George Lloyd Murphy


George Lloyd Murphy (July 4, 1902 – May 3, 1992) was a dancer, actor, and politician. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut of Irish Catholic extraction, and attended Yale University. 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.


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.
In the 1950s, Murphy entered politics as chairman of the California Republican State Central Committee. In 1964 he was elected to the United States Senate; he defeated Pierre Salinger, 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. In 1968, he served as the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. 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. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1970, and subsequently moved to Palm Beach, Florida, where he died at the age of 89 from leukemia. 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'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 "...my John the Baptist" (in a political sense).