Audie Murphy: From The Most Decorated WWII Soldier To Movie Star

By | September 24, 2019

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Audie Murphy with Marshall Thompson in "To Hell and Back" 1955. Source: (Photo by RDB/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

It is not often that someone comes along who leads an extraordinary life of adventure, heroism, and stardom, but that describes the life of Audie Murphy, American soldier turned Hollywood actor. The most decorated U.S. soldier of World War II, Murphy parlayed a cover of LIFE Magazine into a Hollywood acting career. Who was Audie Murphy? What did Audie Murphy do? Here is the incredible story of Audie Murphy's extraordinary life. 

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Audie Murphy was one of 12 kids. Source: (

A Rough Childhood

Audie Murphy was born in Texas on June 20, 1925, the seventh of Emmett and Josie Murphy's 12 children. Murphy's parents were Irish sharecroppers perpetually living on the brink of starvation, and Emmett Murphy drifted in and out of the family for years before finally abandoning them altogether. Audie Murphy left school in fifth grade to work as a day laborer on a nearby farm, and the money he earned—plus the game animals he shot with his rifle—kept the family fed. He was just 16 years old in 1941 when his mother died and the state sent his younger siblings to an orphanage, Murphy went to work for a radio repair shop, and it was there that he heard about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.