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Billy Murray (actor)

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For other people named William Murray, see William Murray (disambiguation). For the American actor, see Bill Murray.
Billy Murray
Born William Albert Murray
(1941-10-06) 6 October 1941 (age 74)
Forest Gate, Essex, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 1963–present
Awards British Soap Award for Best Villain
2006 EastEnders (Johnny Allen)

William "Billy" 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, 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 Upon Park. He attended St. Edward's Catholic Primary and St Bonaventure's Catholic Comprehensive 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[3] for him to go to the East 15 Acting School as a teenager, because they "liked his attitude".[4] 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.[5][6]

Murray made his acting debut in the 1963 film Two Left Feet where he played a minor uncredited role. He then had small roles in the films Poor Cow (1967), Corruption (1967), 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 Del Boy Trotter in the BBC TV series Only Fools and Horses[7] before it finally went to David Jason.

In 1980, Murray played the part of "Joey" in the hit film McVicar. In the film, he was to help McVicar hide after escaping from prison. Murray went on to play the corrupt DS Don Beech in the ITV police drama series The Bill from early 1995 to late 2000. In 2001 he returned as Don Beech in a one-off special episode titled Beech on the Run and later that year starred as Beech in a spin-off six-part mini-series entitled Beech is Back. In 2004 he returned as Don Beech once again 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, 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, playing gangster Johnny Allen. His first scenes were broadcast in January 2005. Murray's character terrorised numerous characters on the programme, including Peggy Mitchell, Phil Mitchell, Grant Mitchell Sharon Watts and Pauline Fowler. He also murdered Andy Hunter by pushing him from a motorway flyover, and ordered the killing of Dennis Rickman (carried out by Danny Moon, played by Jake Maskall). He departed from the show in March 2006 when his character was jailed after confessing to ordering the murder of Dennis Rickman and carrying out the murder of Andy Hunter. He won the 'Best Villain' award at the British Soap Awards in May 2006 for his role as Johnny Allen. He made a brief return to EastEnders in October that year when his character was seen in prison and later died of a heart attack. Before playing Johnny Allen in EastEnders he also appeared as Mr X in 1991.

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).[8][9]

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.[10]

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.[11] Jamie 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[12] 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.[13] His daughter ran away from school and home, was "descending into an underworld of drugs" and was hospitalised after overdosing in June 1998.[14] 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.[15] He also admitted that the court case had put a strain on his marriage.[16][17] 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".[18] 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".[19]

In April 2011, it was reported that Murray had been charged with assault of his wife Elaine and daughter Lizzie following "an alleged alcohol-fuelled late-night row" at their home in Chigwell, Essex.[20][21] In July 2011, it was confirmed that the assault case against Murray had been dropped.[22]

Outside of acting, Murray is involved in property investment and owns and rents out lock-ups, flats and garages across East London.[23]

He is a West Ham United football club fan,[24] and a supporter of the Conservative Party.[25]

Selected TV and filmography


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  3. ^ Nathan, Sarah (2005-01-24). "Billy's a Kray-zy gangster". The Sun. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  4. ^ Daily Mirror, 23 January 2005.
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  7. ^ Clarke, Steve (1998-09-27). "ONLY FACTS and HORSES". Daily Mirror ( Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  8. ^ AFM '09: Latest Vamp Pic 'Dead Cert' Now Filming
  9. ^ AFM '09: Vampire Attack in Hi-Res 'Dead Cert' Pics
  10. ^ Injury Lawyers4U
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  24. ^ Biography for Billy Murray (I),
  25. ^ Celebrity X Factor – News. (2010-03-28). Retrieved on 2011-01-01.
  26. ^ First pics from DEAD CERT bite in

External links