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Billy Murray (actor)

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Billy Murray
William Albert Murray

(1941-10-06) 6 October 1941 (age 77)
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, 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 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][1]

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 Derek "Del Boy" Trotter in the BBC TV series Only Fools and Horses before it finally went to David Jason.[6] 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, 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 killed off after he succumbed to a heart attack in prison. Before playing Johnny Allen in EastEnders he also appeared as Mr X in two episodes 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).[7][8]

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.[9]

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[10] 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.[11] His daughter ran away from school and home, was "descending into an underworld of drugs" and was hospitalised after overdosing in June 1998.[12] 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.[13] He also admitted that the court case had put a strain on his marriage.[1][14] 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".[15] 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".[10]

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.[16][17] In July 2011, it was confirmed that the assault case against Murray had been dropped.[18]

Outside of acting, Murray is involved in property investment and owns and rents out lock-ups, flats and garages across East London.[19]

He is a West Ham United football club fan,[20] and a supporter of the Conservative Party.[21]

Selected TV and filmography


  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. ^ Nathan, Sarah (24 January 2005). "Billy's a Kray-zy gangster". The Sun. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  4. ^ Daily Mirror, 23 January 2005.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ Clarke, Steve (27 September 1998). "ONLY FACTS and HORSES". Daily Mirror. CNET. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  7. ^ "AFM '09: Latest Vamp Pic 'Dead Cert' Now Filming - Bloody Disgusting". 28 October 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  8. ^ "AFM '09: Vampire Attack in Hi-Res 'Dead Cert' Pics - Bloody Disgusting". 4 November 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 January 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ a b "Bill Star Was Right to Give Me Good Hiding Says Junkie". The People (London, England). 27 December 1998. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ Carter, Helen (23 December 1998). "Police actor is cleared of assault". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Ex-EastEnders star Billy Murray charged with beating wife and daughter 'after late-night row'". 13 April 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  17. ^ "EastEnders actor Billy Murray charged with beating his wife and daughter". 13 April 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  18. ^ "'EastEnders' Billy Murray assault case dropped". 12 July 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  19. ^ "THE GARRY BUSHELL INTERVIEW: I'M AN EASTSLENDER". 13 February 2005. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  20. ^ Biography for Billy Murray (I), IMDb
  21. ^ Celebrity X Factor – News. People. (28 March 2010). Retrieved 1 January 2011.
  22. ^ First pics from DEAD CERT bite in Archived 20 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Series 1, Episode 2". Lily Savage's Blankety Blank. 14 January 2001. ITV1. Repeated 22 August 2016 on Challenge.

External links