The actor with the highest decorations..Audie Murphy
Who Was Audie Murphy?
Audie Murphy eventually became the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War II. Though he was around 20 years old at the end of the war, he had killed 240 German soldiers, had been wounded three times and had earned 33 awards and medals. After the war, he appeared in more than 40 films. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder throughout his life.
Born in Kingston, Hunt County, Texas, on June 20, 1925, Audie Murphy was raised in a sharecropper’s dilapidated house. Murphy’s father, Emit, fell short on his parental responsibilities, continuing to father children, 12 in all, despite the fact that he had no plan for how to feed them. Picking up the slack, Murphy helped feed his mother and siblings by hunting rabbits and other small animals around their property.
In 1940, Murphy’s father deserted the family for good, and his mother passed away a year later. Moved to do something to honor his mother’s life, Murphy enlisted in the military 10 days after his 17th birthday. In February 1943, he left for North Africa, where he received extensive training.
A few months later, Murphy’s division moved to invade Sicily. His actions on the ground impressed his superior officers and they quickly promoted him to corporal. While fighting in the wet mountains of Italy, Murphy contracted malaria. Despite such setbacks, he continually distinguished himself in battle.
In August 1944, Murphy’s division moved to southern France as part of Operation Dragoon. It was there that his best friend, Lattie Tipton, was lured into the open and killed by a German soldier pretending to surrender. Enraged by this act, Murphy charged and killed the Germans that had just killed his friend. He then commandeered the German machine gun and grenades and attacked several more nearby positions, killing all of the German soldiers there. Murphy was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions.
Over the course of World War II, Murphy witnessed the deaths of hundreds of fellow and enemy soldiers. Endowed with great courage in the face of these horrors, he was awarded 33 U.S. military medals, including three Purple Hearts and one Medal of Honor.
In June 1945, Murphy returned home from Europe a hero and was greeted with parades and elaborate banquets. LIFE magazine honored the brave, baby-faced soldier by putting him on the cover of its July 16, 1945 issue. That photograph inspired actor James Cagney to call Murphy and invite him to Hollywood to begin an acting career. Despite his celebrity, however, Murphy struggled for years to gain recognition.
In 1949, Murphy published his autobiography, To Hell and Back. The book quickly became a national bestseller, and in 1955, after much inner debate, he decided to portray himself in the film version of his book. The movie was a hit and held Universal Studio’s record as its highest-grossing motion picture until 1975. Murphy would go on to make 44 feature films in all. In addition to acting, he became a successful country music songwriter, and many of his songs were recorded by well-known artists, including Dean Martin, Jerry Wallace and Harry Nilsson.
During his rise to fame, Murphy met and married 21-year old actress Wanda Hendrix in 1949. Their marriage appeared rocky from the start and they announced their plans to divorce in 1950. He married again in 1951, this time to Pamela Archer, with whom he had two children. Plagued by insomnia and nightmares, a condition that would eventually become known as post-traumatic stress disorder, Murphy suffered from a powerful addiction to sleeping pills.
In his later years, Murphy squandered his fortune on gambling and bad investments and was in financial ruin when he died in a plane crash on May 28, 1971. Murphy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on June 7, 1971, and was given full military honors.
SOME OF THE GREAT MOVIES
40 Guns to Apache Pass
Dir. by William Witney (1967), starring Audie Murphy, Kenneth MacDonald & Michael Burns40 Guns to Apache Pass is a 1967 Western film directed by William Witney and starring Audie Murphy. The picture was Murphy’s last leading role and the final film of Robert E. Kent Productions.
Bullet for a Badman
Dir. by Robert G. Springsteen (1964), starring Audie Murphy, Alan Hale & Jr.Bullet for a Badman is a 1964 western film based on the story by Marvin H. Albert, written by Mary Willingham and Willard W. Willingham, and directed by R. G. Springsteen.
Dir. by George Marshall (1954), starring Audie Murphy, Alan Hale & Jr.Destry is a 1954 western starring Mari Blanchard, Audie Murphy, and Thomas Mitchell. The third film version of Max Brand’s Destry Rides Again, this 1954 version is closer to the 1939 Marlene Dietrich…
Drums Across the River
Dir. by Nathan H. Juran (1954), starring Audie MurphyDrums Across the River is a 1954 Technicolor Western directed by Nathan Juran, starring Audie Murphy and Walter Brennan.
Gunfight at Comanche Creek
Dir. by Frank McDonald (1963), starring Audie Murphy, DeForest Kelley & William Wellman Jr.Gunfight at Comanche Creek is a 1963 Western film starring Audie Murphy.
Dir. by Earl Bellamy (1966), starring Audie Murphy, Edgar Buchanan & Joan StaleyGunpoint is a 1966 film directed by Earl Bellamy.
Dir. by Nathan H. Juran (1953), starring Audie Murphy, Susan Cabot & Paul KellyGunsmoke is a 1953 western film directed by Nathan Juran and starring Audie Murphy alongside Susan Cabot, Paul Kelly, Charles Drake. Gunsmoke is a Technicolor film for action star and war hero Audie..
Dir. by James Neilson (1957), starring James Stewart, Audie Murphy & Jack ElamNight Passage is a 1957 Western film starring James Stewart and Audie Murphy.
No Name on the Bullet
Dir. by Jack Arnold (1959), starring Audie Murphy, R. G. Armstrong & Virginia GreyNo Name on the Bullet is a 1959 western film. It is one of a handful of pictures in that genre directed by Jack Arnold, better known for his science-fiction movies of the era. Although it is one of.
Ride Clear of Diablo
Dir. by Jesse Hibbs (1954), starring Audie Murphy, Russell Johnson & Dan DuryeaRide Clear of Diablo is a 1954 film directed by Jesse Hibbs…
The Duel at Silver Creek
Dir. by Don Siegel (1952), starring Lee Marvin, Audie Murphy & Faith DomergueThe Duel at Silver Creek is a 1952 Western film directed by Don Siegel and starring Audie Murphy. It was the first time Murphy had appeared in a film where he played a character who was good.
The Kid from Texas
Dir. by Kurt Neumann (1950), starring Audie Murphy, Will Geer & Albert DekkerThe Kid from Texas is a 1950 western film directed by Kurt Neumann.