Three-Time Tony Award Nominee Brian Murray Dies at 80

Obituaries   Three-Time Tony Award Nominee Brian Murray Dies at 80
 
The Broadway actor and director was in the original casts of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Da, and Noises Off.
Da_Broadway_Production_Photo_1978_Brian Murray and Barnard Hughes_HR.jpg
Brian Murray and Barnard Hughes in Da Martha Swope/©NYPL for the Performing Arts

Brian Murray, a three-time Tony nominee in the Best Featured Actor in a Play category, died August 20 at the age of 80. His death was confirmed to Playbill by his agent, Tim Sage.

Brian Murray
Brian Murray

Murray's 40-plus year Broadway career began in 1965 when he played Arthur Fitton in the original Broadway production of Bill Naughton's All In Good Time. Just two years later he became Broadway's first Rosencrantz in the absurdist Tom Stoppard classic Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, earning his first Tony nomination for his performance when Murray was just 28 years old.

He received a Drama Desk nomination for his performance as Charlie Now in 1978's Da, and was part of the Drama Desk-winning ensemble in 1983's Noises Off, playing the temperamental Nothing On director Lloyd Dallas. He was Tony-nominated and won a Drama Desk Award for his performance as Benjamin Hubbard in the 1997 revival of The Little Foxes starring Stockard Channing, and received his third Tony nomination playing Deputy-Governor Danforth in the 2002 revival of The Crucible.

Murray also appeared on Broadway in A Small Family Business, Racing Demon, Twelfth Night, Uncle Vanya, The Rivals, Mary Stuart, and the 2011 revival of The Importance of Being Earnest, which would be his final Broadway appearance.

His many Off-Broadway performances included playing Claudius in a 1990 Public Theater production of Hamlet (which was later shown on PBS' Great Performances series), Irish Repertory Theatre's 1996 revival of Da, Edward Albee's Me, Myself & I at Playwrights Horizons in 2010, and the 2016 thriller Simon Says, which played the Lynn Redgrave Theatre.

Murray was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, located in the Gershwin Theatre, in 2004.

On screen, Murray was nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production for his performance as John Silver in Disney's 2002 film Treasure Planet. He also appeared in episodes of Kojak, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, 30 Rock (playing father to Alec Baldwin and Nathan Lane), The Good Wife, and Person of Interest.

His final screen performance—as Sir Walter in the two-part comedic drama A Bread Factory opposite Tyne Daly, James Marsters, Janeane Garofalo, and Nana Visitor—is scheduled to be released in October.

An accomplished director, Murray helmed a string of Broadway play revivals in the 1980s including Hay Fever (starring Rosemary Harris and Roy Dotrice), Arsenic and Old Lace (starring Jean Stapleton), Blithe Spirit (starring Richard Chamberlain, Blythe Danner, Judith Ivey, and Geraldine Page), The Circle (starring Rex Harrison and Glynis Johns), and The Show Off. He made his Broadway directorial debut in 1970 with the short-lived original play A Place Without Doors, followed by a revival of Jean Anouilh's The Waltz of the Toreadors in 1973.

Murray was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on September 10, 1937.

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