The Strangest Thing happened to me this morning. I woke up remembering an actor who I greatly admired as a very young person. His name was Audie Murphy. Perhaps some of you are old enough to remember him. As I grew into my teenage years, I saw many of his movies, eventually seeing “To Hell and Back”. This amazing man died in a plane crash when I was quite young, so all I knew of him was his screen presence. Something charming about him, the way he carried himself, the pleasant, boyish face, the interesting accent, something elusive that set him apart for me. This wasn’t the same as my interest now in Colin, but real quality was there. A boyish face, as was Colin’s 8 years ago, not a devastatingly handsome one, almost an innocence about him.
As I grew older, occasionally I would see an early movie of his and became interested in his story. This was a man to admire on many levels. The odd thing was, I hadn’t even thought about him in several years, but I woke up this morning with him on my mind … have no idea what might have triggered it … Well, I thought, “Murphy”, perhaps he was of Irish ancestry. Though he was born in Texas, USA, his sons were given very Irish names: Terry Michael Murphy and James Shannon Murphy. So, first thing at the computer, I looked up his biography.
Astonishingly, his birthdate … June 20th … 91 years ago this very day.
Not a great actor, but a good one for the day. He had a screen presence that made us interested in watching him. Nothing about him physically ( 5’8″, slight of build, almost fragile-looking, shy and soft-spoken.). None of these things spoke to his bravery or his valiant efforts as a young boy to help support his large family … 11 brothers and sisters in rural, very poor, Kingston, Texas. Raised in a sharecropper’s, run-down cabin. Almost an Abraham Lincoln kind of story … from poverty to greatness… for young Audie Murphy became the most decorated U.S. soldier in WWII history.
Although underage at the time, he entered the Army at age 18 with the consent of his older sister and legal guardian. He was 21 at the end of the war. During these 3 short years, he was awarded 33 medals for bravery, among them was the United States highest tribute, the Medal of Honor. France and Belgium acknowledged his fearlessness in battle with another 5 medals.. Altogether a story almost unbelievable in its integrity and courage.
Here is the link to his biography, which tells his story. It brought back many memories.
Audie Murphy’s life and career are also included in an even more extensive biography on IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001559/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm
It leaves one to wonder … Is there something about certain humans that speaks to us, something tenuous and uncertain, but strong and compelling … something beyond the physical, beyond nose, and hair, and eyes, and profile. This keeps roiling about in my head, and I have decided to make it a post … and shared, not to Tumblr, whose fans may not be interested, but confined to Google, because it is the anniversary of his birth, and this site, where I want to have it in the archives.
Perhaps an honorarium to a man who rose above what could have even been imagined of him as a boy.