Who Was Don Murray? Exploring His Life And Career As Oscar Nominated Star Who Worked With Marilyn Monroe Dies At 94

Don Murray, an Oscar-nominated actor, has passed away at 94. His son, Christopher Murray, confirmed the news to The New York Times. Murray was best known for his role in the 1956 rom-com Bus Stop.

Updated on Feb 04, 2024  |  02:05 PM IST |  53K
IMDb
Don Murray (IMDb)

Don Murray, the actor who earned an Oscar nomination for performing opposite Marilyn Monroe in the 1956 rom-com Bus Stop, has reportedly died at 94. His son, Christopher Murray, confirmed the news on Friday, February 2, to The New York Times. The Washington Post also reported on his death.

Who was Don Murray?

Donald Patrick Murray, born on July 31, 1929, was an American actor best known for his breakout performance in the film Bus Stop with Marilyn Monroe, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. His other films include A Hatful of Rain (1957), Shake Hands with the Devil (1959), One Foot in Hell (1960), The Hoodlum Priest (1961), Advise & Consent (1962), Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), Deadly Hero (1975), and Peggy Sue Got Married (1986).

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Don Murray (IMDb)

Murray was born in Los Angeles and was the second of three children, to Dennis Aloysius Murray, a Broadway dance director and stage manager, and Ethel Murray, a former Ziegfeld Follies performer. 

Murray attended East Rockaway High School in 1947, where he played football, and track, and was part of the student government, glee club, and Alpha Phi Chapter. After high school, he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and made his Broadway debut in 1951 as Jack Hunter in The Rose Tattoo.

As 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. He was assigned to alternative service in Europe, where he helped orphans and war casualties. In 1954, the late actor returned to the US and began acting, starring in Mary Martin's stage version of The Skin of Our Teeth. Upon seeing his performance, director Joshua Logan cast him in 20th Century Fox's film adaptation of Bus Stop, a play by William Inge.

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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 they had three children, Colleen, Sean, and Michael.

Murray died on February 2, 2024, at the age of 94.

Don Murray and Kyle MacLachlan in Twin Peaks (IMDb)

Don Murray's notable works

Don Murray made his film debut in Bus Stop (1956), playing Beauregard Decker, a cowboy determined to get Cherie. His performance was well-received, leading to nominations for BAFTA for Most Promising Newcomer and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 1957, Murray starred as Charlie Sampson in The Bachelor Party and as Johnny Pope in A Hatful of Rain. Despite director Fred Zinnemann's plan to cast him as Polo, Murray chose to play the lead, portraying a morphine-addicted Korean War veteran. The film highlighted the effects of drug abuse on the addicted and their loved ones.

Murray starred in Advise & Consent (1962), a film adaptation of Allen Drury's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, directed by Otto Preminger. He co-starred with Steve McQueen in Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965) and played Governor Breck in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972). Murray starred in Advise & Consent (1962), a film adaptation of Allen Drury's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, directed by Otto Preminger. He co-starred with Steve McQueen in Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965) and played Governor Breck in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972).

In 1979, Murray starred as Sid Fairgate on the soap opera Knots Landing and wrote two episodes in 1980. However, in 1981, he left the series due to a salary dispute. The character's death was a significant event, as it was rare to kill off a star character. 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.

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Know more about Don Murray

What was Don Murray's net worth?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Don Murray's net worth was around $16 Million USD.

Who was Don Murray married to?
Don Murray was married to actress Hope Lange between 1956 and 1961. He also tied the knot with actress Elizabeth Johnson in 1962.

What movies did Don Murray play in?
Don Murray appeared in movies like Bus Stop, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, From Hell to Texas, The Bachelor Party and Endless Love, among many others.

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