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Rosemary Murphy, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Actress, Dies at 87

Rosemary Murphy, who appeared as the neighbor Maudie Atkinson in the classic 1962 film adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” starring Gregory Peck, died Saturday in New York City. She was 87 and had recently been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Murphy, who won her Emmy for portraying the mother of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1976 ABC miniseries Eleanor and Franklin, died Saturday at her home in New York City, her longtime agent, Alan Willig, told The Hollywood Reporter. She recently was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. – See more at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rosemary-murphy-dead-kill-mockingbird-717521#sthash.BzHqOdBQ.dpuf
Murphy, who won her Emmy for portraying the mother of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1976 ABC miniseries Eleanor and Franklin, died Saturday at her home in New York City, her longtime agent, Alan Willig, told The Hollywood Reporter. She recently was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. – See more at: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rosemary-murphy-dead-kill-mockingbird-717521#sthash.BzHqOdBQ.dpuf

Murphy won an Emmy in 1976 for her work on the seminal miniseries “Eleanor and Franklin,” and was nominated the next year for her work on sequel “Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years.”

The actress had a long career on the stage and was Tony nominated for lead actress in a play or featured actress in a play three times: for “Period of Adjustment” in 1961, “Any Wednesday” in 1964 and “A Delicate Balance” in 1967.

In Fred Zinnemann’s 1977 film “Julia,” which won three Oscars and sported an all-star cast including Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave, Murphy was sixth billed, ahead of a young Meryl Streep.

The actress appeared in features including Woody Allen films “September” in 1987 and “Mighty Aphrodite” in 1995 and had appeared in a number of films in recent years: 2007’s “The Savages,” with Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman; 2008’s “Synecdoche, New York,” written and directed by Charlie Kaufman; 2009 horror film “After.Life,” starring Christina Ricci and Liam Neeson; and, finally, Galt Niederhoffer’s “The Romantics”  (2010), in which she played Grandma Hayes.

Murphy was known for her work on soap operas, appearing on “All My Children” as Maureen Dalton Teller in 1977 and on “Another World” as Loretta Fowler in 1988. She was a series regular on brief NBC series “Lucas Tanner” in 1974-75.

Murphy’s other feature credits include “That Night!” in 1957; 1961’s “The Young Doctors”; “Any Wednesday,” with Jane Fonda and Jason Robards, in which she was fourth billed; “A Fan’s Notes,” rat-filled horror film “Ben” and horror pic “You’ll Like My Mother,” in which she was second billed after Patty Duke, all in 1972; 1973 hit “Walking Tall”; “Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies” and “40 Carats,” also in 1973; and 1980 horror film “The Attic.”

Murphy was born in Munich, the daughter of a U.S. diplomat. She attended Manhattanville College, studied acting with Sanford Meisner and made her feature debut in the 1949 German film “Der Ruf.”

She started her American TV career in the early 1950s with small roles on “Lux Video Theatre” and “Robert Montgomery Presents.” Later she appeared on series including “Ben Casey,” “The Virginian,” “Cannon,” “Maude,” “Columbo,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Law & Order,” “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and “Frasier.”

In addition to her Tony-nominated work, Murphy’s other Broadway credits include “Look Homeward Angel” in 1957, “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe” in 1963,  “Coastal Disturbances” in 1987 and, finally, “Waiting in the Wings” in 1999.

 

 

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