Don Murray, the actor who received an Oscar nomination for his role alongside Marilyn Monroe in the 1956 romantic comedy Bus Stop, has died. Christopher Murray, his son, confirmed the news of his passing to The New York Times on Friday. He was 94.
In the late ’60s, he starred in ABC’s one-season Western drama The Outcasts alongside Otis Young. A decade later, he played a leading role in the CBS soap opera Knots Landing, a Dallas spinoff that premiered in 1979. He portrayed Sid Fairgate until the character’s demise in Season 3. Murray stayed active in Hollywood, even in his later years, appearing in various film and TV projects, as stated on his IMDB page.
Don Murray’s most high-profile role in recent years was in 2017’s Twin Peaks revival. He played insurance man Bushnell Mullins.
Don Murray Landed an Oscar Nomination in His Big Screen Debut Opposite Marilyn Monroe
Born on July 31, 1929, Murray grew up on the outskirts of New York City. His upbringing was shaped by his mother, a former Ziegfeld girl, and his father, a Broadway dance director. Murray completed his education at East Rockaway High School.
At the age of 19, he landed a job as an usher at CBS, earning a humble $17 a week, while also studying at the esteemed American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Later, he joined the cast of Tennessee Williams’ critically acclaimed play The Rose Tattoo in its original 1951 Broadway production. The production went on to win a Tony Award.
During the Korean War, Murray was a conscientious objector. However, he served in German and Italian refugee camps as a part of the Brethren Volunteer Service, which was a precursor to the Peace Corps. He returned to the U.S. in 1955.
After appearing in a 1955 Broadway revival of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth, Don Murray was approached by director Joshua Logan to play Bo Decker, the naive Montana man who falls for chanteuse Chérie (Marylin Monroe), in 1956’s Bus Stop. It marked his film debut at the age of 26.
In 1957, Murray was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 29th Academy Awards for his performance in Bus Stop. However, he lost to Anthony Quinn for his role as painter Paul Gauguin in Lust for Life.
Murray later co-starred with James Cagney in the 1959 film Shake Hands With the Devil and portrayed the optimistic Norman Vincent Peale in One Man’s Way in 1964.
Murray portrayed a bounty hunter during the Civil War era in the ABC series The Outcasts (1968-69). He also co-wrote and directed The Cross and the Switchblade (1970), a captivating true-life drama centered around a passionate minister from New York (Pat Boone). Notably, this film marked the screen debut of Erik Estrada.
His most recent screen appearance was the 2021 Western, Promise.