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J. Harold Murray

J. Harold Murray

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The older brother of superstar Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray never attained his sibling's level of recognition, but worked regularly for decades as a dependable comic performer, writer, and voice artist in movies and on television. A veteran of the Chicago Second City company and the "National Lampoon Radio Hour," Doyle-Murray honed his writing talents on SCTV (syndicated/NBC/Cinemax, 1976-1984) and the late night juggernaut "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ). His excellent timing and gruff voice made him an ideal comic antagonist and he almost invariably played characters that ran the gamut from brusque to downright obnoxious in a series of hit comedies, including "Caddyshack" (1980), which he co-wrote, "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983), "Scrooged" (1988), "Ghostbusters II" (1989), "Groundhog Day" (1993), and "Multiplicity" (1996). He was also frequently tapped for guest roles on a wide variety of television sitcoms and was a regular on others that never quite caught on, like Chris Elliott's cult favorite "Get a Life" (Fox, 1990-92). Children also came to know Doyle-Murray from his many voice artist stints on animated programs, particularly his memorable interpretation of the ghostly Flying...

The older brother of superstar Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray never attained his sibling's level of recognition, but worked regularly for decades as a dependable comic performer, writer, and voice artist in movies and on television. A veteran of the Chicago Second City company and the "National Lampoon Radio Hour," Doyle-Murray honed his writing talents on SCTV (syndicated/NBC/Cinemax, 1976-1984) and the late night juggernaut "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ). His excellent timing and gruff voice made him an ideal comic antagonist and he almost invariably played characters that ran the gamut from brusque to downright obnoxious in a series of hit comedies, including "Caddyshack" (1980), which he co-wrote, "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983), "Scrooged" (1988), "Ghostbusters II" (1989), "Groundhog Day" (1993), and "Multiplicity" (1996). He was also frequently tapped for guest roles on a wide variety of television sitcoms and was a regular on others that never quite caught on, like Chris Elliott's cult favorite "Get a Life" (Fox, 1990-92). Children also came to know Doyle-Murray from his many voice artist stints on animated programs, particularly his memorable interpretation of the ghostly Flying Dutchman on the long-running "SpongeBob SquarePants" (Nickelodeon, 1999- ). While doomed to remain in the shadow of his hugely successful sibling, Doyle-Murray regularly distinguished himself with a series of second banana roles that benefitted greatly from his professionalism and the terrific comic training he had honed on the Second City stage.

Brian Doyle-Murray was born simply Brian Murray on October 31, 1945 in Chicago, IL and was one of nine children. Six of the Murray brood were boys and Doyle-Murray was the second eldest. The brothers all spent their summers working as caddies at a local golf course, which instilled in them a deep love of a sport that would become more than just a leisure activity for them in years to come. After attending Loyola Academy and St. Mary's College of California, Doyle-Murray was the first member of the Murray family to break into show business by joining the Chicago Second City comedy troupe. Encouraged by his example, Bill Murray also made his entree into the business via Second City. The elder Murray was also gaining experience as a writer and performer on the "National Lampoon Radio Hour" for two years. Doyle-Murray earned his first movie credit with an appearance in the police comedy "Fuzz" (1972), adding his grandmother's maiden name to Murray in order to avoid confusion with another actor named Brian Murray. Before the late night comedy juggernaut "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), there was another show called "Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell" (ABC, 1975-76), a disastrous primetime attempt at establishing a second career for the uncharismatic sports anchor. Doyle-Murray and Bill Murray were among the cast and writers on the program, which was put out of its misery after 18 widely panned weeks.

No doubt happy to be out of that obligation, Doyle-Murray joined fellow Chicago Second City alumni Harold Ramis as a writer on the comedy troupe's TV sketch show SCTV (syndicated/NBC/Cinemax, 1976-1984). A year after Bill Murray was signed to the cast of Lorne Michaels' successful "Saturday Night" to replace departing cast member Chevy Chase, Doyle-Murray followed suit and worked predominantly on the show as a writer. He stayed on in that capacity from 1978 to 1982 and also made occasional appearances in sketches and as a Weekend Update anchor. He also joined his brother and fellow "Saturday Night Live" cast member John Belushi on the American voice track of "Shame of the Jungle" (1979), a quasi-pornographic animated parody of Tarzan. The script of the 1975 Belgian production was thrown out and replaced with new gags penned by "SNL" writers Michael O'Donoghue and Anne Beatts, and some of the raunchier elements were toned down to avoid an X rating. Few saw the finished film and it was soon forgotten. The surprise success of "Meatballs" (1979) cemented Bill Murray's fame, but Doyle-Murray was also in demand for supporting parts in a variety of comedies. He had one of his best roles as the belligerent caddy chief Lou Loomis (whom he based on an equally caustic golf course employee he knew growing up) in "Caddyshack" (1980), which he co-authored with Harold Ramis and Douglas Kenney, and also garnered laughs in the Chevy Chase vehicles "Modern Problems" (1981) and "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983), and the John Hughes hit "Sixteen Candles" (1984).

Doyle-Murray was given a chance to display dramatic credentials in his brother's ill-advised remake of "The Razor's Edge" (1984), but by that point, he was well established in comic roles as loud-mouthed or otherwise bad-tempered characters, so he soon returned to familiar terrain in the likes of "Head Office" (1985) "Legal Eagles" (1986), and "Club Paradise" (1986). The latter was also co-written with Ramis, but failed to duplicate the success of the pair's previous collaboration on "Caddyshack." In between roles in "Scrooged" (1988), "How I Got into College" (1989), "Ghostbusters II" (1989) and the like, Doyle-Murray also began to amass a long list of television credits. He was a regular on Chris Elliott's aggressively odd "Get a Life" (Fox, 1990-92) and the short-lived Farrah Fawcett/Ryan O'Neal comedy "Good Sports" (CBS, 1991), but mostly worked as a guest on such programs as "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1990-98), "Wings" (NBC, 1990-97) and "Married With Children" (Fox, 1987-1997). Oliver Stone also gave him another dramatic outing by casting Doyle-Murray as infamous killer Jack Ruby in "JFK" (1991), but the actor mostly displayed his abilities in hit comedies like "Wayne's World" (1992), "Groundhog Day" (1993), "Multiplicity" (1996) and "As Good As It Gets" (1997).

In 2000, Doyle-Murray married assistant director Christina Stauffer, and the six Murray brothers became restaurateurs a year later with a Caddyshack restaurant near St. Augustine, FL. The venture was a profitable one and spawned three other that did not share its success and subsequently went out of business. Four of the Murray brothers (Brian, Bill, Joel and John) also appeared together as themselves in the five-episode Comedy Central show "The Sweet Spot" (2002), which featured the siblings making jokes and playing golf in various countries. The new century found Doyle-Murray in consistent demand, with most of his assignments coming on television, including recurring parts on "The Middle" (ABC, 2009- ) and "The Bill Engvall Show" (TBS, 2007-09), but also occasional movie detours like the drama "Nearing Grace" (2005), "Daddy Day Camp" (2007), "17 Again" (2009), the ill-advised fantasy-drama "Passion Play" (2010), and the Farrelly Brothers' new incarnation of "The Three Stooges" (2012). That trademark gravelly voice also earned Doyle-Murray a number of voice artist assignments on the animated programs "SpongeBob SquarePants" (Nickelodeon, 1999- ), "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack" (Cartoon Network, 2008-2010), and "The Goode Family" (ABC, 2009), along with such made-for-video children's features as "Casper: A Spirited Beginning" (1997) and "The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story" (1998). He also had several video game voice gigs to his credit, including several SpongeBob SquarePants releases, a Ghostbusters game and Nicktoons MLB.

By John Charles

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Under Suspicion (1931) John Smith, alias of Sir Robert Macklin
2.
 Women Everywhere (1930) Charlie Jackson
3.
 Cameo Kirby (1930) Cameo Kirby
4.
 Happy Days (1930)
5.
 Married in Hollywood (1929) Prince Nicholai
6.
 The Flame Song (1934)
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Contributions

Berzokrm ( 2006-05-03 )

Source: The New York Times, articles and reviews from 1920 to 1940.

Born Harry Rulten, Feb. 17, 1891 in South Berwick, Me., Murray served in the Merchant Marine during World War I. After a short apprenticeship in vaudeville, J. Harold Murray made his debut on Broadway in Oscar Hammerstein’s The Passing Show of 1921. During the rest of that decade, Mr. Murray starred in: Midnight Rounders of 1921, The Whirl of New York, Make It Snappy (with Eddie Cantor),The Springtime of Youth, Caroline, Vogues of 1924 (with Fred Allen), China Rose, Captain Jinks (co-starred with Joe E. Brown), Castles in the Air and Rio Rita in 1927, opening the Ziegfeld Theatre and running for nearly 500 performances. From 1929 through 1930, he went to Hollywood, starring in five musicals for the William Fox Studio: Married in Hollywood, Cameo Kirby, Happy Days, Women Everywhere and Under Suspicion. J. Harold Murray returned to Broadway in October 1931, starring in “East Wind,” a collaboration of Hammerstein and Sigmund Romberg. The following spring, he starred in “Face the Music” by Irving Berlin and Moss Hart. “Thumbs Up” in 1934 at the New Amsterdam Theater starred Murray and Eddie Dowling. During the 1930s, he also appeared in eight film shorts for Vitaphone, RKO and Mentone (Universal Pictures. Murray developed nephritis in the spring of 1940. He died of the disease on December 11 at the age of 49.

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