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Billy Murray (actor)

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Billy Murray
William Albert Murray

(1941-10-06) 6 October 1941 (age 81)
Forest Gate, Essex, England
Alma materEast 15 Acting School
Years active1963–present
Spouse(s)Maureen (divorced)
Elaine Hoyer (?–present)
Children4; including Jaime Murray
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.

Often known for portraying "hard man" characters, he has also starred in McVicar (1980), Essex Boys (2000), One in the Chamber (2012), We Still Steal the Old Way (2016), Nemesis (2021) and the Rise of the Footsoldier film series (2007–2021).

Early life

Murray was born in Forest Gate, Essex and grew up in Upton Park, East London, one of three children of Timothy and Vera Murray; his father was a plasterer, nightclub bouncer and a boxing champion. Murray attended St. Edward's Catholic Primary and St Bonaventure's Catholic School.[2] After leaving school at fourteen, Murray worked as a shelf-stacker at a Co-Op supermarket in Canning Town and at the local docks cleaning the dirt out of oil tankers. He also had football trials for West Ham United and boxed for the Reggie and Ronnie Kray-owned West Ham Boxing Club. Murray became good friends with the Krays to the extent that he accompanied them on holiday to Spain.[citation needed] 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 The Wrong Arm of the Law before having minor uncredited roles in What a Crazy World (1963) and Two Left Feet (1965). This was followed by larger roles in the films Poor Cow (1967), Corruption (1968), Up the Junction (1968) and Performance (1970). 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 also 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] Other notable film roles include the role of Joey in the hit 1980 film McVicar (1980).

In 1995, he took on 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 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 for 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 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. His character 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 Murray won the 'Best Villain' award at the British Soap Awards in May 2006.

Following his departure from EastEnders, Murray appeared in several British films such as Rollin' with the Nines (2006), Doghouse (2009) and Dead Cert (2010).[6][7] He also played Mickey Steele in three films from the Rise of the Footsoldier film series, those being Rise of the Footsoldier (2007), Rise of the Footsoldier 3: The Pat Tate Story (2017) and Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins (2021).

He also provided the voice of Captain John Price in the video games Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2009) and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2011) and fronted the adverts for Injury Lawyers 4 U, a compensation claims company in the UK.[8]

Murray's later career has mainly consisted of film roles, including The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan (2012), One in the Chamber (2012), We Still Steal the Old Way (2016) and Nemesis (2021). He is also set to star alongside Lee Majors, Danny Trejo and Ian Ogilvy in the upcoming action-thriller film Renegades due for release in early 2022.

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 allegedly attacked two men who they believed were supplying drugs to their daughters.[9] Murray said 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.[10] He also admitted that the court case had put a strain on his marriage.[1] 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".[11] 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.[12] In July 2011, it was confirmed that the assault case against Murray had been dropped.[13]

Outside of acting, Murray is involved in property investment and owns and rents out lock-ups, flats and garages across East London.[14]

He is a West Ham United football club fan,[15] and a supporter of the Conservative Party.[16]



Year Title Character Notes
1963 The Wrong Arm of the Law Crook at Syndicate Meeting Uncredited
What a Crazy World Youth at Dance Uncredited
1965 Two Left Feet Gang Member Uncredited
1967 Poor Cow Tom's mate
1968 Up the Junction Ray
Corruption Rik
1970 Performance Thug
1980 McVicar Joey Davis
1991 Buddy's Song Harry
2000 Essex Boys Perry Elley
2004 One Man and His Dog D.C. Stevens
2005 Hell to Pay Larry Malone
2006 Rollin' with the Nines David Brumby
2007 Rise of the Footsoldier Mickey Steele
2009 Doghouse Colonel
2010 Just for the Record Wilson Barnes
Dead Cert Dante Livenko
Stalker Robert
Freight Gabe Taylor
The Rapture DI Bowden
2011 How to Stop Being a Loser Dr. Leaner
2012 Strippers vs Werewolves Jack Ferris
The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan Mr. Robinson
One in the Chamber Leo Crosby
Acceptance Eric
Airborne Cutter
2013 Essex Boys Retribution Prisoner
2014 What's the Score? The Producer
The Disappearance of Lenka Wood Draper
2016 We Still Steal the Old Way Vic Farrow
2017 Rise of the Footsoldier 3: The Pat Tate Story Mickey Steele
2020 Vengeance Eric
2021 Nemesis John Morgan
Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins Mickey Steele
2022 Renegades Woody Post-production


Year Title Character Notes
1967 Vendetta Corsican Rebel Episode: "The Revolutionary Man"
1967 Trapped Gerry Episode: "Trapped: Au Pair Swedish Style"
1969 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Eric Episode: "Steve"
1969 The Root of All Evil? Terry Milward Episode: "The Long Sixpence"
1970 A Family at War Corporal Dewey Episode: "The Breach in the Dyke"
1970 Menace Luke Episode: "The Elimination"
1971 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Jim Episode: "The Silver Collection"
1971 Softly, Softly Georgie Benson Episode: "Better Than Doing Porridge"
1972 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Welder Episode: "Time Lock"
1972 New Scotland Yard George Read Episode: "The Wrong-Un"
1973 Barlow Culver Episode: "Informant"
1973 Two Women Clorindo Episode: #1.4
1973 Marked Personal Don Bannion 2 episodes
1974 New Scotland Yard Charlie Palmer Episode: "All That Glitters"
1975 The Sweeney Brian Cooney Episode: "Stoppo Driver"
1975 Suzi's Plan Bert TV film
1976 Rock Follies Spike All 6 episodes
1976 Barney's Last Battle Les Palmer TV film
1977 Target Rex Adcock Episode: "Roadrunner"
1977 Rock Follies of '77 Spike 5 episodes
1979 Hazell Big Dave Castle Episode: "Hazell Gets the Boot"
1979 Kids Dave Buckley Episode: "Laurie"
1979 The Professionals Morgan Episode: "Runner"
1981 Honky Tonk Heroes Dennis Episode: "It's Only Make Believe"
1981 Private Schulz Fred Episode: #1.6
1982 Saturday Night Thriller Bernie Episode: "Grass"
1983 Jemima Shore Investigates Billy Standen Episode: "A Promising Death"
1984 Crown Court Det. Insp. Minshull Episode: "Whisper Who Dares: Part 1"
1984 Missing from Home Chief Insp. Marsden Episode: #1.1
1984 Letty Eddie Waite 2 episodes
1984 Minder Charlie Pope Episode: "Second Hand Pose"
1985 Dempsey and Makepeace Billy Kennaway Episode: "The Hit"
1989 Minder Mick Episode: "Fiddler on the Hoof"
1989–1990 The Bill DI Jackman 2 episodes
1991 EastEnders Mr X 2 episodes
1991 Bergerac John Kelp Episode: "The Lohans"
1992 Casualty Don Collins Episode: "Cascade"
1992 The Ruth Rendell Mysteries Gunner Jones Episode: "Kissing the Gunner's Daughter: Part One"
1995 A Touch of Frost Bill Boxley Episode: "No Refuge"
1995–2004 The Bill DS Don Beech 186 episodes
2000 ITV Panto: Aladdin Police Chief TV film
2001 Beech is Back DS Don Beech All 6 episodes
2004 Doctors Larry Baker Episode: "My Stepmother the Alien"
2005–2006 EastEnders Johnny Allen 142 episodes
2007 The Grey Man George Rowlands TV film
2017 Ransom's Law Ewan Ransom All 6 episodes

Video games

Year Title Character Notes
2007 Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Captain John Price Voice
2009 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
2011 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3


  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. ^ "Billy Murray | the Newham Story". Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  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. ^ "Injury Claim Help from Personal Injury Solicitors | InjuryLawyers4U". Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
  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. ^ "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.
  11. ^ Carter, Helen (23 December 1998). "Police actor is cleared of assault". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  12. ^ "EastEnders actor Billy Murray charged with beating his wife and daughter". 13 April 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  13. ^ "'EastEnders' Billy Murray assault case dropped". 12 July 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  14. ^ "THE GARRY BUSHELL INTERVIEW: I'M AN EASTSLENDER". 13 February 2005. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  15. ^ Biography for Billy Murray (I), IMDb
  16. ^ Celebrity X Factor – News. People. (28 March 2010). Retrieved 1 January 2011.

External links