|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (April 2014)|
Murray Hamilton in trailer for The Drowning Pool (1975)
March 24, 1923|
Washington, North Carolina, U.S.
|Died||September 1, 1986
Washington, North Carolina, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Terri DeMarco (1953-86; his death; 1 child)|
Murray Hamilton (March 24, 1923 – September 1, 1986) was an American stage, screen, and television actor who appeared in such films as Anatomy of a Murder, The Hustler, The Graduate, The Amityville Horror and Jaws.
Born in Washington, North Carolina, Hamilton displayed an early interest in performing during his days at Washington High School just before the outbreak of World War II. Bad hearing kept him from enlisting, so he moved to New York City as a 19-year-old to find a career on stage.
In an early role, he performed on stage with Henry Fonda in the classic wartime story Mister Roberts. In 1950, he was seen onstage again with Fonda in Critic's Choice and was teamed once more with Fonda in 1968 for the film drama The Boston Strangler.
His most famous film performance is perhaps as the obdurate Amity Island mayor Larry Vaughn in the Steven Spielberg shark thriller Jaws. Hamilton also appeared in its sequel Jaws 2. Other notable big-screen appearances include the critically acclaimed 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder with James Stewart, in which he played the bartender Al Pacquette from Thunder Bay, Michigan who gives testimony in the murder of Barney Quill. He worked again with Stewart in The Spirit of St. Louis (1957) and The FBI Story (1959).
The actor made dozens of TV guest appearances. In 1955, Hamilton guest starred on the NBC legal drama Justice, based on case files of the Legal Aid Society of New York. Hamilton appeared in a Perry Mason TV series episode "The Case of the Deadly Double" (air date March 1, 1958) as the shadowy boyfriend of a woman with a split personality whose brother was Mason's client on trial. The following year, he starred in the second episode of Rod Serling's television series The Twilight Zone, "One for the Angels", playing Mr. Death opposite Ed Wynn.
In the 1959-60 television season, Hamilton co-starred with William Demarest, Jeanne Bal, and Stubby Kaye in the NBC sitcom Love and Marriage. He played attorney Steve Baker, who resides in an apartment with his wife (played by Bal), two daughters and father-in-law (portrayed by Demarest). The wife and her father worked for a failing music publishing company. He soon appeared as a guest star on another sitcom, The Real McCoys, starring Walter Brennan, on ABC. In 1961, he appeared in another science fiction series, Way Out, hosted by Roald Dahl, with fellow guest stars Doris Roberts and Martin Huston. In 1986, he played Big Daddy Hollingsworth, Blanche Devereaux's father, in a first season episode of The Golden Girls in 1986.
While comic roles were sometimes hard to come by, Hamilton's early Hollywood career included one opposite Andy Griffith in the 1958 military comedy No Time for Sergeants, as well as a guest spot on Mama's Family in the second season episode, "Mama Cries Uncle", as Uncle Roy. He was more often cast in dramatic works, such as the stark science-fiction drama Seconds (1966), which starred Rock Hudson. In two of his most distinctive performances, Hamilton appeared with Paul Newman in The Hustler (1961), playing Findley, a wealthy billiards player who gambles for high stakes, and in The Graduate (1967) as Mr. Robinson, husband of the seductress Mrs. Robinson. In 1975, Hamilton starred again with Newman in The Drowning Pool. He also worked with Robert Redford in a pair of films, The Way We Were (1973) and Brubaker (1980).
For many years both before and during his film career, Hamilton was a prominent dramatic stage actor, earning a Tony Award nomination for his role in the 1965 production of Absence of a Cello. When the actor was suffering from cancer and found film roles harder to come by, his old co-star Scott helped out by getting him a part in the made-for-television movie, The Last Days of Patton (1986).
Hamilton died of complications from cancer at age 63, and is interred at Oakdale Cemetery in his native Washington, North Carolina.
- Bright Victory (1951)
- Toward the Unknown (1956)
- The Girl He Left Behind (1956)
- The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
- Jeanne Eagels (1957)
- Darby's Rangers (1958)
- Too Much, Too Soon (1958)
- No Time for Sergeants (1958)
- Houseboat (1958)
- Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
- The FBI Story (1959)
- Tall Story (1960)
- The Hustler (1961)
- Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
- 13 Frightened Girls (1963)
- The Cardinal (1963)
- An American Dream (1966)
- Seconds (1966)
- The Graduate (1967)
- Sergeant Ryker (1968)
- No Way to Treat a Lady (1968)
- The Boston Strangler (1968)
- The Brotherhood (1968)
- If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969)
- The Way We Were (1973)
- Jaws (1975)
- The Drowning Pool (1975)
- Casey's Shadow (1978)
- Jaws 2 (1978)
- The Amityville Horror (1979)
- 1941 (1979)
- Brubaker (1980)
- Hysterical (1983)
- Too Scared to Scream (1985)