DON MURRAY is unique among the 50s heartthrobs. He was a drop-dead significant actor from the period of 17, when he turned down college scholarships come enroll in the American Academy the Dramatic Arts. That remained in the so late 1940s. Don was born also late (1929) to offer in world War II, but Korea interrupted a career that might have taken turn off sooner. Favor Lew Ayres and also many others, Don didn"t believe in war and also served his nation by working in German and Italian refugees camps.This was one of the specifying moments of his life, opening his eyes to the realities of the world, and readjusted the scope of his acting ambition.

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once he went back to the us in 1955, things happened quickly for him. He winner a function in the revival of The Skin of ours Teeth, and when manager Joshua Logan (who"d want him to play the lead in Picnic on Broadway) experienced him on stage, that knew he"d discovered the man to beat opposite Marilyn Monroe in Bus Stop.


It to be the duty that made Don Murray a movie star, however it wasn"t the type of acting that Don preferred. He resisted Fox Studios" attempts to typecast him and also threw himself right into a succession of tasks that, oddly, are currently all forget classics:

The Bachelor Party (1957), A Hatful that Rain (1957), because that I have actually Loved Strangers (1957, Playhouse 90), From Hell to Texas (1958), The Hasty love (1958, DuPont Theatre), Billy Budd (1959, DuPont Theatre), Shake Hands v The evil one (1959), Alas, Babylon (1960, Playhouse 90), The Hoodlum priest (1961), Advise & Consent (1962).

No various other "heartthrob" compiled something remotely like that filmography in the very first half-decade that his career.

Ironically, the may have been Don"s insistence upon exploring every page of his craft the made it complicated for that to maintain the level the visibility the he"d originally achieved. If he"d excellent nothing much more than the ten credits displayed above, however, Don Murray must be anchored as among the ideal actors the his generation. Don"s career continued, that course. And also it got an ext interesting—the Sixties were a really interesting time in this country. He appeared to delight in confounding people"s expectation of what he"d be doing. Yet mostly that was simply that he wanted to increase his horizons. He found projects that propelled those horizons as far as possible. He moved right into television, but using the same principle, and also his Sixties filmography is nearly as superior as his previously work:

One Man"s Way (1964), Baby The Rain Must loss (1965), Sweet Love, bitter (1967), The Borgia pole (1967, TV movie), The Outcasts (1968, TV series), Daughter the the psychic (1969, TV movie), Childish things (1969), The Intruders (1970, TV movie), The Cross and also the Switchblade (1970, director), Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1971)

An even more intense and also wide-ranging mix of projects characterized Don"s job-related in this period. His fascination with religion and its affect on everyday life had very first surfaced in The Hoodlum Priest, and this ongoing with One Man"s means (where Don dram Dr. Norman Vincent Peale) and also The Cross and also the Switchblade (Don directs a film the showcases a subject oddly resonant in those times—how religion and spiritual ideas can heal the wounds that underprivileged and abandoned youth).

Don"s interest in the problem of race relations concerns the fore in 2 of his best but most currently obscure projects, Sweet Love, Bitter and also The Outcasts. While their setups couldn"t be any different (the previous was shoot on the roadways in Philadelphia, when the latter was set in the American west circa 1870), the two films confront the daunting conditions that prevailed in American over issues of white vs. Black. And also though the form of each job is different—Sweet Love, Bitter is a moody "art" film, and also The Outcasts is a rip-roaring adult western—the content is firmly linked about the inquiry that Rodney King would still must ask twenty-five years later: "Can"t us all just acquire along?"

Don"s foray into television movies were every top-flight scripts—if he to be going to work-related in the medium that Newton Minow had called "a huge wasteland" (and if just he can see points today, v 500+ channels and still naught on!), he would settle for nothing less. "The Borgia Stick" to be not only good, that was incredibly popular, garnering some of the greatest ratings that the year and keeping Don"s surname in play in "TV land" for another decade. "Daughter the the Mind" was a haunting show, a vehicle for a collection in which Don would certainly play a parasychologist. He had actually many an ext such offers: through his estimate, that turned down ten times as numerous TV pilot offers as that made over the time frame.


It may have been Conquest that the earth of the Apes (1972) that propelled things end the edge because that Don. Despite he"s an excellent as a villain in it, the may have made the harder because that him to reestablish a career together a leading man. He made two efforts to against the dangers of such typecasting: Cotter (1973) and also Deadly Hero (1975).

Deadly Hero is a worthy yet sadly overlooked "neo-noir" in which Don theatre a function that"s together dark and also disturbing as any he"d ever tackled. The reality of a life going turn off the rails is illustrated unflinchingly—we clock a middle-aged Don Murray expanding and also elaborating ~ above the acting skills he an initial brought to the large screen in A Hatful the Rain nearly two decades earlier. Deadly Hero was front of the wave of such films that would develop a whole brand-new generation of filmmakers (Francis Ford Coppola, martin Scorsese), and also didn"t receive its due. Thirty-five years later, that is ripe for rediscovery.

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Don ongoing to be in need for character parts, and also he gracefully transitioned right into this job phase, transforming in more miniaturized versions of his very closely etched characterizations. He ongoing to display his affinity because that noir in the sci-fi/noir spoof Radioactive Dreams (1985), where he"s simply a little too steely (sort of what Leslie Nielsen would have done if he"d been trained by the Method). And also there to be a variety of chances for Don come stretch out, such together his Emmy-nominated portrayal the a schizophrenic in "My Dad Can"t it is in Crazy…Can He?" (1989).

Don has always been an live independence filmmaker at heart. This sensibility may have actually worked against his natural good looks and also mainstream appeal—as Janine Basinger says in The Star System, there space a collection of resolved expectations for world with details kinds of looks: it"s risky if one do the efforts to have the acorn fall too much from the tree.


His imagination continues, however. Just prior to his seventy-fifth birthday, Don had a story told to him that was for this reason incredible, therefore "truth is stranger 보다 fiction," therefore viscerally exciting that it motivated him to assemble a team to film the story in spite of all the technological obstacles that it contained. The story the divers trapped in an underwater cavern with their air supply slowly but surely running out on them would be entitled—fittingly enough—Breathe. Over the following three years, Don would travel to assorted ocean settings about the human being to bring the story to life. And also with the assist of naval cinematographer Tom Campbell, Breathe (2007) possesses breath-taking high-def visuals that only make the story that much much more compelling.

together a director, Don proves he is clearly a late-bloomer, and perhaps there will be more in the offing because that him once human being see how "with it" he proceeds to remain. Never ever sitting still, still possessed through a searching, restless intellect, Don Murray is younger than many men fifty percent his age, and also still awaits more adventures. The sunlight will never set on this singular man, and also we storage him and the life instance he"s offered us.