Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Sad Story And Demise Of Doug Murphy; Late KPIX Anchor/Reporter Was One Of SF TV's Best

Doug Murphy died in a fire in his Lafayette home Sunday night. Image courtesy of KPIX-TV I got to know Doug Murphy pretty well. He was a good guy. A guy with a lot of personal problems but a good guy nonetheless. Murphy died in 2005 in a fire in his Lafayette home. When I first heard the news I was suspicious because I knew Murphy was battling a series of problems, most notably with the bottle.


He was both a news and sports anchor at KPIX where he began his SF stint back in 1982. Murphy was tenacious, tough, great on the air--hell, he looked like the proverbial anchor. More than just great on the anchor seat he was also great as a street reporter.


While at PIX he dated Kate Kelly--one of the most popular SF TV anchors at the time. After the pair broke up, (it was amicable), Murphy settled down and met an Eastbay woman. He was the father of two kids.


Murphy was a big sports fan. He hung out at the Kings X sports bar in Oakland and was quite a big Giants fan. Most remember him as a vivacious, engaging, and friendly guy. Big personality. East-coast type of character and quite the heart.


In the prime of his career Murphy was so good that he was primed to go to CNN and considered some prime anchor gigs in NY, but opted to stay in the Bay Area.


One of the very best in the business--too bad his sad demise at the very end.


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18 comments:

  1. I'm glad you mentioned Doug. He was a great guy to work with: funny, friendly and talented. On weekends, he'd take the entire crew out to dinner after the news or his family would bring in a giant pot of seafood. He didn't have to, he just wanted to. He was also famous for karaoke. He made old school cool. He's still missed.

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  2. Never had a real personal interaction with him, but once while shopping at the Lafayette Trader Joe's I heard this amazing, stentorian voice having a normal conversation the next aisle over. As I walked by that aisle I glanced down and saw it was Doug shopping with (I presumed) his daughter. Pretty much as he looked and sounded on TV, and with the nice-guy/regular-dad vibe you would hope to see in "real life" from someone you liked on TV. Very sad he was taken from our world too soon.

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    1. Murphy used to work for Ch. 13 KTRK-TV Houston and especially used to work at Live at Five back in the day before moving to California.

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  3. I miss Doug Murphy, Pete Wilson, Dave McElhatton, Gary Park--all Consummate Professionals & Great Guys too!!

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  4. Aw, man...I LOVED working with Murph. I used to call him "One-Take-Murf"...because he would absolutely NAIL his standups (Closes or bridges) in one take. Dude never even wrote anything out; he just ad-libbed it on the spot. Back in the booth or out in the field, everything just came together in his PKG's. As mentioned in the story, a HELLUVA nice guy, too: VERY dry wit...Giants & Niners fan, but also just a fan of baseball and football.

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  5. So Rich, is this your idea of breaking news? A fire 9 years ago?

    Are you lost in a some distorted time warp? What next, the 1906 earthquake?

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    1. Swing and a miss.

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    2. Are you enjoying your order of Sour Grapes with a side dish of Crab while sitting on your Wet Blanket? Come back tomorrow, Junior, the grown folks are busy talking now.

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  6. I sat next to him while covering an NCAA basketball tournament game involving Stanford when they were playing in Alabama in the first round over a decade ago. It was great talking sports with him and just trading jibes. Great guy, and an even better reporter and anchor. Thanks for remembering him Rich!

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  7. The Best, if not one of the best, personally and professionally. I worked with him when I produced the weather at KPIX. His death was very tragic and very unexpected. Like McEllhatton, he didn't need a script to "report the news" and was one of the best ad-libbers in town. Its interesting that those folks here now on TV don't even come close to folks like Murphy, McElhatton and Richmond.

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    1. Time to put a hold on this over-sentimentalized swill. Murphy was a routine talking head, nothing more.

      This blog has become headquarters for a bunch of old guys who gather together to talk about how everything today is going to hell in a hand basket and reminisce about those "good old days."

      If you've got nothing better to do than reminisce about the fantasy of the great Doug Murphy you've lost touch with both the present and the past.

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    2. Wow what a generous commentary on your part.

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  8. Showtime at the APPPPPOLLLLLLOOOOOOOOO!

    I miss my friend Murph.

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  9. I remember Ann Fraser just turning into a puddle talking to him on some fill in he did at KPIX's "People Are Talking".
    The flirting had sort of a local Burt and Dinah look to it.
    Hey,25 years later People ARE still talking..

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  10. Doug nailed Kate Kelly!! That alone qualifies him as legend status.

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  11. 9pm anon is a typically smarmy, nerdy ass! You probably think the media is better today with nit-wits like John Lund, Paulie Mack, Kate Scott, Matt Kolsky, 'Zachariah,' and the high school girls who anchor on Comcast. You have no idea what the media used to be like because you aren't interested in anything that happened prior to 2005. You're historically illiterate, and this is one of the big problems with young people in this country. They're also so wedded to their pcs, their i-phones, their i-pds, twitter, Facebook, etc, that they're semi-literate. Their parents and the rest of the generation that raised these clueless twits should be ashamed of themselves!

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  12. Doug Murphy! Awesome human and funny as fuck to be around. As someone who was getting there start in the TV biz it was a great experience to around Murph.

    Very sad his last months...I remember his funeral was a who's who of broadcast legends, all paying tribute to a good dude.

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  13. I miss Murph. Thanks for remembering him now. I don’t care how many years ago it was. I wish you would have left out the part about personal problems.

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