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Audie Murphy

From Academic Kids

Audie Leon Murphy (June 20, 1924May 28, 1971) was the United States' most decorated combat soldier of World War II. He later became an actor and singer/songwriter.

Biography

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Audie Murphy

From a family of 12 children, Audie Murphy was born into abject poverty. His father abandoned the family, and his mother died when he was 17, leaving him and five younger siblings still at home. He grew up in the rural area of Farmersville and later Greenville, Texas. Desperately needing money, he joined the United States Army in order to earn enough to help support his family.

Rejected by the Marines because he was only 5 feet, 5 inches, (165 cm) tall, Audie Murphy fought in World War II with such courage that he received every decoration for valor that the United States had to offer, plus another five decorations that were presented to him by Belgium and France. He was the most decorated US soldier during the war.

In one notable incident during the battle of the Colmar Pocket, he commanded Company B as it was attacked by six tanks. He ordered his men to withdraw to prepared positions in the woods, but stayed forward at his command post to direct artillery fire by telephone. At one point, he climbed atop a burning tank destroyer. Even though it was in danger of exploding, he used its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy, despite being exposed to German fire from three sides. He was shot in the leg, but continued to single-handedly fight off the Germans, killing or wounding about 50 of them. For this incident he was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

He served in Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, first as a private in 1942. He was continuously promoted in the field, eventually to 2nd Lieutenant and company commander. His final rank later in life was Major in the Texas National Guard.

After the war, his photo appeared on the cover of Life magazine and his 1949 autobiography To Hell and Back became a national bestseller.

He was signed by Universal Studios, where he starred in 44 films. The 1955 film, To Hell and Back, based on his book, held the record as Universal's highest-grossing motion picture until 1975, when it was surpassed by Steven Spielberg's Jaws.

In addition to acting in motion pictures, Murphy also became successful as a country music songwriter. However, in spite of his fame and fortune, the trauma of war affected him a great deal and he suffered considerably with what today is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and had a difficult life, suffering from a number of addictions, depression, and insomnia.

Audie Murphy died in 1971 when the private plane he was flying in crashed in heavy fog near Roanoke, Virginia. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1996 the Texas Legislature officially declared his birthdate, June 20, as "Audie Murphy Day." In 1999, Governor George W. Bush, also made the same proclamation declaring June 20 to officially be "Audie Murphy Day" in the state of Texas.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Audie Murphy has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1601 Vine Street. In 1996, he was inducted posthumously into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In the year 2000, Audie Murphy was further honored with his portrait on the 33 cent United States postage stamp. There is also an Audie Murphy Middle School in Fort Hood, Texas, named in his honor.

Military honors

External links

See also: Other notable figures in Western filmsde:Audie Murphy lb:Audie Murphy sl:Audie Leon Murphy

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