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James Murray (Silent Film Star)
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Actor
    (February 9, 1901-July 11, 1936)
    Born in The Bronx, New York
    Best known for portraying John Sims in 'The Crowd' (1928)
    Also appeared in the films 'In Old Kentucky' (1927), 'Rose-Marie' (1928), 'The Big City' (1928), 'The Shakedown' (1929), 'Shanghai Lady' (1929), 'Hide-Out' (1930) and 'Heroes for Sale' (1933)
    Drowned when he either jumped or fell from a pier into the Hudson River
    When King Vidor offered him the lead role in 'The Crowd,' he failed to show up for the audition, having dismissed the offer as a joke. (Vidor tracked him down through the studio's list of extras.)
    He became a heavy drinker, which made it difficult to hold down acting jobs.
    As his career headed downward, he went from being the male lead in the 1928 version of 'Rose-Marie' to an extra in the 1936 remake.
    He ended up panhandling on the streets.
    One day, one of the people he hit up for money was Vidor, who offered him a part in his new film if he stopped drinking.
    He rejected the part, feeling the offer had been made out of pity.
    He had two twin brothers who died in infancy.
    Vidor was so convinced he was right for 'The Crowd' that he agreed to pay Murray to come to the studio to audition.
    Vidor and producer Irving Thalberg considered him the best natural actor they ever met.

Credit: C. Fishel


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