||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (March 2013)|
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|
Born in Washington in Beaufort County in eastern 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 1960, 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 starring 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 1959-1960 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. Much later, he played Big Daddy Hollingsworth, Blanche Deveraux's father, in a first season episode of The Golden Girls.
Hamilton 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, 1973's The Way We Were and the 1980 prison drama Brubaker.
He died from cancer and is interred at Oakdale Cemetery in 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)
- Murray Hamilton at the Internet Movie Database
- Murray Hamilton at Find a Grave
- Murray Hamilton at the Internet Broadway Database