So how much did you know about Oscar-winner George Murphy? You mean you didn’t know that Murphy copped an Academy Award? (Well, join the rest of us.)
Fact is that his screen presence — in more than 40 movies, many MGM musicals — was generally (although not always) pleasantly imposing. But he was considered for the most part far from an acting heavyweight.
Murphy definitely was a tall, dignified song and dance man, and he generally cut a onscreen genial figure. So much so that he eventually became sort of a personification of all the was right with big-studio Hollywood.
Little wonder that in 1951 he was presented with a special Academy Award for “his service in correctly interpreting the film industry to the country at large.” Can you imagine such an award being presented by today’s Hollywood?
Ok, on to the answers to our George Murphy Quiz. For a re-look at the questions, please refer to yesterday’s blog. Here we go:
1) Answer: c) Murphy was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1964, defeating Pierre Salinger, who was former press secretary to President John Kennedy. Murphy lost his seat six years later (one Senate term) to moderate Democrat John Tunney. A former Democrat himself, Murphy switched parties in 1939. He served two terms a president of the Screen Actors Guild. His career as a performer ended in 1952.
2) Answer: Ok, we admit it. This was a trick question meant to keep you on your toes. Murphy starred in ALL these Broadway-themed pictures.
3) Answer: d) 1964’s The Thin Red Line, based on the James Jones novel set in the Guadalcanal campaign of World War II. The picture was remade in 1998 by director Terrance Malick. Murphy was not in earlier version, and died six years before the later version was made.
4) Answer: d) Bela Lugosi. By the way, that’s Shirley Temple with Murphy in the photo above.
5) Answer: b) False. See above.
BONUS QUESTION: It was George Murphy who urged fellow Broadway performer Bob Hope to check out a pretty, young singer playing at a local nightclub. Hope did, and wound up marrying Dolores Reade after a brief courtship. The marriage through thick and thin lasted until Hope’s death at age 100 in 2003.