Brian Murray, Broadway Veteran and Three-Time Tony Nominee, Dies at 80

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Brian Murray

The actor and director starred in 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,' 'The Crucible,' 'The Little Foxes' and 'Da.'

Brian Murray, the veteran Broadway actor and director known for his performances in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are DeadThe CrucibleThe Little Foxes and Da, has died. He was 80.

Murray died Monday night from natural causes in New York, the publicity firm DKC O&M announced. He worked on and off Broadway for more than 50 years.

Inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2004, Murray was nominated for three Tony Awards, including twice for best featured actor: in 1968 for Tom Stoppard's original Broadway production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (he played Rosencrantz) and, as Deputy-Governor Danforth, in 2002 for Arthur Miller's The Crucible.

Murray received another Tony nom in 1997 for portraying the brother Benjamin opposite Stockard Channing in the Lillian Hellman classic The Little Foxes.   

As a Broadway director, Murray guided Rosemary Harris in Hay Fever; Geraldine Paige in Blithe Spirit; Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson in Waltz of the Toreadors; Rex Harrison and Stewart Granger in The Circle; and Tony Roberts, Jean Stapleton and Polly Holliday in Arsenic and Old Lace.

Born on Sept. 10, 1937, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Murray relocated to England and then came to New York in 1964 with the Royal Shakespeare Company's touring production of King Lear, starring Paul Scofield. He made his Broadway debut the next year in All in Good Time.

In 1977 and 1978, Murray appeared in the highly acclaimed MTC/Public Theater production of Ashes and co-starred in the celebrated Broadway drama Da, starring Tony winner Barnard Hughes. 

Murray also collected Drama Desk Awards for his work in Noises Off in 1984 and The Little Foxes and received the Lucille Lortel Award in 1998 for his body of work. He collaborated often with his good friend Marian Seldes; in 2001, they were paired off-Broadway in Edward Albee's The Play About the Baby.

On the big screen, Murray appeared in The League of Gentlemen (1960), Bob Roberts (1992), City Hall (1996) and Dream House (2011) and in guest-starring TV stints on KojakThe Good Wife and 30 Rock (as Alec Baldwin's father). 

With Yuri Rasovsky's National Radio Theater of Chicago, he performed in radio drama versions of A Tale of Two CitiesThe Tempest and Uncle Vanya.

Murray's final two Broadway appearances came in 2009 in Mary Stuart with Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter and in 2011 in The Importance of Being Earnest opposite Brian Bedford, another good friend. He was last seen on stage in 2016 in an off-Broadway production of Simon Says.

Murray once said that the theater "has a way of saving your life — when it's really good, it's like God is whispering in your ear."

Details of a memorial service will be announced shortly.