Don Murray (actor)
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Murray in 1956
|Born||Donald Patrick Murray
July 31, 1929
Hollywood, California, USA
|Alma mater||American Academy of Dramatic Arts|
(m.1956-1961; divorced; 2 children)
(m.1962-present; 3 children)
Donald Patrick "Don" Murray (born July 31, 1929) is an American actor.
Early life and career
Murray attended East Rockaway High School (class of 1947) in East Rockaway, New York where he played football and was on the track team. He was a member of the student government, glee club, and joined the Alpha Phi Chapter of the Omega Gamma Delta Fraternity. Upon graduation from high school, he went on to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After graduating, he soon made his Broadway debut in the 1951 play The Rose Tattoo, as Jack Hunter.
He took a three-year break from acting in order to assist orphans and war casualties during the Korean War. In 1954, he returned from Europe to America and to acting, when he starred alongside Mary Martin in the stage version of The Skin of Our Teeth. Upon seeing his performance in the play, director Joshua Logan decided to cast him in 20th Century Fox's film version of Bus Stop.
Film and television career
Don Murray's role as Beauregard "Bo" Decker in Bus Stop (1956) marked his film debut. He starred alongside Marilyn Monroe, who played Cherie, the object of his desire. His performance as the innocent cowboy who is determined to get Cherie was well received, and he was nominated for a BAFTA for Most Promising Newcomer and for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In 1957, he starred as reserved, married bookkeeper Charlie Sampson in The Bachelor Party. The same year he starred in one of his most successful roles, that of Johnny Pope in the drama A Hatful of Rain. Despite director Fred Zinnemann's intention to typecast the actor as the comical brother Polo, Murray insisted on playing the lead. Thus he portrayed Johnny Pope, a morphine addicted Korean War veteran. The film was one of the first to show the effects of drug abuse on the addicted and those around him.
He starred as a blackmailed United States senator in Advise & Consent (1961), a film version of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Allen Drury. The movie was directed by Otto Preminger and cast Murray opposite Henry Fonda and Charles Laughton. He also co-starred with Steve McQueen in the film Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965) and played the ape-hating Governor Breck in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972).
In 1979, he starred as Sid Fairgate on the long-running prime-time soap opera Knots Landing. He also scripted two episodes of the program in 1980. However, in 1981 Murray decided to leave the series after two seasons to concentrate on other projects, although some sources say he left over a salary dispute. The character's death was notable at the time because it was considered rare to kill off a star character. The death came in the second episode of season three, following season two's cliffhanger in which Sid's car careened off a cliff. To make viewers doubt that the character had actually died, Murray was listed in the credit sequence for season three; in fact, season three revealed that Fairgate had survived the plunge off the cliff (thus temporarily reassuring the viewers), but died shortly afterwards in hospital. Although he effectively distanced himself from the series after that, Murray later contributed an interview segment for Knots Landing: Together Again, a reunion special made in 2005.
In 1956, Don Murray married Hope Lange, with whom he had co-starred in Bus Stop. They had two children, Christopher and Patricia. They divorced in 1961. In 1962, he married Elizabeth Johnson and then had three children: Coleen, Sean, and Michael.
Despite the character he played in A Hatful of Rain, Murray had been an objector to the Korean War. Rather than participating, he had done civilian work by helping out refugees, including orphans in Europe.
TV and filmography
- Justice (1954)
- Bus Stop (1956)
- The Bachelor Party (1957)
- A Hatful of Rain (1957)
- From Hell to Texas (1958)
- These Thousand Hills (1959)
- Shake Hands with the Devil (1959)
- One Foot in Hell (1960)
- The Hoodlum Priest (1961)
- Advise & Consent (1961)
- Escape from East Berlin (1962)
- One Man's Way (1964)
- Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965)
- Kid Rodelo (1966)
- The Plainsman (1966)
- Sweet Love, Bitter (1967)
- The Borgia Stick (TV movie) (1967)
- The Viking Queen (1967)
- The Outcasts (TV series) – 1968
- Childish Things – 1969
- Daughter of the Mind (TV movie) (1969)
- The Intruders (TV movie) (1970)
- Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1971)
- Justin Morgan Had a Horse (1972)
- Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
- Cotter (1973)
- The Girl on the Late, Late Show (TV movie) (1973)
- The Sex Symbol (TV movie) (1974)
- A Girl Named Sooner (TV movie) (1975)
- Deadly Hero (1976)
- How the West Was Won (TV miniseries) (1977)
- Rainbow (TV movie) (1978)
- Crisis in Mid-Air (TV movie) (1979)
- If Things Were Different (TV movie) (1980)
- The Boy Who Drank Too Much (TV movie) (1980)
- Police Story: Confessions of a Lady Cop (TV movie) (1980)
- Fugitive Family (TV movie) (1980)
- Endless Love (1981)
- Return of the Rebels (TV movie) (1981)
- Thursday's Child (TV movie) (1983)
- Branagan and Mapes (TV movie) (1983)
- I Am the Cheese (1983)
- Quarterback Princess (TV movie) (1983)
- License to Kill (TV movie) (1984)
- A Touch of Scandal (TV movie) (1984)
- Radioactive Dreams (1985)
- Something in Common (TV movie) (1986)
- Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
- Scorpion (1986)
- Stillwatch (TV movie) (1987)
- The Stepford Children (TV movie) (1987)
- Mistress (TV movie) (1987)
- Made in Heaven (1987)
- Ghosts Can't Do It (1990)
- Montan Crossroads (TV episode of ABC Afterschool Specials) (1993)
- Hearts Adrift (TV movie) (1996)
- Mr. Headmistress (TV movie) (1998)
- Elvis is ALive (2001)
- Island Prey (2005)
- The Hard Ride (2011)
- Monush, Barry (2003-04-01). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the silent era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. pp. 535–. ISBN 978-1-55783-551-2. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
- Don Murray profile, Filmreference.com; retrieved 2012-06-18.
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