Star, September 27, 1983

TELEVISION'S latest hunk Ben Murphy has admitted that he blew his first chance at stardom because he put chasing women before his acting career.

"Some actors always mess up with drugs or booze," says the 41-year-old Paul Newman lookalike. "My drug was women. I was a notorious woman-chaser--and still am. I have that instinct.

"I was always self-destructive. It was a classic case of lack of self-esteem."

Photo Caption: Woman-chasing hunk Ben Murphy in a scene from Lottery, the series that is giving him a second shot at stardom.

Now, Murphy has another shot at the kind of fame that came and went when he was in the series Alias Smith & Jones.

He has been cast by ABC in a lead role in the new series Lottery, in which he plays Patrick Flaherty, who tracks down winners and gives them money.

This time, Murphy is taking his work more seriously.

"I've decided it's really time to start committing to things instead of going in and self-destructing half-way," he says. "I would like to have a successful career. And that means commitment."

But he is still not sure he is coping with the weakness that he says has always knocked him off the ladder.

"The other day we were shooting in a supermarket and this pretty little blue-eyed thing looks at me and says she has to leave in a few minutes," he says.

"I found myself asking for her phone number. I knew her name. It was written on her T-shirt.

"Marshall Colt (who plays a tax collector in the series) just looked at me and grinned, as if to say, 'There you go again.' "Marshall lives with a girl, and he thinks I should, too."

Back in 1969, the potential for Murphy was great. He had played in the hit movie the Graduate and had been put under contract by Universal Studios.

"But I chewed it up, ate it, and spat it out," he confesses. "Then I went into Smith & Jones and I was starting to get attention. I was 27 and I blew it. I was running all over, chasing women.

"I was wanting to romance them all. Well, I tried to, but I got so fatigued, so tired, that the only way I could console myself was to say, 'Ben, you can't have them all. You might as well slow down. There are millions of girls and more being born every minute. So you might as well slow down and take a night off.' That's what I used to tell myself."

Murphy says another reason for his high drive is that he was a "late starter," explaining: "I was brought up Catholic. I went to a boarding school, there were no chances. So what I did when I started dating was try and make up for it."

Five years ago, Murphy tried marriage. Within two years he was divorced. "What really happens much of the time is that we marry because we fear being alone," he says.

"What I'm saying here is that I don't believe in a free marriage. I also don't lie. If a woman wants to be with me, she knows she can't get serious unless I want to get serious."

Murphy says he--and not the girl--frequently becomes the victim in his romantic adventures.

"I had a love affair this year that just killed me. It took me two months to get over it. I met her in an acting class. I fell in love and all I could see was the back of her head," he laughs.

"I was happy that I was actually starting to feel something. It all lasted about six weeks because she didn't feel the same way. She felt pressure as I began to fall in love. I went thought two months of letting go."

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