Don Murray (actor)

Donald Patrick Murray (born July 31, 1929) is an American actor.[1] Murray is best known for his breakout performance in the film Bus Stop (1956) with Marilyn Monroe, which earned him a nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Murray's other theatrical films include A Hatful of Rain (1957), Shake Hands with the Devil (1959) with James Cagney, One Foot in Hell (1960) with Alan Ladd, The Hoodlum Priest (1961), Advise & Consent (1962) with Henry Fonda and Charles Laughton, Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965) with Steve McQueen, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), Deadly Hero (1975) and Francis Ford Coppola's Peggy Sue Got Married (1986).

Don Murray
Murray at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Donald Patrick Murray

(1929-07-31) July 31, 1929
Alma materAmerican Academy of Dramatic Arts
Years active1954–present
Hope Lange
(m. 1956; div. 1961)

Bettie Johnson
(m. 1962)
Children5, including Christopher Murray

He starred in television series such as The Outcasts (1968–1969), Knots Landing (1979–1981) and Twin Peaks (2017).

Early life and career

Murray was born in 1929 the only child of Dennis Aloisius Murray, a Broadway dance director and stage manager, and Ethel Murray (née Cook), a former Ziegfeld performer.[2]

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.

Because he was a member of the Brethren Church, Murray registered as a conscientious objector during the Korean War when many young American men were being drafted into the armed forces. Murray was assigned to alternative service in Europe, helping orphans and war casualties.[3][4] 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 "Beau" 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.[5] 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 1976, Murray starred in the film Deadly Hero.[5] In addition to acting, Murray directed a film based on the book The Cross and the Switchblade (1970) starring Pat Boone and Erik Estrada.

Murray starred with Otis Young in the ground breaking ABC western television series The Outcasts (1968–1969) featuring an interracial bounty hunter team in the post-American Civil War West.

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. 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 July 2014, a retrospective of Murray's films was held at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.[5]

Personal life

In 1956, 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.


See also


  1. Monush, Barry (April 1, 2003). 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 June 29, 2011.
  2. Don Murray profile,; retrieved June 18, 2012.
  3. "Alternatives, Narrated by Don Murray". American Friends Service Committee. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  4. Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors. New York: Applause Theatre and Cinema Books. p. 535. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  5. Kiefer, Jonathan (July 2, 2014). "Discovering Don". SF Weekly.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.