Actress Mary Murphy, who played the innocent small-town girl drawn to Marlon Brando’s dark biker in “The Wild One,” died of heart disease May 4 in Beverly Hills. She was 80.
In 1953’s “The Wild One,” in which rival motorcycle gangs threaten a California town, Murphy played Kathie, daughter of a local policeman incapable of dealing with the threat. Gang leader Brando is attracted to her but doesn’t quite understand his feelings.
Murphy had small, mostly uncredited film roles before “The Wild One” but subsequently appeared as the daughter of the family terrorized by escaped convict Humphrey Bogart in William Wyler’s “The Desperate Hours” (1955).
She also appeared with Vincent Price in Columbia’s “House of Wax” clone “The Mad Magician.”
Born in Washington, D.C., Murphy moved to Los Angeles with her family in the 1940s. She was discovered in a coffee shop by Paramount talent scout Milton Lewis, and the studio signed her.
Later she guested on TV Westerns included “Laramie,” appeared on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Outer Limits” and did episodes of “Perry Mason” and “Dr. Kildare.”
In the early ’70s she appeared in Steve McQueen film “Junior Bonner,” Linda Blair telepic “Born Innocent” and on “Streets of San Francisco” and “Ironside.”
Her last credit was the 1975 telepic “Katherine,” starring Art Carney and Sissy Spacek.
Murphy was married twice, the first time to actor Dale Robertson. She is survived by a daughter.