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Billy Murray (actor)

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Billy Murray
William Albert Murray

(1941-10-06) 6 October 1941 (age 78)
Forest Gate, Essex, England
Years active1963–present
AwardsBritish Soap Award for Best Villain
2006 EastEnders (Johnny Allen)

William Albert Murray (born 6 October 1941)[1] is an English actor, best known for playing Don Beech in The Bill from 1995 to 2004, Johnny Allen in the BBC soap opera EastEnders from 2005 to 2006, and Captain John Price in the video games Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.


Murray was born in Forest Gate, Essex and grew up in Upton Park, east London. He attended St. Edward's Catholic Primary and St Bonaventure's Catholic School.[2] After leaving school, Murray worked at a Co Op supermarket in Canning Town and boxed for the Reggie and Ronnie Kray owned West Ham Boxing Club for 12 years. The Kray twins paid £400 for him to go to East 15 Acting School as a teenager, because they "liked his attitude".[3] They never asked for the money back, and Murray later appeared as a character witness for Charlie Kray who had been accused of smuggling cocaine.[4][1]

Murray made his acting debut in the 1963 film Two Left Feet where he played a minor uncredited role. This was followed by small roles in the films Poor Cow (1967), Corruption (1968), Up the Junction (1968) and Performance (shot 1968, released 1971). From the 1970s through to the early 1990s, he made appearances in a wide variety of television series such as Softly, Softly, The Sweeney, The Professionals, Minder, Bergerac and Casualty. He was among those considered for the role of Derek "Del Boy" Trotter in the BBC TV series Only Fools and Horses before it finally went to David Jason.[5] His notable film roles included the role of "Joey" in the hit 1980 film McVicar. In the film, he was to help McVicar hide after escaping from prison.

In 1995, he got the role of DS Don Beech in the ITV police drama series The Bill appearing as a regular cast member from early 1995 to late 2000. In 2001 he reprised the role in a special spin-off episode entitled "Beech on the Run". This was followed by the six-part mini-series Beech is Back. In 2004 he made his final appearance as Beech for a guest stint in five episodes, in which his character escaped from prison and is now back 'on the run'. Before playing Don Beech in the series, Murray played a different character, DI Jackson, in an episode in 1989.

In late 2004, he joined the cast of popular BBC soap opera EastEnders and played gangland figure Johnny Allen. This was Murray's second role within the series, as he previously appeared as loan shark Mr. X from just two episodes in 1991. Murray's character as Johnny Allen made his first appearance on 4 January 2005, and became the show's main antagonist upon terrorizing numerous characters on the programme - including sworn enemy Peggy Mitchell; her sons Phil Mitchell and Grant Mitchell; their cousin Billy Mitchell, whom Johnny initially employed in his criminal empire; Phil and Grant's ex-lover Sharon Watts; her godmother Pauline Fowler; his daughter's best friend Stacey Slater; and even his own henchman Jake Moon. During his time on the show, Johnny killed fellow mob boss Andy Hunter on the show's 20th anniversary episode by throwing him from a motorway bridge - thus usurping Andy from his position as the reigning crime kingpin of Walford - and later arranged for Jake's brother Danny Moon to kill Sharon's husband Dennis Rickman on New Year's Eve 2005. He departed from the show in March 2006 when his character was jailed after his daughter Ruby Allen forced him to confess to having Dennis murdered and killing Andy himself. He made a brief return to EastEnders in October 2006 when his character was killed off after he succumbed to a heart attack in prison, though not before trying to arrange the death of Ruby's boyfriend and Stacey's brother Sean Slater upon learning that he plans to extract her family assets. For his performance as Johnny Allen, whom the critics deem to be one of the greatest villains in British Soap History, Murray won the 'Best Villain' award at the British Soap Awards in May 2006.

He has since appeared in several British films like Rollin' with the Nines (2006), Rise of the Footsoldier (2007), Doghouse (2009) and Dead Cert (2010).[6][7]

He has provided the voice of Captain John Price in the video games Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. He also fronts the adverts for Injury Lawyers 4 U, a compensation claims company in the UK.[8]

Personal life

Murray has four children. A son and daughter from his first marriage to Maureen, and two daughters from his second marriage to Elaine.[1] Jaime Murray, one of his daughters from his second marriage is an actress who is best known for starring in the television series Hustle, as well as playing Lila Tournay in season two of Dexter.

In 1998, Murray appeared in court after he and 3 other men[9] allegedly attacked two men who they believed were supplying drugs to their daughters, including Murray's then 14-year-old daughter Lizzie from his second marriage.[10] His daughter ran away from school and home, was "descending into an underworld of drugs" and was hospitalised after overdosing in June 1998.[11] Murray revealed that he suffered a nervous breakdown and slept rough on the set of The Bill for months as a court order banned him from living in his home county of Essex after he was charged with intimidating a witness involved in the case.[12] He also admitted that the court case had put a strain on his marriage.[1][13] Murray was cleared of assault, having claimed that at the time he was "suffering from a mouth abscess and a cracked collarbone and was in no condition to hit anyone".[14] One of the men attacked was quoted as saying that they wished the case had never gone to court, stating "I deserved everything I got".[9]

In April 2011, it was reported that Murray had been charged with assault of his wife and daughter.[15] In July 2011, it was confirmed that the assault case against Murray had been dropped.[16]

Outside of acting, Murray is involved in property investment and owns and rents out lock-ups, flats and garages across east London.[17]

He is a West Ham United football club fan,[18] and a supporter of the Conservative Party.[19]

Selected TV and filmography

Film/Programme Character Year
Rise of the Footsoldier 3 Mickey Steele 2016
Airborne Cutter 2012
The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan Mr. Robinson 2012
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Video Game) Captain John Price (voice) 2011
Strippers vs Werewolves Tapper 2011
How to Stop Being a Loser Dr. Leaner 2011
Dead Cert Dante Livenko 2010
Doghouse Colonel 2009
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Video Game) Captain John Price (voice) 2009
Rise of the Footsoldier Mickey Steele 2007
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Video Game) Captain John Price (voice) 2007
Rollin' with the Nines David Brumby 2006
EastEnders Johnny Allen 2005–2006
Hell to Pay Larry Malone 2005
Doctors Larry Baker 2004
Beech is Back DS Don Beech 2001
Beech on the Run DS Don Beech 2001
Lily Savage's Blankety Blank Himself 2001–2002
Essex Boys Perry Elley 2000
ITV Panto: Aladdin Police Chief 2000
The Bill DS Don Beech 1995–2000, 2004
A Touch of Frost Bill Boxley 1995
Casualty Don Collins 1992
EastEnders Mr X 1991
Bergerac John Kelp 1991
Buddy's Song Harry 1991
The Bill DI Jackman 1989
Dempsey & Makepeace Billy Kennaway 1985
Minder Charlie Pope 1984
Private Schulz Fred 1981
McVicar Joey Davis 1980
The Professionals (episode "Runner") Morgan 1979
Rock Follies Spike 1976
The Sweeney (episode "Stoppo Driver") Brian Cooney 1975
Barlow at Large Culver 1973
Softly, Softly George Benson 1971
A Family at War Corporal Dewey 1970
Performance Thug 1 1970
Up the Junction Ray 1968
Poor Cow Tom's mate 1967
Corruption Rik 1968
Two Left Feet Gang Member 1963


  1. ^ a b c d "Trial nearly sent me mad. I slept rough & had a nervous breakdown. The Bill saved me; THE BIG GARRY BUSHELL INTERVIEW WITH BILLY MURRAY. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Daily Mirror, 23 January 2005.
  4. ^ "The debt Murray owes to the Krays.(News)". The People (London, England). 27 December 1998. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  5. ^ Clarke, Steve (27 September 1998). "ONLY FACTS and HORSES". Daily Mirror. CNET. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  6. ^ "AFM '09: Latest Vamp Pic 'Dead Cert' Now Filming - Bloody Disgusting". 28 October 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  7. ^ "AFM '09: Vampire Attack in Hi-Res 'Dead Cert' Pics - Bloody Disgusting". 4 November 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 January 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b "Bill Star Was Right to Give Me Good Hiding Says Junkie". The People (London, England). 27 December 1998. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  10. ^ "The Bill Actor 'Took Law into His Own Hands'; STAR TURNED VIGILANTE OVER HIS DRUG DEN SUSPICIONS, COURT IS TOLD". Daily Mail (London). 16 December 1998. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  11. ^ "Daughter of Bill Star Taken to Hospital in Overdose Drama; THIS IS A TERRIBLE TIME FOR US, SAYS WORRIED FATHER". Daily Mail (London). 17 June 1998. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Tears as TV star in court". Birmingham Evening Mail (England). 9 May 1998. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  13. ^ "I JUST WANT ELAINE TO KNOW I LOVE HER; Bill Star Billy Murray Risked Jail to Save His Daughter from Drug Dealers. Now He Faces an Even Tougher Battle - to Save His Marriage of 26 Years". The Mail on Sunday (London, England). 27 December 1998. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  14. ^ Carter, Helen (23 December 1998). "Police actor is cleared of assault". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  15. ^ "EastEnders actor Billy Murray charged with beating his wife and daughter". 13 April 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  16. ^ "'EastEnders' Billy Murray assault case dropped". 12 July 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  17. ^ "THE GARRY BUSHELL INTERVIEW: I'M AN EASTSLENDER". 13 February 2005. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  18. ^ Biography for Billy Murray (I), IMDb
  19. ^ Celebrity X Factor – News. People. (28 March 2010). Retrieved 1 January 2011.

External links