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Don Murray Dies: ‘Bus Stop’, ‘Knot’s Landing’ Actor Was 94

Don Murray, who rose to fame co-starring with Marilyn Monroe in 1956’s Bus Stop and enjoyed a prolific career that stretched into the 21st Century with Twin Peaks: The Return in 2017, has died. He was 94.

His death was announced by his son Christopher to The New York Times. No additional details were provided.

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Murray was Oscar-nominated for his debut performance as Beauregard “Beau” Decker, the lovestruck cowboy who falls for Monroe’s saloon singer Cherie in Joshua Logan’s Bus Stop, an adaptation of the William Inge play.

A conscientious objector during the Korean War who fulfilled his service obligation by working in German and Italian refugee camps, Murray became known for building an acting career in what were once called “message” movies, films with socially responsible themes. In Fred Zinnemann’s A Hatful of Rain (1957), he played a morphine-addicted war veteran, and in 1962 starred as a closeted (and blackmailed) gay senator in Otto Preminger’s Advise & Consent.

Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray, ‘Bus Stop’ (1956)
Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray, ‘Bus Stop’ (1956)

Numerous other films would follow, including a co-starring role opposite Steve McQueen in 1965’s Baby the Rain Must Fall. In 1972 he appeared in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes as a governor out to destroy a pair of earth-stranded apes, and in 1986 he played the father of Kathleen Turner’s title character in Peggy Sue Got Married.

Murray also had a busy television career, most prominently in a starring role on Knot’s Landing (1979–1981). He co-starred with Otis Young in the short-lived 1968-69 Western series The Outcasts, a series notable for teaming a Black actor with a white actor: Their characters had fought on opposite sides of the Civil War before becoming bounty-hunting partners.

Born in Hollywood on July 31, 1929, Murray made his Broadway debut in 1951 in Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo, and would return to the stage in 1955’s The Skin of Our Teeth, a performance that attracted the attention of director Logan and got him the role in Bus Stop. Murray would return to Broadway more than five times over the next two decades, appearing in plays such as Same Time, Next Year and, in 1975, the Norman Conquests trilogy.

In 1970, Murray co-wrote and directed The Cross and the Switchblade, a drama starring Pat Boone as a minister seeking to bring religion to Chicago street gangs.

His first of two marriages was to Hope Lange, who had co-starred with Murray and Monroe in Bus Stop. He later married actress Elizabeth Johnson.

Information on survivors was not immediately available.

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