Born in Kingston, Texas, to cotton sharecroppers on June 20, 1924, Audie Murphy was devastated when his father abandoned his large family in the late 1930s. To make matters worse, his mother passed away only a few years later. After the death of his mother, Murphy enlisted in the Army in 1942 and emerged from World War II as the nation's most decorated soldier and appeared on the cover of several magazines. War wounds aside, his boyish looks and popularity as a war hero made him a natural for films. Not long after his release from the service, Murphy made his way to Hollywood at the invitation of actor James Cagney. His first screen appearance came in the Paramount drama Beyond Glory (1948; with Alan Ladd and Donna Reed), in which Murphy portrayed a soldier. He landed a starring role in the juvenile-delinquent drama Bad Boy (1949; with Lloyd Nolan and Jane Wyatt). In 1949, while acting in a remake of Forbidden Valley titled Sierra (1950; with Burl Ives and Wanda Hendrix), Murphy met and married starlet Wanda Hendrix. The same year he published his now-famous autobiography, To Hell and Back, which is still in print. Murphy's marriage to Wanda Hendrix suffered under the strain of their careers and ended in 1950. During the following year, Murphy married his second wife, Pamela Archer, a flight attendant.

the films of audie murphy

Kansas Raiders (1950)

James Best, Dewey Martin, Audie Murphy, Brian Donlevy, Richard Long, and Tony CurtisMarguerite Chapman and Audie Murphy

From the Universal-International western Kansas Raiders. LEFT: With James Best, Dewey Martin, Brian Donlevy, Richard Long, and Tony Curtis. RIGHT: With Marguerite Chapman

The Kid from Texas (1950)

Gale Storm and Audie MurphyGale Storm, Audie Murphy, and Albert Dekker

From the Universal-International western The Kid from Texas. LEFT: With Gale Storm. RIGHT: With Gale Storm and Albert Dekker

Gunsmoke (1953)

Susan Cabot and Audie MurphySusan Cabot and Audie MurphySusan Cabot and Audie Murphy

Stills from the Universal western Gunsmoke with Susan Cabot

Tumbleweed (1953)

Lori Nelson, Russell Johnson, Audie Murphy, and Chill Wills

With Lori Nelson, Russell Johnson, and Chill Wills in Tumbleweed

Drums Across the River (1954)

Hugh O'Brian and Audie MurphyAudie Murphy and Hugh O'BrianAudie Murphy and Lisa Gaye

LEFT and CENTER: With Hugh O'Brian in the Universal-International western Drums Across the River. RIGHT: Murphy with Lisa Gaye

Walk the Proud Land (1956)

Charles Drake, Anne Bancroft, and Audie MurphyAudie Murphy, Charles Drake, and Pat Crowley

From the Universal-International western Walk the Proud Land. LEFT: With Charles Drake and Anne Bancroft. RIGHT: With Charles Drake and Pat Crowley

World in My Corner (1956)

Audie MurphyAudie MurphyAudie MurphyAudie Murphy and Barbara Rush

From World in My Corner. The extreme right photo includes Barbara Rush

The Wild and the Innocent (1959)

Audie Murphy, Peter Breck, and Jim BackusJoanne Dru, Audie Murphy, and Peter Breck

LEFT: From the Universal-International western The Wild and the Innocent with Peter Breck and Jim Backus. RIGHT: With Joanne Dru and Peter Breck

40 Guns to Apache Pass (1967)

Audie MurphyAudie Murphy

From Murphy's penultimate film, 40 Guns to Apache Pass

later years

Audie Murphy's film career had been a successful one, but in the 1960s he put Hollywood on the back burner, focusing instead on his business interests. Unfortunately, he faced a reversal of fortune and was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1968. Following this, attempted a comeback in Budd Boetticher's A Time for Dying (1969; with Victor Jory). Tragically, Murphy died with six others while on a business trip in a plane crash near Roanoke, Virginia, on May 28, 1971, at age 46. He was survived by his second wife, Pamela, and their two sons.

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A Time for Dying (1969) with Victor Jory, Peter Brocco, Ron Masak, Burt Mustin, Anne Randall, and Robert Random
40 Guns to Apache Pass (1967) with Kenneth Tobey, Michael Burns, Laraine Stephens, and Michael Blodgett
The Texican (1966) with Broderick Crawford
Trunk to Cairo (1966) with George Sanders and Marianne Koch
Gunpoint (1965) with Warren Stevens, Robert Pine, Joan Staley, Edgar Buchanan, Denver Pyle, Royal Dano, John Hoyt, and Ford Rainey
Arizona Raiders (1965) with Buster Crabbe, Gloria Talbott, and Ben Cooper
Apache Rifles (1964) with Michael Dante and John Archer
Bullet for a Badman (1964) with Darren McGavin, Ruta Lee, Edward Platt, Beverley Owen, George Tobias, and Alan Hale Jr.
The Quick Gun (1964) with Merry Anders, Gregg Palmer, and James Best
Gunfight at Comanche Creek (1963) with Colleen Miller, DeForest Kelley, Ben Cooper, and Susan Seaforth Hayes
Showdown (1963) with Charles Drake and Kathleen Crowley
Six Black Horses (1962) with Dan Duryea and Joan O'Brien
Battle at Bloody Beach (1961) with Gary Crosby, Alejandro Rey, Lillian Bronson, Ivan Dixon, and Kevin Brodie
Posse from Hell (1961) with John Saxon, Vic Morrow, and Lee Van Cleef
Seven Ways from Sundown (1960) with Barry Sullivan, Venetia Stevenson, John McIntire, and Kenneth Tobey
The Unforgiven (1960) with Burt Lancaster, Audrey Hepburn, Doug McClure, and John Saxon
Hell Bent for Leather (1960) with Felicia Farr, Stephen McNally, and Allan 'Rocky' Lane
Cast a Long Shadow (1959) with Terry Moore, James Best, John Dehner, Denver Pyle, Ann Doran, and Stacy Harris
The Wild and the Innocent (1959) with Joanne Dru, Gilbert Roland, Sandra Dee, Peter Breck, Jim Backus, Strother Martin, and Edson Stroll
No Name on the Bullet (1959) with Charles Drake, Warren Stevens, Joan Evans, and Virginia Grey
The Gun Runners (1958) with Eddie Albert and Jack Elam
Ride a Crooked Trail (1958) with Walter Matthau, Gia Scala, Henry Silva, and Joanna Moore
The Quiet American (1958) with Giorgia Moll and Michael Redgrave
Joe Butterfly (1957) with George Nader, John Agar, Keenan Wynn, and Fred Clark
Night Passage (1957) with James Stewart, Dan Duryea, Elaine Stewart, Hugh Beaumont, and Jack Elam
The Guns of Fort Petticoat (1957) with Kathryn Grant, Hope Emerson, and Jeff Donnell
Walk the Proud Land (1956) with Charles Drake, Anne Bancroft, Jay Silverheels, and Morris Ankrum
World in My Corner (1956) with Barbara Rush and Jeff Morrow
To Hell and Back (1955) with Marshall Thompson, Jack Kelly, Charles Drake, David Janssen, and Brett Halsey
Destry (1954) with Mari Blanchard, Lori Nelson, Lyle Bettger, and Mary Wickes
Drums Across the River (1954) with Lyle Bettger, Hugh O'Brian, Lisa Gaye, and Mara Corday
Ride Clear of Diablo (1954) with Susan Cabot, Russell Johnson, and Dan Duryea
Tumbleweed (1953) with Lori Nelson, Russell Johnson, Chill Wills, and Lee Van Cleef
Column South (1953) with Joan Evans, Russell Johnson, Robert Sterling, Jack Kelly, and James Best
Gunsmoke (1953) with Susan Cabot, Charles Drake, and Jack Kelly
The Duel at Silver Creek (1952) with Faith Domergue, Susan Cabot, and Gerald Mohr
The Cimarron Kid (1951) with Hugh O'Brian, John Bromfield, and James Best
The Red Badge of Courage (1951) with Andy Devine and Royal Dano
Kansas Raiders (1950) with Brian Donlevy, Scott Brady, Tony Curtis, Richard Long, Richard Egan, Richard Arlen, James Best, and Dewey Martin
Sierra (1950) with Wanda Hendrix, Burl Ives, Dean Jagger, and Tony Curtis
The Kid from Texas (1950) with Albert Dekker, Gale Storm, Will Geer, and William Talman
Bad Boy (1949) with Lloyd Nolan, Martha Vickers, Jane Wyatt, James Gleason, Selena Royle, Dickie Moore, and Tommy Cook
Beyond Glory (1948) with Alan Ladd, Donna Reed, Tom Neal, George Macready, Conrad Janis, and Margaret Field
Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven (1948) with Guy Madison, Irene Ryan, Lionel Stander, Margaret Hamilton, William Frawley, and Roscoe Karns; directed by William Castle

Whispering Smith, 1961 NBC TV series. Murphy portrayed Detective Tom 'Whispering' Smith

Ford Startime, episode The Man, originally aired January 5, 1960

audie murphy links

The Audie L. Murphy Memorial Web Site offers a biography, film clips, a photo gallery, and more.

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Watch Audie Murphy in the 1960 Department of Defense short The Big Picture: The Broken Bridge

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