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Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 4:16 am | Fair 41º


Gerald Carpenter: Tribute to Veteran Actor/Director Don Murray to Roll This Weekend

Santa Barbara tribute includes events at the Lobero and Center Stage theaters

Santa Barbara honors one of its own this weekend when MidCentury Productions presents a special film festival at the Lobero Theatre and the Center Stage Theater featuring veteran actor, director and longtime Santa Barbara resident Don Murray.

Murray, who turned 82 on July 31, has the distinction of being actually born in Hollywood, though he was raised on the East Coast and began his acting career on the stage, making his Broadway debut in 1951, in The Rose Tattoo. After that — he has always been drawn to humanitarian projects — he worked with refugees for a couple of years before returning to the stage in 1955, then moving on, or home, to Hollywood, to take a starring roll in the film Bus Stop, playing opposite Marilyn Monroe, which got him an Oscar nomination and made him famous.

His most recent film, to be released this year, is The Hard Ride, with Val Kilmer and Elisabeth Shue. He was also a significant presence on television, especially as a regular on the popular series Knots Landing and as one half of a groundbreaking team of bounty hunters (one white, one black) in the western series The Outcasts.

The tribute will begin at the Lobero Theatre at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, with a screening of Otto Preminger’s controversial film of Allen Drury’s Beltway potboiler, Advise and Consent. At 7:30 p.m., the Lobero will screen A Hatful of Rain.

After each movie, Murray will join film historian/author Foster Hirsch on stage to discuss the film. After A Hatful of Rain,  they will be joined by his co-star in that film, Eva Marie Saint. There will be a reception for Murray and Saint at 6 p.m. Saturday. Separate admission is required.

Murray will also be on hand Sunday for the screenings at the Center Stage, though apparently in a less-structured manner. The program at the Center Stage will include: At 1 p.m., The Long Ride episode from The Outcasts, From Hell to Texas with co-stars Dennis Hopper and Diane Varsi, and Deadly Hero, a rarely-seen noir thriller co-starring James Earl Jones and Diane Williams; at 7 p.m., Bus Stop and Breathe, Murray’s latest film as director, from 2007, starring Mick Murray and Cassidy Freeman.

If you’re inspired to see more of Murray after this, two fine films not in the lineup that are available on DVD are The Hoodlum Priest and Shake Hands with the Devil (one of the best movies available about the Irish Troubles). Both are in glorious, vivid black and white.

Tickets to Advise and Consent are $12, and $15 for Hatful of Rain. Afternoon and evening shows at the Center Stage are $10 each.

For tickets and more information, visit or call the Lobero box office at 805.963.0761 or the Center Stage box office at 805.963.0408.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor.

This theatrical trailer from 1956’s Bus Stop, which starred Marilyn Monroe, mentions Hollywood’s “newest hunk of man,” Don Murray.

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