offer out of pride and insult.

Warden has reapplied for jobless benefits and is awaiting a response. She also has filed for a modification of her mortgage loan. If the modification is denied by her lender, CCO Mortgage, she expects foreclosure will begin. Warden fears she could be put out of her home possibly by the end of the month.

In the meantime, she sits in her crime-filled neighborhood and awaits her fate.

“My windows got shot out last year,” she said. “My car has been shot up. Two of my former foster children [she has had 20] have been killed. I fear for my life, and I don’t tell anyone who I am.”

Tracy Morgan, 43, has responded by releasing the following statement to various media outlets:

“I am saddened that these untrue stories about me have people questioning my commitment to my family,” he said. “For reasons that are between us, I have not seen my mother in 11 years and outside of a random call here and there have had little to no contact with my sister. We all have personal family issues that we have to deal with in life, but I choose to deal with mine in private and not through the media.”

For her part, Warden said she simply cannot understand why her son is cold and angry toward her.

“I’m trying to find the answer,” she said. “What did I do to him? In my heart, I don’t know what I ever did to him to make him hate me. We were always a close-knit family. Give me an answer, Tracy.”

Warden related the family’s history that began in the housing projects of Brooklyn, N.Y.

She and her husband had four kids: a daughter and three sons.

“All of my boys were funny,” she recalled. “They would gather in the park and in the projects, and everybody would be ranking on each other for laughs, and a crowd would gather to watch.” Morgan would later take his knack for making people laugh to a New York comedy club, which was the beginning of his show-business career.

After her surgery in 1995, Warden — who divorced her husband in 1984 — moved to Youngstown, where her sister already lived. She didn’t know how many years she had left, or if the cancer would return, and wanted to be near family. Her children, except Tracy, would soon follow.

In 2001, “Saturday Night Live” did a Mother’s Day special, and Warden went to New York and appeared on the show. But what could have been a warm reunion went bad, and harsh words were passed between mother and son. Warden said the distance between them actually had started a little before then.

“He had some attitude and treated [her and her daughter, Asia] like dirt when we did the show,” said Warden. “I still don’t know why.” Still, a photo of Warden and Tracy from the “SNL” shoot sits on her mantel.

Warden visited her son again in 2002 for the funeral of her ex-husband. Warden said her ex was a drug addict who died of AIDS.

“Tracy felt like if I hadn’t put [her ex-husband] out of the house, he might still be alive today,” said Warden. “I said, ‘You’re being selfish ... Would you have wanted us both to be dead?’”

Morgan, she said, also has severed his relationships with his extended family still living in Brooklyn.

Until last year, she said, she had never asked her famous son for a dime.

“I bought my own house,” she said.

According to the real-estate valuation website Zillow.com, her house was purchased in 1998 for $31,400. It’s estimated value today is about $28,000.

Forbes has estimated Morgan’s wealth at $18 million.

The comedian never lived in Youngstown and has only rarely visited. The last time was in 2003, when he performed at The Funny Farm comedy club in Liberty. “He gave me a diamond-platinum watch” during that visit, said Warden.

Warden talked about the painful time that surrounded her divorce.

“The judge took my kids into his chambers and asked them where they wanted to live. My oldest son said with me, and Tracy and his sister and other brother said with dad.”

Tracy was 13 at the time.

“That’s the only time my kids ever made me cry,” she said.

But within a few months, her children began to ask to move in with her, and eventually all of them did, although Tracy later would go back to his father.

“Their father did have problems with Tracy,” said Warden. “But he told the kids, ‘Don’t you blame your mom [for the divorce].’ All of the other kids understood, except Tracy. He didn’t want to.”

Warden said she gave her all to her children, and loved them all dearly.

When pressed about Tracy’s animosity toward her, she paused for a moment and speculated. “Is it the fame, the spotlight?,” she said.

As to what comes next, her stance is stoic.

“If push comes to shove, I’ll be gone [from this house],” she said.

“I have to put it in God’s hands.”


Comments

1Southside_Res(170 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Tracy Morgan should be ashamed of himself. It's clear the issues are of his own making. What a disgrace!

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2penguinfan1(29 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Just my 2 cents but if you are worth $18 million and your Mom, the woman who brought you into this world, needs $25,000, it seems to me he should pay the bill off for her. If he doesn't want to have anything to do with her after that fine, but to him the 25k is like $100 for the rest of us.

Now, I have no idea what she did or didn't do to him. If I knew all the facts, I might see it differently, but to not help your mother when she needs it, and you can do it, just seems wrong.

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3kensgirl(592 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Yes there are 2 sides to every story but still - how could anyone let their mother live in such horrible conditions? I'm sure giving her a few thousand dollars wouldn't kill him. He's another "famer" who puts his ego ahead of everything else. That's our society today.

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4palefoot(35 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree with mrrjytown, there are two sides and not everyone likes to air their dirty laundry in public.
I did find some things in the story odd. I applaud her for raising 20 foster kids, but shes only paid 6,000 on her mortgage in 14 years? Between her kids and the foster ones that she has a great relationship with, they can't each pitch in 25 a month towards the mortgage?
I just think theres much more to this story.

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5msjo(2 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

it does not matter what the problem is that is still your mother, what if the shoe was on the other foot, no mother would not turn her back on her kids. Tracy, you discuss me. I bet you spend more than that on some woman or having a party, or better yet your cars cost more than your mama's house

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6DwightK(1251 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Regardless of how this turns out, there's no way Tracy Morgan doesn't look like Scrooge. He should pay the mortgage just so somebody else doesn't come along and make him look bad.

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7sobeit(98 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

This woman is no better than him by airing her dirty laundry all over the media. SHAME ON HER! A real class act she is proving to be!!! NOT!

There are two sides to every story. Just because you gave birth to someone, doesn't make you a mom. Obviously there is a rift here that we don't know about.
Take that diamond watch and sell it! I am sure you could get a couple hundred dollars
"I don't tell anyone who I am." REALLY??? You just blasted your picture, your address and your "life story" all over the media! Everyone now knows who you are!

I in no way, shape or form think that this woman is telling the whole truth!

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8Mooneygrad72(42 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

She was offered 2000.00 and turned it down. She wanted more. Had she accepted that amount, perhaps her bills would be updated and then she could find a part time job. She was a cook-- there are always cooking jobs available. I wonder what the true story is? What happened to Tracy while growing up? What did she not do? Or was the $$$ of foster kids so plentiful that she depended on it too much?

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9Silence_Dogood(1334 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

"what has become a story that has the tabloid-TV shows salivating"
Not to mention a few low rate newspapers like the National Enquirer, and the Vindicator. It took me five minutes to get the slime off of my paper this morning, and then all that high quality ink was all over my hands as I read thru the paper.

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10commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

She's ashamed that her son doesn't give her the money BUT not ashamed to tell everyone that her son won't give her what she asked for. How much did she make for the foster care of all the kids? What happened to that money? Again, there aqre TWO sides to every story and it's good the Tracy doesn't want to "air" their private issues to the public.

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11kensgirl(592 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

I know a lot of people who foster children because they have good hearts not because of the money. Maybe she was one of them. I still think Tracy should help out his mother. I couldn't go to sleep at night if that was my mother. He'll wait until she's dead before he develops a conscience.

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12jgm820(115 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

As a mother, if I were in this situation, there is NO WAY I'd be telling my story all over the news shows. For all anyone knows, maybe this is the 100th time she has asked for $25,000, but even if it's the first time, we have no reason to know why he declines to help out.

It's true...you can teach reading and writing, but you can't teach class. She should easily have her $25K from the news shows in a few weeks - let's see if the house is still in foreclosure then.

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13walter_sobchak(1895 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

formerytown,
Your post about Big Russ reminds me of when my widowed mother had her purse snatched outside Big Lots in Y-town. When I got the call from her, I rushed to her house to check on her. It was the beginning of the month, she had just cashed her SS check and lost it all. I put everything I had in my wallet on the table in front of her and insisted she take it over her refusal. She broke down crying that her son had to take care of her like that. It has been almost 20 years and it still pains me when I think about it. Like most sons, I did it not for gratification but because I felt obligated to do it. That is how I was raised. We probably don't have the whole story, but this is troubling. I would think the mother would be ashamed to even want to acknowledge this story.

It is actually amazing that he is considered an actor-comedian because he can't act and he is not funny. Tracy Morgan could fall off the face of the earth and nobody would give it a second thought.

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14jetercp(67 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

i support tracy morgan 100%. its obvious she was a deadbeat mother and now that she needs help, her hand is out. tracy of course has a ton of money and probably feels he is being taken advantage of. cant say i blame him. good job tracy for doing what you feel is right. i see no problem in what he has decided.

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15sweetiepie(15 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

everyone who has lived in ytown knows that unless your parent worked @ gm,packard had an white collar job your parents either sent you to mooney ursuline lived in a affluent burb or you received whatever you wanted im talking hood childhood friends! deadbeat parents had lots of babies every year sent their children to south,east or rayen then had their children babysit afterschool so they can drink and run the streets. the affect of that was of course teen pregnancy drug dealer/addicted. the same parents never helped their children even though they had the resources im talking black working poor! no middle class! tracy morgan does not in my opinion owe his mother recompense! if she was the motherly type no way in hell she would even see ytown! im not convinced of her whoa is me story. she has 3 other children... hmmm wonder whats wrong with them helping im not buying it theres definitely more to the story. start packing boo!

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16hellokitty(161 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

None of us know the real story. It's very sad for all of them.

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17dejablue(5 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Anybody with any dignity about themselves handle there problems in private not all over the Media..... she's money hungry .....

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18gingerspice(115 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Three sides to every story! We are only hearing one. For a man not to want to help his mother, she must of did something to really cause him hurt and bitterness. I applaude him for not giving the media more garbage to fling around. However, his mother has opened up "PandorasBox" and might regret it. Tracy is required to respect his mother. That doesn't necessarily mean bailing her out financially. Bringing this to the media isn't exactly "motherly love".Sometimes, parents make their beds hard and then they have to lay in them. "And this too shall pass."

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19kcmyway(1 comment)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

I know why, because she said aks instead if ask. I've seen Tracey perform, he just didn't understand the question.

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