Murray Hamilton

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Murray Hamilton
Born(1923-03-24)March 24, 1923
Washington, North Carolina, United States
DiedSeptember 1, 1986(1986-09-01) (aged 63)
Washington, North Carolina, United States
OccupationActor
Years active1944–86
Spouse(s)Terri DeMarco (1953-86) (his death) 1 child
 
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Murray Hamilton
Born(1923-03-24)March 24, 1923
Washington, North Carolina, United States
DiedSeptember 1, 1986(1986-09-01) (aged 63)
Washington, North Carolina, United States
OccupationActor
Years active1944–86
Spouse(s)Terri DeMarco (1953-86) (his death) 1 child

Murray Hamilton (March 24, 1923 – September 1, 1986) was an American stage, screen, and television actor who appeared in such memorable films as The Hustler, The Graduate, and Jaws.

Early life

Born in Washington in Beaufort County in eastern North Carolina, Hamilton displayed an early interest in performing during his days at Washington High School just before the outbreak of World War II. Bad hearing kept him from enlisting, so he moved to New York City as a 19-year-old to find a career on stage.

Notable roles

In an early role, he performed on stage with Henry Fonda in the classic wartime story Mister Roberts. In 1960, he was seen onstage again with Fonda in Critic's Choice and was teamed once more with Fonda in 1968 for the gripping film drama The Boston Strangler.

In 1955, Hamilton guest starred on the NBC legal drama Justice based on case files of the Legal Aid Society of New York. In the 1959-1960 television season, Hamilton co-starred with William Demarest, Jeanne Bal, and Stubby Kaye in the NBC sitcom Love and Marriage. He played attorney Steve Baker, who resides in an apartment with his wife (played by Bal), two daughters and father-in-law (portrayed by Demarest). The wife and her father worked for a failing music publishing company.

His most famous film performance is perhaps as the obdurate Amity Island mayor Larry Vaughn in the Steven Spielberg shark thriller Jaws. Hamilton also appeared in its sequel Jaws 2 and was signed on to reprise the role of Mayor Vaughn in a cameo for Jaws: The Revenge, but died before filming began.

Other notable big-screen appearances include the critically acclaimed 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder with James Stewart, in which he played the bartender Al Pacquette from Thunder Bay, Michigan who gives testimony in the murder of Barney Quill. He worked again with Stewart in The FBI Story (1959) and The Spirit of St. Louis (1957).

The following year, Hamilton made a memorable appearance on Rod Serling's television series The Twilight Zone, starring in the episode "One for the Angels", playing Mr. Death. In 1961, he appeared in another science fiction series Way Out, hosted by Roald Dahl, with fellow guest stars Doris Roberts and Martin Huston.

Hamilton appeared in a Perry Mason TV series episode "The Case of the Deadly Double" (air date March 1, 1958) as the shadowy boyfriend of a woman with a split personality whose brother was Mason's client on trial. It was one of dozens of TV guest appearances for the actor, whose much-later ones included the role of Big Daddy Hollingsworth, Blanche Deveraux's father, in a first season episode of The Golden Girls.

While comic roles were sometimes hard to come by, the actor's early Hollywood career included a very funny one opposite Andy Griffith in the 1958 military comedy No Time for Sergeants. (Griffith) Will Stockdale is concerned about Irving Blanchard (Hamilton). Stockdale tells Ben Whitledge, (Nick Adams) "Irving, he had ROTC." Whitledge tells Stockdale. " ROTC is the Reserved Officers Training Corps of the US Army and not a disease."

Hamilton was more often cast in dramatic works, such as the stark science-fiction drama Seconds (1966), which starred Rock Hudson.

In two of his most distinctive performances, Hamilton appeared with Paul Newman in The Hustler (1961), playing Findley, a wealthy billiards player who gambles for high stakes, (1965-1966) The Fugitive and in The Graduate (1967) as Mr. Robinson, husband of the seductress, Mrs. Robinson (played by Anne Bancroft).

In 1975, Hamilton starred again with Newman in The Drowning Pool. He also worked with Robert Redford in a pair of films, 1973's The Way We Were and the 1980 prison drama Brubaker.

For many years both before and during his film career, Hamilton was a prominent dramatic actor, earning a Tony Award nomination for his role in the 1965 production of Absence of a Cello.

He died from cancer and is interred at Oakdale Cemetery in Washington, North Carolina.

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