Audie Murphy

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Audie L. Murphy
Audie Murphy.png
Audie Murphy publicity photograph, taken in 1948
Born(1925-06-20)June 20, 1925
Kingston, Hunt County, Texas, U.S.
DiedMay 28, 1971(1971-05-28) (aged 45)
Brush Mountain Catawba Near Roanoke, VA, U.S.
Buried atArlington National Cemetery
AllegianceUnited States of America
Years of service
Other workActor; songwriter
SignatureAudie Murphy
WebsiteAudie L. Murphy
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Audie L. Murphy
Audie Murphy.png
Audie Murphy publicity photograph, taken in 1948
Born(1925-06-20)June 20, 1925
Kingston, Hunt County, Texas, U.S.
DiedMay 28, 1971(1971-05-28) (aged 45)
Brush Mountain Catawba Near Roanoke, VA, U.S.
Buried atArlington National Cemetery
AllegianceUnited States of America
Years of service
Other workActor; songwriter
SignatureAudie Murphy
WebsiteAudie L. Murphy

Audie Leon Murphy (June 20, 1925 – May 28, 1971) was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II. He was awarded every U.S. military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, and was decorated by France and Belgium. He served in the Mediterranean and European Theater of Operations. Murphy received the Medal of Honor for his defensive actions against German troops on January 26, 1945, at the Colmar Pocket near Holtzwihr, France, aged only 19. During an hour-long siege, he stood alone on a burning tank destroyer firing a machine gun at attacking German soldiers and tanks. Wounded and out of ammunition, Murphy climbed off the tank, refused medical attention, and led his men on a successful counterattack.

Murphy was born into a large sharecropper family in Hunt County, Texas. His father abandoned the family, and his mother died when he was a teenager. Murphy dropped out of school in fifth grade to pick cotton and find other work to help support his family, and his skill with a hunting rifle was a necessity for feeding them. His older sister helped him to falsify documentation about his birth date to meet the minimum-age requirement for enlisting in the military. After being turned down by the Navy and the Marine Corps Murphy enlisted in the Army. He first saw action in the Allied invasion of Sicily and Anzio, and was part of the 1944 liberation of Rome. In the Allied invasion of southern France that began August 15, 1944, Murphy saw action at Montélimar and led his men on a successful assault at the L'Omet quarry near Cleurie in northeastern France in October 1944.

After the war Murphy enjoyed a 21-year acting career. He played himself in the 1955 autobiographical To Hell and Back based on his 1949 memoirs of the same name, but most of his films were Westerns. He made guest appearances on celebrity television shows and starred in the series Whispering Smith. Murphy was also a fairly accomplished songwriter, and bred quarter horses in California and Arizona, becoming a regular participant in horse racing. Suffering what would in later years be labeled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), he slept with a loaded handgun under his pillow and looked for solace in addictive sleeping pills. In the last few years of his life he was plagued with money problems, but remained aware of his role-model influence and refused offers for alcohol and cigarette commercials. Murphy died in a plane crash in Virginia in 1971, 23 days before his 46th birthday, and was interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Early life

Audie Leon Murphy was born the seventh of twelve children to Emmett Berry Murphy and his wife Josie Bell Killian on June 20, 1925, in Kingston, Hunt County, Texas.[a] The Murphys were sharecroppers of Irish descent.[5]

Murphy said later that he was a loner with an explosive temper in his youth and was prone to mood swings.[6] He grew up in Texas, around Farmersville, Greenville and Celeste, where he attended elementary school.[7] His father drifted in and out of the family's life and eventually deserted the family for good. Murphy dropped out of school in fifth grade and got a job picking cotton for $1 a day to help support the family and became skilled with a rifle, hunting small game to help feed them. After his mother died in 1941, he worked at a radio repair shop and at a combination general store, garage and gas station in Greenville.[8] Hunt County authorities placed his three youngest siblings in Boles Children's Home,[9] a Christian orphanage in Quinlan. After the war, he bought a house in Farmersville for his oldest sister Corrine and her husband Poland Burns. His other siblings briefly shared the home.[10]

The loss of his mother stayed with him throughout his life.

She died when I was sixteen. She had the most beautiful hair I've ever seen. It reached almost to the floor. She rarely talked; and always seemed to be searching for something. What it was I don't know. We didn't discuss our feelings. But when she passed away, she took something of me with her. It seems I've been searching for it ever since.[11]

Military service

Enlistment and initial training

Japan's December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor inspired Murphy to follow his ambition of becoming a soldier.[8] Turned down by other branches of the United States Armed Forces for being underweight and underage,[10][12] a weight gain and an affidavit from his sister Corrine that falsified his birth date by a year helped him successfully enlist with the rank of private on June 30, 1942 in Dallas.[b] Assigned to the infantry during basic training at Camp Wolters,[16] he earned the Marksman Badge with Rifle Clasp and the Expert Badge with Bayonet Clasp.[17] He was then sent to Fort Meade for advanced infantry training.[18]

Mediterranean Theater


Murphy was shipped to Casablanca in French Morocco on February 20, 1943. He was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division,[19] which was put under under the command of Major General Lucian Truscott.[20] He was assigned to be the platoon messenger, and participated with his division in rigorous training at Arzew in Algeria for the assault landing in Sicily.[19][21] Murphy was promoted to private first class on May 7.[22]


Murphy was a division runner when the 3rd Infantry landed at Licata on July 10 as part of the Allied invasion of Sicily.[23][24] He was promoted to the rank of corporal on July 15,[25] and was assigned to a scouting patrol when he killed two fleeing Italian officers near Canicattì.[26] Murphy was sidelined with illness for a week when they arrived in Palermo on July 20.[27] He rejoined Company B when they were assigned to a hillside location protecting a machine-gun emplacement, while the rest of the 3rd Infantry Division fought at San Fratello en route the Allied capture of the transit port of Messina.[28]

He participated in the September 1943 mainland Salerno landing at Battipaglia.[29] As part of a scouting party along the Volturno River, he and two other soldiers with were ambushed by German machine-gun fire, one of them fatally. He and the other survivor of his group responded by killing five German soldiers with hand grenades and machine-gun fire.[30] While taking part in the October Allied assault on the Volturno Line,[29][31] near Mignano Monte Lungo Hill 193, he and his company repelled an attack by seven German soldiers, killing three and taking four prisoners.[32] Murphy was promoted to sergeant on December 13.[33]

Murphy was promoted to staff sergeant in January 1944.[33] He was hospitalized in Naples with malaria on January 21, and was unable to participate in the initial landing at the Anzio beachhead.[34] He returned on January 29 and participated in the First Battle of Cisterna,[35][36] and was made platoon sergeant of Company B platoon following the battle.[37] He returned to Anzio with the 3rd Division where they remained for months.[38] Taking shelter from the weather in an abandoned farmhouse on March 2, Murphy and his platoon killed the crew of a passing German tank.[39] He then crawled out alone close enough to destroy the tank with rifle grenades. For this action, he received the Bronze Star with "V" Device.[40][41] Murphy continued to make scouting patrols to take German prisoners before being hospitalized for a week on March 13 with a second bout of malaria. Sixty-one infantry officers and enlisted men of Company B, 15th Infantry, including Murphy, were awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge on May 8.[42] Murphy was also awarded a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for his Bronze Star.[43][44] American forces liberated Rome on June 4, and Murphy remained bivouacked in Rome with his platoon throughout July.[45]

European Theater

Southern and southeastern France

He received the Distinguished Service Cross[46][47] for action taken on August 15, 1944, during the first wave of the Allied invasion of southern France.[48] After landing on Yellow Beach near Ramatuelle,[49] Murphy's platoon was attacked by German soldiers as they made their way through a vineyard. He retrieved a machine gun that had been detached from the squad, returning fire at the German soldiers, killing two and wounding one.[49] Under the guise of surrender, two Germans exited a house about 100 yards (91 m) away, killing Murphy's best friend who had responded to the surrender gesture. Murphy advanced alone on the house, while the Germans fired directly at him. He wounded two, killed six, and took eleven prisoners.[49] Murphy was part of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment participation in the August 27–28 offensive at Montélimar that secured the area from the Germans.[48][50] He received the Presidential Unit Citation[51] along with the other individual soldiers who took part in the action.

Northeastern France

Murphy earned his first Purple Heart[52] on September 15, 1944, from a heel wound received in a mortar shell blast during his participation in an offensive plan to break through German resistance in northeastern France.[53][54] On October 2 at L'Omet quarry in the Cleurie river valley, Murphy earned the Silver Star for his offensive actions on a German machine gun position that killed four and wounded three.[46] On October 5 at L'Omet, Murphy crawled alone towards the Germans, carrying a SCR436 radio and directing his men for an hour while the Germans fired directly at him. When Murphy's men finally took the hill, 15 Germans were killed and 35 wounded. Murphy's actions earned him a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for his Silver Star.[55] He was awarded a battlefield commission to second lieutenant on October 14, which elevated him to platoon leader.[56] While en route to Brouvelieures on October 26, the 3rd Platoon of Company B was attacked by a German sniper group. Murphy captured two before being shot in the hip by a sniper whom he in return shot between the eyes. Murphy was taken to the 3rd General Hospital at Aix-en-Provence.[57] The removal of gangrene from the wound caused partial loss of his hip muscle, and kept him out of combat until January.[46] The injury earned Murphy the first Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for his Purple Heart.[58][59]

Colmar Pocket
Audie Murphy Memorial in Holtzwihr

The Colmar Pocket was 850 square miles (2,200 km2) in the Vosges Mountains and had been held by German troops since November 1944.[60] On January 14, 1945, Murphy rejoined his platoon, which had been moved to the Colmar area in December.[61] He was part of the January 24 3rd Division move to the town of Holtzwihr, where they met with a strong German counterattack.[62] Murphy was wounded in both legs, earning him a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for his Purple Heart.[63] Murphy was made the Company B commander on January 26, as the company awaited reinforcements.[64]

The Germans scored a direct hit on an M10 tank destroyer, setting it on fire and causing its crew to abandon it.[65] Murphy ordered his men to retreat to positions in the woods, remaining alone at his post shooting his M1 carbine and relaying orders via his telephone while the Germans aimed fire directly at his position.[66] Murphy mounted the abandoned, burning tank destroyer and began firing its .50 caliber machine gun at the advancing Germans, killing a squad crawling through a ditch towards him.[67] For an hour, Murphy stood on the tank destroyer returning German fire from foot soldiers and advancing tanks, killing or wounding 50 Germans. He sustained a leg wound during his stand and only after he ran out of ammunition.[65] Murphy rejoined his men with complete disregard for his own wound, leading them back to successfully repel the Germans. Only afterwards would he allow treatment of his leg wound, and still insisted on remaining with his men.[65] For his actions that day he was awarded the Medal of Honor.[68] The 3rd Infantry Division was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions at the Colmar Pocket, giving Murphy a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for the emblem. [69]

Murphy was promoted to first lieutenant on February 16,[70] and was awarded the Legion of Merit for his service January 22, 1944 – February 18, 1945.[71] He was removed from the front lines to Regimental Headquarters and made a liaison officer.[72]


Army version of the Medal of Honor

The United States additionally honored Murphy's war contributions with the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with arrowhead device and campaign stars, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp.[41][73] France recognized his service with the French Legion of HonorGrade of Chevalier,[74] the French Croix de guerre with Silver Star,[75] the French Croix de guerre with Palm,[76] the French Liberation Medal[41] and the French Fourragère in Colors of the Croix de guerre[41] which was authorized for all members of the 3rd Infantry Division who fought in France during World War II. Belgium awarded Murphy the Belgian Croix de guerre with 1940 Palm.[76]

Brigadier General Ralph B. Lovett and Lieutenant Colonel Hallet D. Edson recommended Murphy for the Medal of Honor.[77][78] Near Salzburg, Austria on June 2, 1945,[79] Patch[10] presented Murphy with the Medal of Honor and Legion of Merit for his actions at Holtzwihr. When asked after the war why he had seized the machine gun and taken on an entire company of German infantry, he replied simply, "They were killing my friends."[80] Murphy received every U.S. military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army for his World War II service.[c]

Post-war military service

Inquiries were made through official channels about the prospect of Murphy attending the West Point upon his return to the United States, but he never enrolled.[4][83] Author Don Graham wrote about this as having been initiated by Murphy and dropped by him, possibly when he realized the extent of academic preparation needed to pass the entrance exam.[84] Murphy was one of several military personnel who received orders on June 8, 1945, to report to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, for temporary duty and reassignment.[4][83] Upon arrival on June 13, he was one of four assigned to Fort Sam Houston Army Ground & Services Redistribution Station and sent home for 30 days of recuperation, with permission to travel anywhere within the United States during that period.[4] While on leave, Murphy was feted with parades, banquets, and speeches.[85] He received a belated Good Conduct Medal on August 21,[86] and was discharged from active service with the rank of first lieutenant on August 17. He was given a 50 percent disability classification on September 21.[4]

After the June 25, 1950, commencement of the Korean War Murphy wanted to fight in the conflict[87] and enlisted in July in the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas National Guard with the rank of captain.[88] During his service he granted the Guard permission to use his name and image in recruiting materials.[89] Although he actively participated in training activities in between continuing with his film career, Murphy was never sent to Korea.[90] He requested to transfer to inactive status on October 1, 1951, due to his film commitments with MGM Studios. Murphy was promoted to the rank of major by the Texas National Guard.[91] He received his service separation from the Texas National Guard effective 1966, and transferred to Standby Reserve.[91] Murphy retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in 1969.[92][93]

Film career

Audie Murphy and Lori Nelson in Destry

Murphy made more than 40 feature films and one television series in his acting career that spanned 1948 to 1969.[d] When actor and producer James Cagney saw the July 16, 1945 issue of Life magazine depicting Murphy as the "most decorated soldier",[95] he brought him to Hollywood. Cagney and his brother William signed him as a contract player for their production company and gave him training in acting, voice and dance.[96] They never did cast Murphy in a movie, and a personal disagreement ended the association.[97] Murphy later worked with acting coach Estelle Harman, and honed his diction by reciting dialogue from William Shakespeare and William Saroyan.[98]

Murphy moved into Terry Hunt's Athletic Club in Hollywood where he lived until 1948.[99][100] Hollywood writer David "Spec" McClure befriended Murphy, collaborating with him on the1949 book To Hell and Back .[101] McClure used his connections to get Murphy a $500 bit part in Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven.[102] The agent of Wanda Hendrix, whom he had been dating since 1946,[103] got him a bit part in the 1948 Alan Ladd film Beyond Glory directed by John Farrow.[104] His 1949 film Bad Boy gave him his first leading role.[105] Due to the film's financial backers refusing to bankroll the project unless Murphy was given the lead,[106] Allied Artists put aside their own initial reservations about using an inexperienced actor and gave him the starring role in the production.[107]

Universal Studios signed Murphy to a seven-year studio contract at $2,500 a week.[108][109] His first film for them in 1950 was as Billy the Kid inThe Kid from Texas. He wrapped up that year making Sierra starring Wanda Hendrix, who by that time had become his wife,[110] and Kansas Raiders as outlaw Jesse James. He was lent to MGM in 1951 at a salary of $25,000[111] to play the lead of The Youth[e] inThe Red Badge of Courage directed by John Huston.[113] Murphy and Huston worked together one more time in the 1960 film The Unforgiven.[114]

The only film Murphy made in 1952 was Duel At Silver Creek with director Don Siegel. Murphy would team with Siegel one more time in 1958 for The Gun Runners. In 1953 he starred in Frederick de Cordova's Column South, [115] and played Jim Harvey in Nathan Juran's Tumbleweed, an adaptation of the Kenneth Perkins novel Three Were Renegades.[116][117] Director Nathan Juran also directed Gunsmoke and Drums Across the River.[118] George Marshall directed Murphy in the 1954 Destry, a remake of Destry Rides Again, based on a character created by author Max Brand.[119]

To Hell and Back – Audie Murphy and Susan Kohner

Although Murphy was initially reluctant to appear as himself in To Hell and Back, the 1955 adaptation of his book directed by Jesse Hibbs, he eventually agreed to do so.[120] It became the biggest hit in the history of Universal Studios at the time.[121][122] To help publicize the release of the film, he made guest appearances on television shows such as What's My Line?,[f] Toast of the Town,[123] and Colgate Comedy Hour .[g] The Hibbs-Murphy team proved so successful in To Hell and Back[124] that the two worked together on a total of six films. The partnership resulted in the 1956 western Walk the Proud Land, [125] and the non-westerns Joe Butterfly[126] and World in My Corner.[125] They worked together a final time in the 1958 western Ride a Crooked Trail.[127]

Murphy was hired by Joseph L. Mankiewicz to play the role of title role[h] in the 1958 filmThe Quiet American.[129] Murphy formed a partnership with Harry Joe Brown to make three films, the first of which was the 1957 The Guns of Fort Petticoat. The partnership fell into disagreement over the remaining two projects, and Brown filed suit against Murphy.[130] The 1950s decade ended with Murphy doing three westerns. He starred opposite Sandra Dee in the 1959 film The Wild and the Innocent.[131] His collaboration with Walter Mirisch on the black and white Cast a Long Shadow included an uncredited stint as co-producer.[132] His 1959 performance as a hired killer in No Name on the Bullet was well received by critics.[133] Thelma Ritter was his co-star in the 1960 Startime television episode "The Man" .[134]

Writer Clair Huffaker wrote the 1961 screenplays for Murphy's films Seven Ways from Sundown and Posse from Hell.[135] Willard W. Willingham and his wife Mary Willingham befriended Murphy in his early days in Hollywood and worked with him on a number of projects.[136][137][138] Williard produced and wrote several episodes of Murphy's 1961 television series Whispering Smith[139] and co-wrote the screenplay for Battle at Bloody Beach that year.[140] He collaborated on Bullet for a Badman[141] in 1964 and Arizona Raiders in 1965.[142] The Willinghams as a team wrote the screenplay for Gunpoint[143] as well the script for Murphy's last starring lead in a western 40 Guns to Apache Pass in 1967.[144] Murphy made Trunk to Cairo in Israel in 1966.[145]

His relationship with director Budd Boetticher began when Murphy requested to be his boxing partner at Terry Hunt's Athletic Club.[146] He subsequently appeared in the 1951 title role of Boetticher's first westernThe Cimarron Kid.[147] Boetticher wrote the script in 1969 for Murphy's last film A Time for Dying .[148] Two other projects that Murphy and Boetticher planned to collaborate on – A Horse for Mr Barnum and When There's Sumpthin' to Do – never came to fruition.[149]

Personal life

Murphy in 1961

Murphy married actress Wanda Hendrix on January 8, 1949,[150] and their divorce became final on April 19, 1951.[151] Four days later he married former airline stewardess Pamela Archer on April 23, 1951.[152] Son Terrance Michael "Terry" Murphy was born in 1952.[153] Son James Shannon "Skipper" Murphy was born in 1954.[154]

Murphy bred quarter horses at the Audie Murphy Ranch in Perris, California, and the Murphy Ranch in Pima County, Arizona.[i] His horses raced at the Del Mar Racetrack and he invested large sums of money in the hobby.[156] Murphy had a gambling habit that left his finances in a poor state. In 1968, he stated that he lost $260,000 in an Algerian oil deal and was dealing with the Internal Revenue Service over unpaid taxes.[157] In spite of his financial difficulties, Murphy refused to appear in commercials for alcohol and cigarettes, mindful of the influence he would have on the youth market.[158]

Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital in San Antonio, Texas

Murphy was plagued by insomnia and bouts of depression related to his military service, and slept with a loaded pistol under his pillow.[159][160] A post-service medical examination on June 17, 1947, revealed symptoms of headaches, vomiting, and nightmares about war. His medical records indicated that he took sleeping pills to help prevent nightmares.[161] During the mid-1960s, he recognized his dependence on Placidyl, and locked himself alone in a hotel room for a week to successfully break the addiction.[10] Post-traumatic stress levels exacerbated his innate moodiness,[6] and surfaced in episodes that friends and professional colleagues found alarming.[162] His first wife, Wanda Hendrix, stated that he once held her at gunpoint.[163] She witnessed her husband being moved to tears by newsreel footage of German war orphans, guilt-ridden that his war actions might have been the cause of their having no parents.[164] Murphy briefly found a creative stress outlet in writing poetry after his Army discharge. His poem "The Crosses Grow on Anzio" appeared in his book To Hell and Back,[165] but was attributed to the fictitiously named Kerrigan.[166]

In an effort to draw attention to the problems of returning Korean War and Vietnam War veterans, Murphy spoke out candidly about his own problems with post-traumatic stress disorder.[167] It was known during Murphy's lifetime as "battle fatigue" and "shell shock", terminology that dated back to World War I. He called on the government to give increased consideration and study to the emotional impact of combat experiences, and to extend health care benefits to war veterans.[168][169] As a result of legislation introduced by U.S. Congressman Olin Teague five months after Murphy's death in 1971, the Audie L. Murphy Memorial VA Hospital[170] in San Antonio, now a part of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, was dedicated in 1973.[171][172]

Death and commemorations

On May 28, 1971, Murphy was killed when the private plane in which he was a passenger crashed into Brush Mountain, near Catawba, Virginia, 20 miles (32 km) west of Roanoke in conditions of rain, clouds, fog and zero visibility.[173] The pilot and four other passengers were also killed.[174] The aircraft was a twin-engine Aero Commander 680 flown by a pilot who had a private-pilot license and a reported 8,000 hours of flying time, but who held no instrument rating. The aircraft was recovered on May 31.[175] After her husband died, Pamela Murphy moved into a small apartment and got a clerk position at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Los Angeles, where she remained employed for 35 years.[176] In 1975, a court awarded Murphy's widow and two children $2.5 million in damages due to the accident.[177]

Monument at the site of the plane crash in which Audie Murphy died

On June 7, 1971, Murphy was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. In attendance were George H.W. Bush, William Westmoreland and many of the 3rd Infantry Division.[178] Murphy's grave site is in Section 46, headstone number 46-366-11, located across Memorial Drive from the Amphitheater. A special flagstone walkway was later constructed to accommodate the large number of people who visit to pay their respects. It is the cemetery's second most-visited grave site, after that of President John F. Kennedy.[179]

The headstones of Medal of Honor recipients buried at Arlington National Cemetery are normally decorated in gold leaf. Murphy previously requested that his stone remain plain and inconspicuous, like that of an ordinary soldier.[180] In 1974, a large granite marker was erected just off the Appalachian Trail at 37°21′52″N 80°13′33″W / 37.364554°N 80.225748°W / 37.364554; -80.225748 (Audie Murphy monument) at 3,100′ elevation, near the crash site.[181]

Civilian honors were bestowed upon Murphy during his lifetime and posthumously, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[182] In 2013, Murphy was honored by his home state with the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor.[j]


David "Spec" McClure, his collaborator on the book To Hell and Back, discovered Murphy's talent for poetry during their work on the memoir when he found discarded verses in Murphy's Hollywood apartment. One of those poems, "The Crosses Grow on Anzio", appears in To Hell and Back attributed to a soldier named Kerrigan.[187] Only two others survived, "Alone and Far Removed" [187] and "Freedom Flies in Your Heart Like an Eagle". The latter was part of a speech Murphy had written at a 1968 dedication of the Alabama War Memorial in Montgomery, and later set to music by Scott Turner under the title "Dusty Old Helmet".[188]

Murphy was a fan of country music, in particular Bob Wills and Chet Atkins, but was not a singer or musician himself.[189] Through his friend recording artist Guy Mitchell he was introduced to songwriter Scott Turner some time in the 1940s.[190] The three of them collaborated on numerous songs between 1962 and 1970, the most successful being "Shutters and Boards" and "When the Wind Blows in Chicago".[191]

See also


  1. ^ Murphy's son Terry is the President of the Audie Murphy Research Foundation, which in both its biographical sketch and Murphy Family Tree list his year of birth as 1925.[1] Murphy's date of birth has been given as both 1925 and 1924 by Murphy himself. He seemed to go back and forth on the dates for the rest of his life. His sister Corrine Burns as his nearest living kin signed a notarized document attesting to the birth date of June 20, 1924 that Murphy put on his enlistment application, falsifying his year of birth in order to make him appear old enough to meet the U.S. Army age qualification for enlistment.[2] His California driver's license showed a birth date of 1925.[3][4]
  2. ^ Conflicting information exists as to Murphy's date and place of enlistment. The Audie L. Murphy Memorial website has scanned documents from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration that include Corrinne Burns' statement and Murphy's "Induction Record", which shows him "Enlisted at Dallas, Texas" on June 30, 1942, and the line above it says "Accepted for service at Greenville, Texas". The National Register of Historic Places Listing added the Greenville post office as historic site number 74002081 in 1974, citing it as Murphy's place of enlistment, possibly referring to the act the military termed "Accepted for service". The NRHP also shows his enlistment date as June 20, 1942 which might be the date he was accepted for service.[13][14][15]
  3. ^ Murphy's war service was combat-related. Therefore, he did not receive the non-combat Soldier's Medal. Act of Congress (Public Law 446–69th Congress, 2 July 1926 (44 Stat. 780)) established the Soldier's Medal for heroism "as defined in 10 USC 101(d), at the time of the heroic act who distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual combat with the enemy."[81] At the end of his World War II service, Murphy became known as America's most decorated soldier.[82]
  4. ^ The exact count on the number of feature films Murphy made varies by source. The Hollywood Walk of Fame and other sources put his total number of feature films at 44.[94]
  5. ^ Henry Fleming is the Youth in Stephen Crane's novel. In the 1951 film, Fleming is played by Murphy as the unnamed character "The Youth".[112]
  6. ^ YouTube has several uploaded versions of the 5-minute What's My Line segment that features Murphy as the mystery guest. Listed as Episode dated 3 July 1955 at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ 56-minute uploaded on YouTube as Audie Murphy Attends Beverly Hilton Grand Opening 1955. He appears at 28:48 and briefly talks with Hedda Hopper about how he once gave his medals away but had them replaced by the U. S. Army.
  8. ^ Alden Pyle is the American in Graham Greene's novel. In the 1958 film, Pyle is played by Murphy as the unnamed character "The American".[128]
  9. ^ The Audie L. Murphy Memorial Website has user-generated information on an Arizona quarter horse ranch Murphy purchased in 1956 and sold to Guy Mitchell in 1958.[155] While not stating that the use of Murphy's name and image were authorized by his estate, the website of the Menifee, California residential development named "Audie Murphy Ranch" does claim it is the location of the ranch Murphy owned in San Bernardino County, California. Menifee was incorporated in 2008 and borders the community of Perris.
  10. ^ The actual award was presented by Governor Rick Perry to Murphy's family on October 29, 2013 at a ceremony in Farmersville, Texas.[183][184][185][186]


  1. ^ Audie L. Murphy Memorial Website. "User-generated short biographical sketch". Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ Audie L. Murphy Memorial Website. "Scan of original Application for Degrees, N. Hollywood Freemasons". Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ Audie L. Murphy Memorial Website. "Scan of charred California driver's license for Audie Murphy, recovered from crash site after his death". Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Scan of service records 1942–1971". Audie L. Murphy Memorial Website. Retrieved October 27, 2013. 
  5. ^ Graham 1989, p. 5.
  6. ^ a b Murphy 2002, pp. 4–7.
  7. ^ Texas Historical Commission. "Celeste, Texas". Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Murphy 2002, p. 7.
  9. ^ Minor, David. "Boles Home". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d Tate 2006, pp. 152–163.
  11. ^ Murphy 2002, p. 143.
  12. ^ Graham 1989, pp. 23,24.
  13. ^ Audie L. Murphy Memorial Website. "Scan of Audie Murphy's Service Record book". 
  14. ^ "NRHP Greenville Post Office". Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  15. ^ "The Old Greenville Post Office". Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  16. ^ Graham 1989, p. 29.
  17. ^ Simpson 1975, p. 49.
  18. ^ Graham 1989, pp. 33–34.
  19. ^ a b Graham 1989, p. 36.
  20. ^ Champagne 2008, p. 41.
  21. ^ Champagne 2008, pp. 45–47.
  22. ^ Graham 1989, p. 37.
  23. ^ Graham 1989, p. 38,39.
  24. ^ "Sicily 1943". CMH Pub 72-16. Center of Military History United States Army. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  25. ^ Graham 1989, p. 39.
  26. ^ Graham 1989, p. 40.
  27. ^ Graham 1989, p. 43.
  28. ^ Graham 1989, p. 44.
  29. ^ a b Graham 1989, p. 47.
  30. ^ Graham 1989, pp. 47,48.
  31. ^ "Naples-Foggia 1943 1944". CMH Pub 72-17. Center of Military History United States Army. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  32. ^ Graham 1989, pp. 48,49.
  33. ^ a b Champagne 2008, p. 106.
  34. ^ Graham 1989, p. 50.
  35. ^ "The Allied Offensive (30 January-1 February)". Anzio Beachhead CMH Pub 100-10. Center of Military History United States Army. pp. 28–36. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  36. ^ Graham 1989, pp. 51,52.
  37. ^ Champagne 2008, pp. 111–112.
  38. ^ Graham 1989, p. 54.
  39. ^ Graham 1989, pp. 58,59.
  40. ^ Graham 1989, p. 59.
  41. ^ a b c d Tanber, George G. (May 5, 2005). "Who Had More Medals? Depends on Who's Counting". Toledo Blade. p. 3. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
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External links

Media related to Audie Murphy at Wikimedia Commons