Friday, May 4, 2012

George Murdock R.I.P.

Character actor George Murdock, who played Lt. Scanlon on Barney Miller and appeared in numerous movie and on TV shows, passed on 30 April 2012 at the age of 81. The cause was cancer.

George Murdock was born in Salina, Kansas on 25 June 1930. He made his television debut in an episode of Shannon in 1961. Throughout the Sixties he appeared in such shows as The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, The Gallant Men, Combat, Rawhide, I Spy, GunsmokeBen Casey, The Wild Wild West, Run for Your LifeTarzan, Night Gallery, The Virginian, The Name of the Game, and It Takes a Thief. He made his film debut in the movie Pressure Point in 1962. In the Sixties he appeared in such films as He Rides Tall (1964), Taggart (1964), Gunn (1967), and Blackbeard's Ghost (1968).

In the Seventies George Murdock played the recurring role of Lt. Scanlon on Barney Miller and the recurring role of Dr. Salik on Battlestar Galactica. He appeared on such shows as Hawaii Five-O, Mod Squad, Adam-12, The Sixth Sense, Search, Hec Ramsey, The Magician, McCloud, Ironside, The Rockford FilesThe Streets of San Francisco, The Rockford Files, and Struck by Lightning. He appeared in such movies as The Mack (1973), Willie Dynamite (1974), Thomasine & Bushrod (1974), Earthquake (1974), Breaker Breaker (1977), Thunder and Lightning (1977), and Any Which Way You Can (1980).

In the Eighties Mr. Murdock was a regular on the sitcom What a Country. He appeared on such shows as Trapper John M.D., T. J. Hooker, Hill Street Blues, Benson, Mike Hammer, Murder She Wrote, Night Court, L. A. Law, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He appeared in the movies Shoot the Moon (1982), The Sword and The Sorcerer (1982), I'm Going to Be Famous (1983), Certain Fury (1985), Retribution (1987), and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). In the Nineties George Murdock appeared in the TV shows Reasonable Doubts, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Seinfeld, The Nanny, ER, Mike Hammer Private Eye, The X-Files, and Law & Order.  He appeared in such films as Timescape (1992), Final Analysis (1992), Firepower (1993), The American President (1995), and Time Share (2000).

From the Naughts into the Teens, George Murdock appeared on such shows as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Eli Stone, and Torchwood. He appeared in such films as Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), One More Round (2005), Man in the Chair (2007), and Say It in Russian (2007). His last appearance will be in the short Caterwaul (2012).

Although most often cast as a heavy, George Murdock performed a number of roles throughout his career. He played a number of police officers, judges, and even politicians over the years. In The Rockford Files episode "The Competitive Edge" he even played a mental patient who was convinced he was Doc Holliday. What is more, he was good in every role he played. If Mr. Murdock was a prolific actor with a long career, it was perhaps because he was also a very talented actor.


Toby O'B said...

It was quite a shock to visit your page tonight and see the news. Ever since Lt. Scanlon, I took notice of his roles in TV and particularly enjoyed his role as the Russian writer on 'Seinfeld'.

I got to meet him because of my job on several occasions. At the end of his last visit, he gave me his big umbrella since he didn't want to schlep it onto the plane. I still have Lt. Scanlon's umbrella.....

Terence Towles Canote said...

It is so cool you got to meet him, Toby. And even cooler that you have his umbrella. I've been a fan of George Murdock since Barney Miller too.