Murray at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Donald Patrick Murray
July 31, 1929
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||American Academy of Dramatic Arts|
|Children||5, including Christopher Murray|
Donald Patrick Murray (born July 31, 1929) is an American actor. 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).
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. 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.
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. 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. In 1981, Murray decided to leave the series after two seasons to concentrate on other projects, but 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, 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.