- TV'S BEN MURPHY: "I'M WHAT YOU
MIGHT CALL A QUIET SWINGER"
- 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
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
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
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?
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
FW: How did you get to be so conservative as far as money
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: 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 canI 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
MURPHY: Live long--and live good.
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