Audie Murphy Biography

Audie Murphy was a legendary American combat soldier who fought during World War II. Read this biography to learn more about his childhood, life, works, achievements and timeline.

Audie Murphy
Quick Facts

Nick Name: Baby

Birthday: June 20, 1925

Nationality: American

Famous: American Men Gemini Men

Died At Age: 45

Sun Sign: Gemini

Also Known As: Audie Murphy

Born in: Kingston


Spouse/Ex-: Pamela Archer (m. 1951–1971), Wanda Hendrix (m. 1949–1950)

father: Emmett Berry Murphy

mother: Josie Bell Killian

siblings: Billie, Joe, Nadine

children: James Shannon Murphy, Terrance Michael Murphy

Died on: May 28, 1971

place of death: Catawba

Cause of Death: Plane Crash

U.S. State: Texas

More Facts

education: elementary school

awards: 1945 - Medal of Honor
1945 - Distinguished Service Cross
1945 - Silver Star with bronze oak leaf cluster

1945 - Legion of Merit
1961 - Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
1960 - Hollywood Walk of Fame
1996 - The National Cowboy Hall of Fame
1996 - Western Heritage Hall of Fame
2004 - Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
2010 - Santa Clarita Western Walk of Fame
1968 - Belgian Croix de guerre with 1940 Palm
1947 - French Liberation Medal
1948 - French Croix de guerre with Palm
1945 - French Croix de guerre with Silver Star
1948 - French Legion of Honor
1948 - Grade of Chevalier
1944 - Combat Infantryman Badge
1942 - Marksmanship Badge
1942 - Expert Marksmanship Badge
1950 - Armed Forces Reserve Medal
1944 - Good Conduct Medal
1944 - Purple Heart with two bronze oak leaf clusters
1945 - Purple Heart with two bronze oak leaf clusters
1944 - Bronze Star with

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Wars connote bloodshed, despair and devastation. However, the soldiers who survive these wars signify pride, honour and courage. Not to mention, there are fewer soldiers who fight with such conviction for their country that they are remembered even after their death. Audie Murphy was one such U.S. soldier who is remembered for his courage and selflessness during World War II. He went through a tough childhood and after the loss of his parents, found solace in the armed services which gave him an income to run his family and also gave him an opportunity to serve his country. A young Murphy showed extreme courage after he was selected into the U.S. Armed forces. Though very young, he was fearless and proved his mettle by vanquishing German soldiers and escaping death nearly three times during the war. Throughout his career, he earned numerous awards and medals, including the prestigious ‘Medal of Honor’. After retiring from the army, he chose films as a medium to share his experiences and appeared in the autobiographical film, ‘To Hell and Back’. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and died in plane crash, after serving as an epitome of courage and patriotism throughout his life, inspiring many of his countrymen.

Audie Murphy
Childhood & Early Life
  • Audie Leon Murphy was born in Kingston, Hunt County, Texas to Emmett Berry Murphy and Josie Bell Killian. He was the seventh among twelve children and his family was of Irish descent.
  • He was named after two men of the same name who took care of his mother who was temporarily abandoned by his father, Emmett. His father kept coming and going, until he finally abandoned the family for good.
  • Murphy went to elementary school while growing up around Farmersville, Greenville and Celeste finally dropping out of school in fifth grade. He got a cotton picking job to support his family.
  • In 1941, Murphy’s mother passed away and he took up various jobs to survive in Greenville. His other siblings were sent to children’s homes and orphanages.
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  • He decided to join the armed forces as a way to support his family and serve his country at the same time. He was finally inducted in the armed forces in June, 1942.
  • In 1943, Murphy was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, and 3rd Infantry Division and was immediately posted to French Morocco in North Africa.
  • In July 1943, he was promoted to the rank of ‘corporal’ as he prepared for the ‘Allied Invasion of Sicily’. The 7th Infantry Regiment finally captured and secured the port in August 1943. The same year, Murphy was promoted to the post of ‘Sergeant.’
  • In August 1944, he became a part of ‘Operation Dragoon’. He fought the Nazis with great valour and skill and got promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant. He, along with soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment earned the ‘Presidential Unit Citation’.
  • In September 1944, the 3rd Infantry Division defeated the German soldiers to invade North-eastern France. His unflinching courage in the face of death earned him several medals and awards.
  • In 1945, Murphy was a part of one of the most important counter-attacks leading to the capture of Colmar Pocket. He was once again lauded and promoted as First Lieutenant the following year, after which he was made a Liaison officer and was called back to the headquarters from the war front.
  • Murphy was enlisted as Captain in the 36th Infantry Division of Texas National Guard in 1950. The same year, Murphy’s life took a new turn as he stepped into Hollywood to be a part of war movies - narrating his experiences. He was finally cast in a 1955 film adaptation of his autobiographical book, titled, ‘To Hell and Back’.
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  • In 1956, he was promoted to the rank of major in U.S. Army Reserve, and was discharged from the Texas National Guard around a decade later.
  • In May 1969, he finally retired from the U.S. Army, leaving behind a great legacy.
Major Battles
  • He was part of one of the most devastating, colossal wars of all time - World War II. He is, till date, the most celebrated American war hero. After joining the US army in 1942, he went to North Africa as a part of the US 3rd Infantry Division. He was then part of the missions to invade Sicily and Southern France and fought the Germans, finally helping the America forces to hold the Colmar Pocket.
Awards & Achievements
  • Murphy was awarded three Purple Hearts for the wounds he received in September and October 1944 and the following year again. The same year, he received two awards with ‘V’ device: the Bronze Star and the Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster.
  • In 1945, Murphy was given the Medal of Honour and Legion of Merit.
  • Murphy has also been decorated with the U.S. Army badges such as Combat Infantryman Badge, Marksman Badge and Expert Badge.
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  • In 1960, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to cinema.
  • Murphy was awarded the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal for his technical assistance on the Army documentary ‘The Broken Bridge’.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • In 1949, Murphy married Wanda Hendrix and divorced her after two years. The same year, he married his second wife Pamela Archer who was an airline stewardess. He has two sons from Pamela; Terrance Michael ‘Terry’ Murphy and James Shannon ‘Skipper’ Murphy.
  • He died when a private plane crashed into Brush Mountain, near Catawba, Virginia.
  • In 1973, Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital was named after him in San Antonio.
  • In 1974, a plaque was erected in memory of Murphy at the site of his death in Brush Mountain, Virginia.
  • The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club at Fort Hood, Texas was established in 1986 by CSM George L. Horvath III, III Corps Commander LTG Crosbie E. Saint and several others to validate officers as valiant as Audie Murphy.
  • The American Cotton Museum in Greensville is named after Audie Murphy - a bronze statue of Murphy was unveiled here in 2002.
  • Several countries have issued stamps in the honour of Murphy. The major ones are Le 2 value by the West African nation of Sierra Leone and $6.40 value stamp by Guyana.

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How To Cite

Article Title
- Audie Murphy Biography
- Editors,
Last Updated
- November 16, 2016

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