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Don Murray, Oscar Nominated for ‘Bus Stop’ Role Alongside Marilyn Monroe, Dies at 94

Don Murray, Oscar Nominated for ‘Bus Stop’ Role Alongside Marilyn Monroe, Dies at 94

Don Murray, who garnered an Oscar nomination for his performance alongside Marilyn Monroe in the romantic comedy Bus Stop has passed away. His son, Christopher Murray, confirmed the news of his passing to The New York Times last week. He was 94. 

In the late 1960s, he starred in the Western drama The Outcasts on ABC, alongside Otis Young. A decade later, he took on a leading role in the CBS soap opera Knots Landing, a spinoff of Dallas that premiered in 1979. He portrayed Sid Fairgate until the character’s death in Season 3.

Despite his advancing years, Murray remained active in Hollywood, making appearances in a variety of film and TV projects. This is evident from his IMDB page. One of Murray’s most notable roles in recent times was his portrayal of insurance man Bushnell Mullins in the 2017 revival of Twin Peaks.

Born on July 31, 1929, Murray grew up on the outskirts of New York City. His upbringing was influenced by his mother, a former Ziegfeld girl, and his father, a Broadway dance director. Murray finished high school at East Rockaway High School.

At 19, he worked as a CBS usher, earning $17 a week while studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He later joined the cast of Tennessee Williams’ acclaimed play The Rose Tattoo in the original 1951 Broadway production, which won a Tony Award.

During the Korean War, Murray served as a conscientious objector. He worked in German and Italian refugee camps as part of the Brethren Volunteer Service, a precursor to the Peace Corps. He returned to the U.S. in 1955.

Don Murray Scores Accolades Starring Alongside Marilyn Monroe

Following his appearance in a 1955 Broadway revival of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth, Don Murray caught the attention of director Joshua Logan. Murray was offered the role of Bo Decker, a naive Montana man who becomes infatuated with chanteuse Chérie (portrayed by Marilyn Monroe), in the 1956 film Bus Stop. This marked Murray’s cinematic debut at the age of 26.

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Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray ‘Bus Stop’, 1956. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)

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, who portrayed painter Paul Gauguin in Lust for Life.

In the 1959 film Shake Hands With the Devil, Murray had the opportunity to co-star with James Cagney. He also portrayed the hopeful Norman Vincent Peale in the 1964 film One Man’s Way.

Murray co-wrote and directed The Cross and the Switchblade (1970), a real-life drama about a passionate minister from New York (Pat Boone). Notably, this film marked Erik Estrada’s screen debut.

His most recent screen appearance was the 2021 Western, Promise.