Don Murray obituary


The actor Don Murray, who has died aged 94, made his huge display debut in 1956 reverse Marilyn Monroe in Bus Cease. His efficiency because the gangling, wide-eyed cowboy who falls for a saloon bar singer earned him an Oscar nomination as greatest supporting actor and a Bafta nomination as most promising newcomer. Monroe was excellent as Chérie and Murray as Beauregard, besotted and wanting to marry, made the right foil.

His profession continued strongly in 1957 with The Bachelor Occasion, through which he performed a married man sad concerning the doubtful happenings at a stag occasion, and A Hatful of Rain, as a Korean battle veteran hooked on heroin. The director, Fred Zinnemann, described it as “the grimmest movie I ever made”. Murray’s efficiency displayed the dedication that was to characterise a lot of his work. Few actors have allowed their ethical beliefs and sociopolitical considerations to have an effect on their careers so markedly.

Born in Hollywood, California, and introduced up in Lengthy Island, in a showbusiness surroundings – his mom, Ethel (nee Cook dinner), was a former Ziegfeld woman and his father, Dennis, a stage supervisor and someday choreographer – Don started performing whereas at East Rockaway highschool. After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York, he started a profession in summer season inventory and in 1951, aged 21, made his Broadway debut in Tennessee Williams’s The Rose Tattoo. A yr later, he was known as as much as battle within the Korean battle, however refused as a conscientious objector on non secular grounds and spent the next three years working with refugees.

Don Murray, pictured with fellow cast member Michele Lee, starred in the TV soap Knots Landing from 1979 to 1981.
Don Murray, with fellow forged member Michele Lee, starred within the TV cleaning soap Knots Touchdown from 1979 to 1981. {Photograph}: Everett Assortment Inc/Alamy

He returned to the stage in 1955 in Thornton Wilder’s The Pores and skin of Our Enamel, subsequently enjoying Henry Antrobus within the tv film of the play. The efficiency was seen by the director Joshua Logan, whose legendary eye for recognizing good-looking and gifted younger actors led to Murray being forged in Bus Cease. A friendship between Murray and the actor Hope Lange, who additionally made her film debut within the movie, developed right into a romance and in 1956 they received married.

After the gritty dramas of 1957, he performed an innocent-looking cowboy within the revenge western From Hell to Texas (1958), stayed out west for These Thousand Hills and took the title position in a tv model of Billy Budd (1959). In the identical yr co-starred with James Cagney in Shake Arms With the Satan, the primary movie to be shot at Ardmore Studios in Eire, as an Irish revolutionary who turns into disillusioned by the fanaticism of his chief. Murray then climbed again into the saddle for One Foot in Hell (1960).

These and different successes enabled him to provide a movie of his personal selecting; in addition to producing, Murray additionally co-wrote (utilizing the pseudonym Don Deer) and starred in The Hoodlum Priest (1961), the story of Father Charles Dismas Clark, who helped juvenile delinquents and former convicts in St Louis through the Nineteen Twenties. This highly effective movie took an retro anti-capital punishment stance and urged the rehabilitation of criminals.

It was adopted by the very best film of his profession, Otto Preminger’s political thriller Advise and Consent (1962). Becoming a member of a heavyweight forged (Henry Fonda, Charles Laughton, Walter Pidgeon and Lew Ayres), Murray had the pivotal position of a senator who’s blackmailed – and who finally kills himself – due to a gay affair throughout navy service in Hawaii. The political intrigue, the suicide and the homosexual theme had been controversial for the interval.

One other docudrama, Escape from East Berlin (initially launched as Tunnel 28), directed by Robert Siodmak in Germany, was primarily based on a topical true occasion a few group escaping to the west through a tunnel. Persevering with his curiosity in “actual life” topics, Murray took the lead in One Man’s Method (1964), the story of a journalist turned crusading evangelist. Within the underrated drama Child the Rain Should Fall (1965), he took the second lead to Steve McQueen. This compelling story of a disturbed man suffered from studio interference and timidity on its launch.

Such dedicated motion pictures turned more and more onerous to seek out, and Murray made a few westerns earlier than heading for Britain to take the lead because the Roman governor Justinian in a turgid costume romp, The Viking Queen (1967).

Don Murray with Kathleen Turner, left. Barbara Harris and Sofia Coppola in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Don Murray with Kathleen Turner, left, Barbara Harris and Sofia Coppola in Peggy Sue Obtained Married (1986), directed by Francis Ford Coppola. {Photograph}: Everett Assortment Inc/Alamy

After Candy Love, Bitter, a sombre biopic loosely primarily based on the jazz legend Charlie “Fowl” Parker, and the TV sequence The Outcasts, he wrote and starred in Infantile Issues (1969), enjoying an alcoholic ex-GI who will get concerned in crime however is redeemed by love. Murray’s sincerity was apparent however his alternative of director – John Derek – resulted in a mix of exploitation and moralising. To achieve full management, Murray made his directorial debut along with his personal screenplay for The Cross and the Switchblade (1970), one other story of a zealous minister – this time set on the streets of New York and starring the singer and occasional actor Pat Boone, who shared his non secular beliefs. It failed commercially and was criticised for its pious tone.

Murray, by now in his 40s, selected to work steadily in business motion pictures, together with Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), Justin Morgan Had a Horse (1972), Cotter (1973) and the tense thriller Lethal Hero (1975), through which he had an distinctive half as a detective. He took day out to provide Damien’s Island (1976), a few priest who labored with folks with leprosy and succumbed to the illness himself, however Murray’s model of the true story was by no means proven. He returned to tv, together with the mini-series How the West Was Received (1977), Rainbow (1978), through which he performed Judy Garland’s father, Frank, and a three-year stint within the cleaning soap Knots Touchdown (1979-82).

He labored often in good TV motion pictures corresponding to One thing in Frequent (1986) and, much less typically, in memorable movies together with Francis Ford Coppola’s undervalued Peggy Sue Obtained Married (1986), as father to Peggy Sue (Kathleen Turner), and a pleasant romance by Alan Rudolph, Made in Heaven (1987). However after the lamentable Ghosts Can’t Do It (1989), directed by John Derek, Murray didn’t seem on display for 5 years, and later appeared sometimes and solely in supporting roles.

In 2001, he had a number one position in Island Prey, co-starring Olivia Hussey and, after a 30-year absence from the director’s chair, made Elvis Is Alive, a comedy a few Presley impersonator in Paris who may simply be the actual factor, through which Murray took a job and for which his son Sean supplied the music. In 2017 he was tempted out of retirement in Santa Barbara to seem within the revamped tv sequence, Twin Peaks.

Murray is survived by two youngsters, Christopher and Patricia, from his first marriage, which resulted in divorce, and three youngsters, Colleen, Sean and Michael, from his second marriage, in 1962, to Bettie Johnson.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here