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A high school teacher turned character actor, Michael Murphy began his collaboration with famed director Robert Altman on an episode of the 1960s TV series "Combat." He made the first of several appearances in Altman films in "Countdown" (1968). Among his other Altman credits are "M*A*S*H" and "Brewster McCloud" (both 1970), "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" (1971), "Nashville" (1975) and "Kansas City" (1996). In addition, Murphy portrayed a presidential candidate in Altman's satire of politics "Tanner '88" (HBO, 1988) and was the chief judge in Altman's "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial" (CBS, 1988).
Murphy specializes in playing angst-ridden urban types, typified by his roles as cheating husbands in Paul Mazursky's "An Unmarried Woman" (1978) and Woody Allen's "Manhattan" (1979). His other film roles include a journalist in Peter Weir's "The Year of Living Dangerously" (1982), an ambassador in Oliver Stone's "Salvador" (1986), a cop tracking a serial killer in Wes Craven's "Shocker" (1989) and the mayor of Gotham City in Tim Burton's "Batman Returns" (1992).
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