Rosemary Murphy

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Rosemary Murphy
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Rosemary Murphy (January 13, 1925 – July 5, 2014) was an American actress of stage, film, and television. She was nominated for three Tony Awards for her stage work, as well as two Emmy Awards for television work, winning once, for her performance in Eleanor and Franklin (1976).

Murphy was born in Munich, Germany in 1925, the daughter of American parents Mildred (née Taylor) and Robert D. Murphy, a diplomat. The family left Germany in 1939 due to the onset of World War II.

Murphy, whose résumé came to include French and German films, attended Manhattanville College and trained as an actress at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and in New York at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Actors Studio with Sanford Meisner before beginning her career on stage.

She made her stage debut in Germany, in a 1949 production of Peer Gynt. She made her Broadway debut in 1950 in The Tower Beyond Tragedy. She went on to appear in some 15 Broadway productions, most recently in Noël Coward's Waiting in the Wings (1999).

She also acted in films and on TV, most notably portraying Sara Delano Roosevelt in the TV miniseries Eleanor and Franklin (1976) (for which she won an Emmy) and Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years (1977). She played Maudie Atkinson in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) as well as Callie Hacker in Walking Tall (1973). The following year, in 1974, she appeared in the television film A Case of Rape, playing a ruthless defense attorney who brutally cross-examines a rape victim (played by Elizabeth Montgomery) and wins an acquittal for the man who attacked her. In the 1980s she played Loretta Fowler, the kleptomaniac mother of Mitch Blake and Sam Fowler on Another World. She also appeared in episodes of Columbo and Murder She Wrote.


She died on July 5, 2014, in Manhattan from esophageal cancer. She never married and was survived by her sister, Mrs. Mildred Pond, and extended family.


  • To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  • You'll Like My Mother (1972)
  • Forty Carats (1973)
  • Julia (1977)
  • Dust (2001)
  • Synecdoche, New York (2008)



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