Audie Murphy articles on

I ran across some fantastic Audie Murphy articles from Links below:

  • Uncovering resilient American soldier Audie Murphy
    • “If you ever watch one of Murphy’s movies like The Red Badge of CourageNo Name on the Bullet, or The Unforgiven, pay close attention to his steel gray eyes. He wasn’t a classically trained actor by any means and was often noticeably uncomfortable and awkward around pretty girls that he really liked — but there was a certain resilience — a toughness if you will — hiding underneath the surface.”
  • When a genuine American hero becomes a star — Audie Murphy’s ‘To Hell and Back’
    • “To Hell and Back is a near-great film offering an invaluable history lesson on the combat exploits of First Lieutenant Audie Murphy. His performance is not to be missed. Along with The Red Badge of Courage [1951], Ride Clear of DiabloWalk the Proud Land [1956], No Name on the Bullet [1959], and The Unforgiven [1960], To Hell and Back ranks with the absolute best of Murphy’s films. It is available to stream, on DVD, and crops up annually on Turner Classic Movies [TCM] and other retro cable channels.

      The actor perished in a horrific plane crash atop rugged Brushy Mountain near Roanoke, Virginia, on May 28, 1971, at age 45, mirroring his tumultuous past. The genuine hero fortunately endures forever on celluloid.”

  • Revisiting ‘Ride Clear of Diablo’, an underrated western starring Audie Murphy

    • “The Congressional Medal of Honor recipient does not reveal any great acting depth in the film, yet he brings a certain authenticity to his role. Rarely showing excitement, Murphy portrayed the cool, calm, and reserved cowboy to the hilt. Most importantly, he realized his acting limitations, and screenwriter George Zuckerman created a script that played to Murphy’s strengths.”
    • “Murphy was notoriously ill at ease with many of his leading ladies, but his interactions with Cabot are not stilted. Murphy even goes so far as to crack a smile whenever he is in her company.”

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Saluting Audie Murphy

Saluting Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy was the most decorated American soldier of World War II. A Saturday hike to the monument on top of Brush Mountain included members of the Christiansburg Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5311, American Legion Post 59, Civil Air Patrol, Daughters of the American Revolution, Torch Club of Roanoke Valley and the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club. The Torch Club is hosting a presentation on Dec. 4 entitled “Searching for Audie Murphy” at 6 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, 2011 Brandon Ave. in Roanoke.



Bob Greene article from the Chicago Tribune about Audie Murphy from 1989



Most American workers still retire at the age of 65, and this is the year that many Americans who were born in 1924 will be taking their retirement. One of them-had he lived-would have been Audie Murphy.

Audie Murphy was the most decorated soldier in our nation`s history. There have really only been two wars that produced individual heroes on the level of Audie Murphy. The hero of World War I was Sgt. Alvin York. The hero of World War II was Audie Murphy. The most-decorated soldiers of Korea and Vietnam were not widely honored by their countrymen and did not become national celebrities.

I have long been fascinated by the life of Audie Murphy. Recently I have read two books-the 1949 autobiography that was largely ghost-written for Murphy, ”To Hell and Back,” and galley proofs of a remarkable new biography that will be published this summer, ”No Name On the Bullet,” by Don Graham. The story of Audie Murphy`s life is at the same time awesome and terrifying and almost unbearably sad.

Born in poverty in rural Texas, Murphy received only a fifth-grade education. His father abandoned Audie`s ailing mother and Audie`s brothers and sisters. ”I can`t remember ever being young in my life,” Audie would recall later. Of his father, he would say: ”I suppose I hated him because I hate anyone who quits.” Audie Murphy was tiny; when he went to enlist in the Army, he was 5 feet 5 1/2 inches tall and weighed 112 pounds. His face was that of a child.

Today, it is hard to imagine the level of adulation heaped upon Audie Murphy. The mere sight of him brought tears to people’s eyes. He married, and his wife said ”Audie had the most beautiful smile, but unfortunately he never smiled very much.” He slept with a pistol under his pillow and tormented his bride.

He sought a career in Hollywood. His fame was all he had to sell; his education amounted to nothing, and he could not go out in public or register at a hotel without people gaping, so he figured he might as well make a living from his name. He began appearing in cowboy films. One day, while on a film-promotion trip that took him to Dallas, his dad showed up in the lobby of the Adolphus Hotel. The message was relayed to Audie in his room. ”I don’t have a father,” Audie said, and his dad was not allowed up.

He was divorced and married again. The cowboy movies did all right, but his timing was terrible; television had become America`s major medium of entertainment, and cowboy films were considered passe. Well into the ’60’s, though, he made them; you can still see some of them on post-midnight TV:

”Hell Bent for Leather,” ”Bullet for a Badman,” ”Gunpoint.”

America`s most decorated soldier wrote some songs; he got hooked on prescription drugs and gambled relentlessly and accepted acting jobs in cheap productions filmed overseas for foreign consumption. He found himself begging unsavory bookmakers to pay him his winnings. He died in the crash of a small plane on Memorial Day weekend, 1971. His death rated 20 seconds on each of the network evening newscasts.

He was the last U.S. combat hero, at least the last to be idolized by his countrymen. Some of us grew up with his very name causing us to become wide-eyed. Had he lived a normal life, he would be retiring this year. As it is, according to biographer Don Graham, today few young Americans have heard of Audie Murphy. Pressed, they think that perhaps he is Eddie Murphy‘s brother.


Another article also by Bob Greene about Audie from 1996:



Audie Murphy in uniform riding in the back of an open convertible with his siblings during a hero’s welcome parade shortly after his return home from the war.

Bob Greene


You can`t predict what will touch a nerve.

A few weeks ago I devoted a column to Audie Murphy, the most-decorated soldier of World War II. Murphy, who died in the crash of a small plane in 1971, just may have been the greatest combat hero in American history; he killed 240 enemy soldiers and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, along with 36 other medals. In the late `40s Murphy was the object of the kind of adulation and adoration reserved for rock singers and movie stars today.

But the country was entering an era in which combat soldiers would not be regarded as heroes. Murphy moved to California, he became an actor in cowboy movies, he got hooked on prescription drugs and became a compulsive gambler. I wrote the column because his story, to me, is one of the most complex and fascinating of our times. Frankly, I didn`t think the column would interest too many people.

I was wrong. Those of you who remember Murphy were touched; those of you who had never heard of him were intrigued. Today, reactions from two readers with very different perspectives:

– ”Audie Murphy was our neighbor in the late `40s,” said Jane Carter, 72. Mrs. Carter and her husband, Gordon, now 87, were living in California at the time. Audie Murphy, according to Mrs. Carter, had an apartment in the same small complex.

”He was still helping out his brothers and sisters back in Texas,” Mrs. Carter said. Murphy, the supreme war hero of his time, had emerged from a life of poverty and desperation in rural Texas; his mother had been ill most of his life, his father had deserted the family and Audie had been in charge of his brothers and sisters.

”Audie had a very sweet nature, and he was determined to succeed in Hollywood so he could keep sending money home,” Mrs. Carter said. ”One weekend I found a recipe in the Ladies` Home Journal-it was about how to

`extend` ham to get more servings out of the meat. So I took the meat and I pounded, chopped, seasoned and molded it-I wound up with several meat-loaf-looking things, and took them over to Audie and a friend of his.

”The next morning their was a soft tap at our door. It was Audie, with the meat. He said, `Jane, we love your cooking-but I can`t eat this. Do you realize that you`ve just made Spam?` Spam was the canned meat that the soldiers ate overseas, and a lot of them couldn`t stand the taste of it once they got home. Audie thought that what I`d made was basically homemade Spam.

”He would often baby-sit with our son, Garrett. If we were going out, we would ask Audie to come over. Even though Garrett was only 4 years old, they got along wonderfully. I don`t know if it was because Garrett was a 4-year-old who liked to play war hero, or because Audie was a war hero who liked to act like a 4-year-old.

”But when we moved to Illinois later, Garrett`s class in school was assigned to write essays about `My Favorite Baby-sitter.` We got a call from the school. They were worried-they said Garrett`s essay was very good, but they were concerned that he was indulging in some vivid, unexplainable fantasy. The school people said, `Your son says that his favorite baby-sitter was Audie Murphy. He goes into some detail.` We finally persuaded them that it was true.”

– Thomas B. Morgan, now 62, is a journalist who in 1967 was assigned by a national magazine to do a profile of Audie Murphy.

”I think the assignment was based on the fact that there had been stories that he was going to make some terrible movie in North Africa or something,” Morgan said. ”It was an ironic thing-`Hey, here`s Audie Murphy, and he`s going off to act in some third-rate Western so bad that they`re shooting it in North Africa to save money.` The story was supposed to be kind of a `What ever happened to Audie Murphy?` piece.”

Morgan flew to California and spent much of a week with Murphy. Yes, Murphy was in bad shape; yes, Murphy`s life had fallen apart. Thomas Morgan talked with Murphy for all those hours, and listened to him, and watched him. At the end of the week Murphy said, ”Well, thanks for being so nice.”

Morgan went back to New York-and could not write the story. He simply would not let himself do it.

”I could not forget that this guy had done a wonderful thing,” Morgan said. ”He was a great soldier who, in a very real sense, gave his life for our country in one of the few just wars ever fought on this planet. What would have been gained by me writing an article saying that now he was wasted?

”When people think of Audie Murphy, they should consider that none of the sad things that happened to him after he won the Congressional Medal of Honor should be ignored-but neither should those things prevent Americans from appreciating his personal triumphs over the most formidable obstacles. In a way, Audie Murphy was a casualty of war-but he was a great hero, and when we remember him, we should remember that first.”

Copyright © 2018, Chicago Tribune

Veterans recall meeting Audie Murphy at Majestic premiere

Veterans recall meeting Audie Murphy at Majestic premiere
Base realignments notwithstanding, San Antonio is still Military City … and still a bit of a small town within that distinction.After a Feb. 11 column was published with Raul Soto’s question about photographs of an Army recruitment ceremony he took part in, Aug. 17, 1955, at the Majestic Theater, others who stood onstage with him contacted each other, Soto and this column.It was a mock enlistment, says Lonnie Murdock of Marion, one of 32 recruits who were welcomed into the Army by Audie Murphy — star of the movie, “To Hell and Back,” that was premiering that day, World War II hero and by then, Texas National Guard officer stationed at Fort Hood. “Because he was in the Guard, he couldn’t swear us in.” That had been taken care of earlier by a Marine Corps captain at San Antonio’s recruiting station. The ceremony at the Majestic was one of three personal appearances the native Texan made that day to promote his movie, based on his autobiography of the same title.

The brand-new soldiers had enlisted in their home towns — for Murdock, that was Alice. He boarded a bus with a friend, Billy Jacobs, and met young men “from other little towns” and from as far away as Corpus Christi.

“We were told we were going to a free movie,” says Gilberto Sanchez of Live Oak, who came from New Braunfels at the time. “No popcorn, though.”

They were all still in their civilian clothes “with the rolled-up sleeves and the flat-top haircuts.” Talking about himself and his fellow raw recruits, Murdock said, “(we) were right out of high school and had been just running the streets. We didn’t know anything about marching, we were just learning the (military) jargon they were teaching us.” To make sure the ceremony went off without a hitch, the new platoon had to practice the ceremony “over and over again.”

There might have been at least a hiccup or two, Sanchez recalled. When the recruits recited the Pledge of Allegiance, he saimd some got mixed up and pledged to “the United States Army” instead of “the United States of America.” Murphy walked through the rows of new soldiers, asked them their names and shook hands. “I told him my name was Gilberto, and he said, ‘Good luck, Bert!’”

Another highlight was an appearance by June Prichard, Miss Texas 1955. “She gave us each a little peck on the cheek,” Murdock said. “We were 17 or 18 years old and thought that was really something.”

Although the newcomers didn’t spend much time with the much-decorated combat veteran, Murphy made a good impression on them.

“For all he went through during the war, he was surprisingly kind and gentle,” Murdock said. “He was an amazing man. I met Elvis Presley, too, but it was nothing like meeting Audie Murphy.”

After their glamorous moment onstage, the Audie Murphy platoon were loaded on a bus and went to Fort Chaffee, near Fort Smith, Arkansas. They did their basic training together at Fort Knox in Kentucky and eventually shipped out on an old Merchant Marine ship bound for Bremerhaven, Germany.

Both Murdock and Sanchez went on to long, successful military careers. Murdock retired after 26 years from Fort Sam Houston where he was a master sergeant in the Directorate of Personnel and Community Affairs. Sanchez did 20 years, attended radio repair school and rose to the rank of staff sergeant. After retirement from the Army, he became a technician for Motorola for another 25 years. Over the years since that onstage ceremony, the two men have bumped into one another in a barbershop in Germany and commissaries here. They’re considering organizing a reunion of the Audie Murphy platoon and promise to share pictures.

Another reader wrote to say what he’d gotten out of another showing of “To Hell and Back.” Having seen it, writes George Pride, “I was convinced the Army was for me.” Pride joined in January 1956, and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. “The Korean War was over, and the Vietnam War had not yet begun,” he says. In 1965, he used his GI Bill benefits “to gain my advanced pilot ratings, which eventually qualified me to lead the Drug Enforcement Agency aircraft program.” While in Washington, D.C., “I also purchased a home with the GI Bill benefits. All of this began upon seeing the movie with Audie Murphy.”

Army veteran Roberto S. DeLeon saw Murphy’s visit from a different perspective but with a similar outcome. He was 8, and his brother was 9 when their mother took them to see the Davy Crockett’s birthday/Audie Murphy Day parade where the soldier-turned-movie-star served as grand marshal. The boys sat on the curb on Houston Street in front of the Majestic.

“Being ‘Army brats,’” DeLeon writes, “we knew the story of Audie and the proper protocol in rendering a salute. Well, here he came, riding a white horse with a black saddle with lots of silverwork inlays, wearing his full Army uniform and a chrome helmet, his sidearm and his Medal of Honor.

“We stood and gave him a hand salute. He saw us and guided his horse closer and reined in the horse that reared up. Then Audie Murphy returned our salute. I made eye contact with him, and it was like a bolt of lightning hitting me. I knew then I would join the Army after finishing high school.”

After the parade, the boys went to the movie premiere, and again saw Audie, who made a short speech about his experience in the war. Ten years later, DeLeon says, “immediately after graduation, I joined the Army,” serving in Vietnam and Washington, D.C. Later, he joined the Army Reserve and stayed an additional 25 years.

“I have never regretted my time in the services and the challenges it took me through,” he says. “I know that seeing Audie Murphy in person and hearing his remarks was a big influence in my life.”

Anyone who would like to share photos of the Aug. 17, 1955, ceremony with Audie Murphy platoon alumni or who would like to be invited to a reunion may contact this column. All replies will be forwarded.

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