by Peer J. Oppenheimer
Family Weekly, March 18, 1973
"I have visions of myself at 70 still having fleeting relationships. But the point is, if I can convince myself that guys like me are simply rootless, then it doesn't tear my heart out. In other words, I think I can learn to live with it."

Ben Murphy, who plays Kid Curry--the Jones part of ABC's "Alias Smith and Jones"--is single and 30. He started his film career four years ago with a supporting part in NBC's "The Name of the Game." In his apartment, I noticed he had a trophy that says, "The World's Greatest Lover." I took him up on it ...

FAMILY WEEKLY: Are you really the world's greatest lover?
MURPHY: People have the wrong idea. I have the image of being a young, easygoing, bachelor-swinger. But that's not the real me.
FW: What's wrong with the description?
MURPHY: I'm a quiet swinger. No nightclubs. No big parties. I like to stay hidden.
FW: Does that also mean you don't like to get involved?
MURPHY: What I mean is that when I do get involved I am totally involved.
FW: For how long?
MURPHY: That's the trouble. It never lasts. Like when I went to Europe a few months ago to promote "Alias Smith and Jones." I met 15 girls on that trip and I got involved with all of them. One of them just wrote me a note from Norway that she wants to come and see me for three weeks.
FW: How do you meet so many girls?
MURPHY: It's a funny thing, but I don't ever pick anyone up. They always pick me up. Take my last trip down South. I fell asleep on the plane and when I woke up, there were these two stewardesses next to me. Both had the same name--Michele--and both were gorgeous. One lived in Chicago, the other lived in Atlanta. Naturally I spent time in both places. And would you believe it, I met two more stewardesses on the way home? But by the time I left them I had wiped them totally out of my mind.
FW: Don't these situations ever catch up with you?
MURPHY: I have visions of myself at 70 still having fleeting relationships. But the point is, if I can convince myself that guys like me are simply rootless, then it doesn't tear my heart out. In other words. I think I can learn to live with it.
FW: What about Ben Murphy ever getting the short end of a relationship like that?
MURPHY: It happened! I was about 27 or 28 when I got so hurt I sat in a dark room and cried. And then I went back to my parents' home and I still felt terrible. And so I started rehashing my life from the beginning until the present, remembering all the fun I had with so many girls, and it saved me from seeing a psychiatrist.
FW: Your attitude seems to indicate a certain aloofness. Does that extend to your own family as well?
MURPHY: In a way, but it's nothing traumatic. We're just not very close.
FW: You live in an inexpensive apartment, more like a glorified motel, in the San Fernando Valley. Why don't you spend more on yourself?
MURPHY: This is all I can afford.
FW: With all the money you make?
MURPHY: Well, that's one of my beefs with the studio. I don't get that much. [He made $800 a week last year.] Besides, I live according to a specific savings-spending formula: 60 percent savings, 40 percent spending.
FW: How did you get to be so conservative as far as money is concerned?
MURPHY: I was raised that way. For instance. I paid for half my education by working summers and weekends.
FW: Doing what?
MURPHY: I drove trucks for a while. I was secretary to a Jesuit priest. I also sold shoes.
FW: How far did you go in school?
MURPHY: I used to consider myself a perpetual student. I've spent eight years in college, with courses ranging from physical education to political science and acting. It became a way of life for me. All I wanted to do was study and learn.
FW: Do you believe that work is important?
MURPHY: Up to a point.
FW: Then what do you believe in?
MURPHY: I'm an organic-food nut. I believe in that and in daily exercise. I swim and do push-ups.
FW: Living in a rather easily accessible apartment, aren't you bothered by fans?
MURPHY: I took my name off my box in the entryway because of them. They weren't a bad problem, but some of them were just a bit overwhelming.
FW: Such as?
MURPHY: Like the morning a neighbor woke me up and asked if I'd gotten married. When I asked him what brought about his question, he said that my car was decorated with bows and streamers as if I'd gotten married. I rushed out and sure enough, he was right. And there was a note pinned to my steering wheel with a telephone number on it.
FW: Did you make use of it?
MURPHY: Certainly.
FW: And?
MURPHY: Very Interesting.
FW: Do you enjoy being interviewed?
MURPHY: I don't. I think I am dull. Besides, I can't tell what I am all about. If you can–I wish you'd tell me. You see, I have no opinions. I don't even care about politics. I have no roots. And, as I told you, I don't get involved for any length of time. But then, I guess most people don't.
FW: Would you mind expanding on that statement?
MURPHY: It's like when Peter Duel died. [Peter Duel was his costar on the series. He committed suicide.] I didn't really want to talk about it and evaded the topic when it came up. But then I realized that people weren't really eager to talk about him either. He was dead and easily forgotten.
FW: Just how did Peter's death affect your life?
MURPHY: Intellectually it changed my outlook on life. It made me think that maybe I should get all I could out of it now. But emotionally it was difficult to cope with. To me, acting in a way is a preparation for becoming a politician, and maybe that's what I will do someday. The trouble is, I feel that if I do, I'll either have to go through an awful lot of frustration trying to accomplish something, or give in to the system and simply enjoy the by-products of success.
FW: From what you've told me, I don't presume you want to get married soon?
MURPHY: Right. I don't think I am mature enough.
FW: Just one last question: What is your philosopy of life?
MURPHY: Live long--and live good.
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