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George Lloyd Murphy (July 4, 1902 – May 3, 1992) was an Americanmarker dancer, actor, and politician.


He was born in New Haven, Connecticutmarker of Irish Catholic extraction, and attended Yale Universitymarker. He worked as a tool maker for the Ford Motor Company, as a miner, a real estate agent, and a night club dancer.

In movies, Murphy was famous as a song-and-dance man, appearing in many big-budget musicals such as Broadway Melody of 1938, Broadway Melody of 1940 and For Me and My Gal. He made his movie debut shortly after talking pictures had replaced silent movies in 1930, and his career continued until he retired as an actor in 1952, at the age of 50.

In 1951, he was awarded an honorary Academy Award. He was never nominated for an Oscar in any competitive category.

He was the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1944 to 1946. He was a vice president of Desilu Studios and of the Technicolor Corporation. He was director of entertainment for presidential inaugurations in 1952, 1956 and 1960.

Twice chosen President of the Screen Actors Guild, Murphy entered politics in 1953 as chairman of the California Republican State Central Committee, having also directed the entertainment for the Eisenhower-Nixon Inauguration of 1952.

In 1964 he was elected to the United States Senate, defeating Pierre Salinger, former presidential press secretary in the Kennedy White House, who had been appointed several months earlier to serve the remainder of the late Clair Engle's unexpired term. Murphy served from January 1, 1965 to January 3, 1971. Murphy assumed his seat two days early, when Salinger resigned from the seat in order to allow Murphy to gain an edge in seniority. Murphy was then appointed by Gov. Pat Brown to serve the remaining two days of Salinger's term.

After chairing the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 1968, the year Richard Nixon was elected President, Murphy ran unsuccessfully for reelection in 1970, being defeated by Democratic Congressman John V. Tunney, the son of famed heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney. During his Senate term, Murphy suffered from throat cancer, forcing him to have part of his larynx removed. For the rest of his life, he was unable to speak above a whisper. This played a significant role in his 1970 defeat.

Murphy subsequently moved to Palm Beach, Floridamarker, where he died at the age of 89 from leukemia.

Murphy's move from the screen to California politics paved the way for the successful transitions of actors such as Ronald Reagan and later Arnold Schwarzenegger. Reagan once famously referred to George Murphy as " John the Baptist."

Tom Lehrer Satire

George Murphy was the subject of a song by satirist Tom Lehrer celebrating his appointment in which Lehrer declared in mock vaudeville style: "Oh, gee, it's great, at last we've got a Senator who can really sing and dance." Lehrer also alluded sarcastically to an infamous remark Murphy once made during a debate about the Bracero Program that granted temporary work visas to Mexican migrant farmhands:

Should Americans pick crops?

George says no;

'Cuz no one but a Mexican would stoop so low.

And after all, even in Egypt, the Pharaohs

Had to import—Hebrew braceros.

Murphy had stated that Mexicans were genetically suited to farm labor; because they were "built lower to the ground," it was supposedly "easier for them to stoop." Oddly, some years earlier, in 1949, Murphy himself had starred next to Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban in the film Border Incident, which cast the exploitation of the braceros in a negative light.


in the film London by Night (1937)

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